Liv Morgan – Pretty yet strong tattoos |

We chat to tattoo artist Liv Morgan, who tattoos out of  St. Clair’s Tattoo, Portobello, Edinburgh about how tattooing makes her feel and owning all the petty yet strong tattoos…

What inspired you to become a tattoo artist? Can you tell us about your journey into the industry. I’ve always loved drawing and designing. It’s always been the thing that came most naturally to me. I didn’t consider tattooing as a job until I was around 17 because it wasn’t a career path that was exactly encouraged at school. I got asked to draw portraits a lot and to design tattoos once or twice, but it wasn’t until my brother-in-law encouraged me that I thought “this could work!”

When I got to 18, I found an apprenticeship pretty quickly at Brass Buddha Tattoo and got the proper training. I was lucky how it all worked out.

How does tattooing and being tattooed make you feel? Tattooing as a job makes me feel content, lucky, nervous, in control, stressed and at peace. It’s a whirlwind of feelings!

Nothing beats getting to the end of a tattoo, big or small, and the person you’ve tattooed being happy with the result.

Being tattooed makes me feel sore! But also it can be therapeutic as I usually have to try focus on my breathing. I sometimes need to put my earphones in and zone out too. It’s quite a personal experience sometimes, doing them and getting them.

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How would you describe you experience as a woman in the tattoo industry? Also your experience as a woman with tattoos? My experience has been good. I haven’t been made to feel uncomfortable as a woman or if I have done it’s been swiftly stopped. I’m lucky to have joined the tattoo industry at a time where woman tattoo artists aren’t rare anymore so I haven’t felt isolated and since my apprenticeship I’ve had support from lots of really talented, female artists.

As a woman with tattoos, reactions vary from getting told not to get any more to people saying I don’t have very many for the job I’m in. So I get it from both angles! Mainly though, people are very complimentary.

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You create more traditional tattoos, what inspires your work? I get a lot of inspiration from vintage pop culture, whether it’s vintage flash, posters, advertisements, pin ups or photography. It’s amazing when you really dig deep and find the original reference for old flash (@tattoo_origins is good). I get asked to tattoo lots of nature and floral pieces too and I find that old, botanical illustrations are great for those types of tattoos.

You realise pretty much everything has been done and it’s just about finding inspiration and making it your own.

I also like to think about how my tattoos will look in years to come. Longevity has to be taken into account and traditional tattoos, if done right, are built to last!

Which do you prefer tattooing flash or custom pieces? It really depends. It’s always flattering when someone picks something you’ve pre-drawn. We have a ‘Get What You Get’ gum ball machine in our shop. The concept is you pick an artist, they load their designs into the machine, you turn the ‘Knob of Destiny’ and whatever design comes out – you get! It just takes all the thought out of it because a lot of people tend to overthink it, so fate decides for you!

I enjoy custom pieces too because you need to plan to try and put all the elements that the customer wants into the design. I also enjoy the positive reactions when they love what you’ve designed!

How would you describe your style, where would you like to take it in the future? Someone recently commented on a photo of mine saying “pretty yet strong too!” and that made me really happy! I think my work goes between traditional, neo-traditional and dotwork mainly. In the future, I want to keep learning and improving. You never reach the top of your game and that’s scary but exciting as well.

I also want to keep embracing “girly-ness”. Sounds so ridiculous but I used to get embarrassed to put pink and other “girly” elements into designs because I’d heard a few negative remarks about girly tattoos and I thought they wouldn’t be taken as seriously. Now I’m like “f*ck it!” the more sparkles and prettiness, the better.

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Do you have any conventions or guest spots planned? This year I’m learning how to tattoo semi permanent eyebrows and I can’t wait! It’ll be great to learn a new skill and have another way to help boost people’s confidence. I’m also visiting the equally great Satellite In The Sky in Glasgow and Sanctuary Tattoo, Dundee. I will be booking more guest spots as the year progresses, so keep an eye om my Instagram.

This year also, I am part of the Still Not Asking For It flash day event. It’s such an amazing charity, we did it last year and we were walking on air by the end of the day from all the positivity people were exuding. I will be working alongside some really amazing artists at St. Clair’s Tattoo, Edinburgh, so check it out if you want to get tattooed this year.

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