Interview with Tattoo Artist Hannah Mai

We chatted to 24-year-old Hannah Mai who works at Lucky Rabbit Tattoo Cult in Birmingham about her stylised tattoos, love for Disney and travel plans…

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How long have you been tattooing? I have been tattooing proffessionally now for two years but I started my apprenticeship three years ago.

What inspired you to become a tattooist? I wouldn’t say at a young age I was surrounded by tattoos as none of my family had tattoos, but my Grandad used to tell me about how his parents had them which initially fascinated me. His mother had a clover on the top of her arm that covered up an ex-partner’s name and his father had a mermaid that swam when he tensed his arm. I also used to draw doodles on my friends in primary school with gel pens. I can’t imagine that was particularly good for us but I found it too much fun!

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What did you do before? Art. Art has been my language since I can remember. It’s something that has never left my side. It’s the only thing I was decent at in school that I’d look forward to. I wasn’t fond of homework but when it came to art homework I’d practically be doing it as soon as I left the lesson. I have always loved the idea of creating artwork based on imagery taken from my childhood, and now I get to do this for a living!

As a young female you have great pressure by society and what the media tells you – that your value is in your appearance. I however am a firm believer that ‘as long as what I am creating is beautiful, so am I!’

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How would you describe your style? A lot of people have told me my style is quite vintage and slightly rag-doll like. I would agree with this. When I first started out I did mainly floral and animal work but I soon switched to doing what I had really aimed to do all along which was Disney. However I knew I didn’t want to just do carbon copy Disney. I wanted to bring something new to the industry a style that was recognisable as my own and I’d like to think I’m on the right path with this! So I’d describe my style as delicate stylised pastel Disney which I know is a bit of a mouthful!

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You tattoo mainly Disney tattoos, are you a Disney lover? I’ve always been obsessed with Disney it is one of my favourite things ever! It means so much to be in a position where I get to create this magic on fellow Disney obsessed lovers. My customers really keep me going I’m super thankful and I always look forward to having a week filled with Disney conversations with my customers.

Who is your favourite character and why? It’s so so hard to pick just one! I have a few. One would have to be Megaera from Disney Hercules. Her sass and independence taught me feminism from a young age. Another would be Judy hopps from Zootopia. I can super relate to her emotional ways and yet such strong positivity. If I was a Disney character I would like to think I’d be her.

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Do you have any Disney tattoos? Yes! And I’m planning more when I have the courage. I super suck at getting tattooed and I’m running out of the lesser painful areas to get covered! I have a Snow White and Prince Charming on the top of my arm done by Sarah Cooper and went back to get my second tattoo which was Marie from Aristocats on my thigh, but I’ve also had Disney work from Angharad Chappelle and Isobel Morton.

What would you love to tattoo? Ahh I have so many ideas! I’m always excited to do lesser known characters from Disney movies. The ones that seem to be a bit forgotten about. I’m dying to do any of the characters from the Disney Robin Hood or Princess and the Frog. I’m also a huge fan of the Don Bluth movies.

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Are you doing any guest spots or conventions? I have so many already planned to get through before the years out! I wouldn’t know where to start. The best thing to do would be to check my Instagram for all my dates!

Although I am in a Birmingham studio with my pals at Lucky Rabbit Tattoo Cult. I am mainly travelling this year. Recently I’ve been lucky enough to do Europe based guest spots as well which is great because it means I can cater to my European followers and soak in some culture at the same time!

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