We talk tattoos with Things&Ink’s Alice Snape!By Sj.Cliff
Tattoos, once a symbol of society’s rebels, are rapidly making their way into the mainstream.
We managed to get an interview with editor and founder of Things & Ink magazine, Alice Snape. The magazine is dedicated to the lifestyle surrounding tattoos and the stories (not bodies) behind them. So for you tattoo veterans and those yet to go under the needle, here’s Alice’s thoughts and advice inks, styles and her mag!
What got you interested in tattoos?
When my friends all started getting tattooed underage at 16, I didn’t join in. I had no interest in Chinese symbols, weird little tribal scribbles, or anything on the wall at the only tattoo shop in our small market town. But I was always intrigued by body modification, especially tattoos. I doodled tattoo ideas in notebooks, and often thought of markings I’d like to wear on my skin. I am not sure why, I guess it is human nature, a want to change or modify our bodies in a way that is within our control.
Give us the story behind your first…
Even at the age of 21, I’d still not got my first – even though I had thought about it a lot. I think I was 22 when I finally did it, I was living in Oxford at the time doing a masters in publishing. After waiting so long, my first tattoo wasn’t even that good. It’s a skipping Alice in Wonderland on my lower back that now looks like a weird blurry mess. I am now in the process of getting it covered with a full back piece that goes down to my bum.
I waited a couple of years to get my next one, as I wanted to make sure I found the right artist. It was actually discovering the work of tattoo artist Claudia de Sabe that made me realise I wanted to be heavily tattooed, I had never seen tattoos like that before. I would consider myself a serious collector now. I have a list of people I want to get tattooed by.
Do you have a favourite?
My favourite changes constantly, it’s too hard to pick. I adore my pre-Raphaelite inspired leg piece by Tracy D, but I also love the matching tattoo I have with my sister as it means something to me. At the moment I am enjoying watching my backpiece develop, only the linework is done so far, so I can’t wait to watch the colour build.
Your magazine, Things and Ink, is totally different to any others out there. What made you look into women’s tattoos?
I wanted to launch a female-friendly tattoo magazine for years (I even created one as a uni project), as I was disillusioned not only with tattoo magazines – I never thought they really related to me – but with women’s magazines, too. I was sick of airbrushed covers and features about the latest diet, I wanted something that was relevant to my world – and I realised lots of other people felt the same. I actually drunk tweeted one night, saying I was going to launch a tattoo magazine for girls and so many people responded saying they wanted to write or help in some way. That was it, Things&Ink was born – or the idea anyway, it actually took around 8 months to put the first issue together!
Things&Ink has now celebrated a change in identity, although it was set up as an alternative to largely sexist tattoo media, it has actually attracted a number of male readers. Our new ethos ‘Independent, Tattoo, Lifestyle’ is more inclusive and reflects the fact that the magazine’s content can be enjoyed by all – gender is irrelevant.
The magazine has also just celebrated its two-year birthday, to commemorate I curated an exhibition called Miniature Ink. The work is by the most talented male and female tattoos artists from around the world and is on display at Atomica Gallery in Covent Garden now. All the work is the same postcard size and every single one is for sale at £60 with profits going to cancer charity Sarcoma UK.
Do you think the world is becoming more accepting of women’s tattoos?
Over the last 100 years or so a stigma has developed against tattooed women – that they're bad girls or sluts, this is just as false as the myth that only sailors and criminals get tattooed. However I think this stigma is slowly dissipating and women are now challenging traditional standards of beauty and are not afraid to get heavily covered. Adorning themselves in designs of their choosing.
Where do you find inspiration for the magazine?
All over the place. Art, books, people’s stories, people watching, overhearing conversations that I shouldn’t, magazines. You can gain inspiration from the most obscure places. I also love recreating old things with a modern twist.
How do you feel about the rise in popularity of tattoos recently?
The perceived rise in popularity is great. As body art becomes mainstream, this means the negation of stereotypes, and an enhancement of quality and diversity of styles of tattoo on offer.
What’s your opinion on people getting tattoo’s for fashion?
It’s probably a little silly to get tattooed purely for fashion – as fashion changes. But if you have a desire to get tattooed and get a design that is considered “fashionable” who am I to judge? There will always be trends within tattooing, as there are within any genre.
Do you have any advice to anyone thinking about getting a tattoo?
Research artists – Instagram is an ideal place to start – look thought their portfolio, and see what styles you are drawn to. Then think about what subject matter you want, maybe it has meaning or maybe you are just drawn to a design. I would also say don’t rush to get visible places tattooed first, hands and neck should probably come last. Also if you plan on getting heavily tattooed, save large parts of your body, such as your back, as an entire canvas. But mostly do what feels right for you. Tattoos are art and are is subjective.