Tattoo Talk: An Interview with Carly Kroll.

Tattoo Talk: An Interview with Carly Kroll.Carly Kroll, tattoos at Little Bird Tattoo in Berlin, Germany

I’ve been following Carly’s work for a while now and was even meant to be tattooed by her when I was in Berlin last year. Unfortunately she ended up being off work with an injury, but hopefully I’ll get to reschedule for later this year when she’s in the UK. Not only is Carly a talented tattooist, she’s also the owner of the only vegan tattoo shop in Berlin. In case you’re wondering why tattoos are not usually vegan (it’s not just the inks) and why they should be, read on for all of the details.

How long have you been tattooing? Started tattooing in 2012

How old were you when got your first tattoo & what was it?
I got my first tattoo when I was 18, I was going through a tough time at home and was keen to rebel in any way. It was some mandarin kanji, it was the ‘in’ thing at the time, basically there wasn’t much thought put into it. The shop was pretty unwelcoming, full of biker guys (who I was kinda scared of) and the whole experience left me with the feeling that I wasn’t interested in tattoos.

How did you get started in tattooing? What was the journey that brought you from there to here?
I actually didn’t get another tattoo for about 6-7 years after. As my first experience was very underwhelming and didn’t see any further beyond that. My next ‘Tattoo experience’ grew from going with a friend while he was getting tattooed, the shop was completely different, there was lots of original art and artists drawing and creating work. I was really inspired by the whole experience and got me thinking, wow there is a lot more to this than I thought.

Did you have an artistic background before you started tattooing?
I studied art, and was always making something or being creative in some way. I worked a little in design but found all the hours sitting at the computer really un-motivating. People are usually pretty surprised when I tell them I was a flight attendant for about 8 years before I started Tattoooing.

Tattoo Talk: An Interview with Carly Kroll.How have your thoughts about tattoos and being tattooed changed over time (if at all)?
The only person I even knew that had a tattoo when I was growing up was a truck driver friend of my dad’s. So it’s safe to say I had little to no understanding of tattooing in my youth.. I just never thought I would end up being a tattooist and also having this many myself..!

How would you describe your style of tattooing?
Well, I’m pretty young in my tattooing career, so that’s something I feel is still evolving. I guess I would say neo-Traditional, maybe modern feminine.. but definitely bold and full of colour… although that’s not to say that’s all I do. I like to think I’m a good all-rounder. There isn’t much that I say no to, I always try and think about what someone wants and find a way to make it work.

Who or what influences your work?
I like pretty or funny and cute things, a client will come in with an idea and I try and have a good think about how to do it, how to make it ‘carly’ – what will make the tattoo special and not just go for the obvious choice. I have so many influences from other tattoo artists aswell, especially all the amazing female artist based in the UK right now, it’s like there is this little bubble of really fantastic feminie artists that how just blossomed in the last few years. I also love watching other artists work. Nikko Hurtado (Portrait/Realism Tattoo Artist from LA) has this theory that tattoos are just a string of choices and in the end the final tattoo is the sum of all the choices.. It’s a really cool theory and it’s always cool to see how a piece evolves.

Tattoo Talk: An Interview with Carly Kroll.I understand that you own the only vegan tattoo shop in Berlin. What about tattooing is usually not vegan?
That’s a really good question! People just assume it’s just the Tattoo ink that is vegan. (or not). But there is so much more to it than just the ink. A lot of the big ink companies have been making their colours vegan friendly (using plant based glycerine) for a few years now, which is awesome but the biggest ‘Badie’ is the black ink. Many tattooers are still using a drawing or Indian ink (which, works great for tattoos) but contains animal by-products like burnt animal bone char, shellac (from beetles) and glycerine (also made from animal fats). Inks are really just the start of it, from other products used in tattooing for lubrication (like Vaseline, or petroleum products), cleaning and sterilisation products (which are all animal product based, or produced by huge pharmaceutical firms that are testing on animals) to even the stencil paper (regular stencil paper contains Lanolin and sometimes shellac). We source all our products to make sure everything that goes into the skin and applying the design and sourcing and using disinfection mediums that are animal (and planet) friendly.

Were there any challenges to setting up a vegan shop?
I was in the mindset that everything about the shop should be as green as possible, which includes the products we use to clean and sterilize the shop, to our tea, coffee and snacks aswell as the products we have in the bathroom. We also found most of our furniture and shopfitting second hand or upcycled..

It has been a lot of work and challenging (and often expensive) to find vegan and green products. It would have been so easy to just purchase things mainstream or from the regular stores but it’s something that is really important for me. Living vegan, not just about what I eat and buy but also supporting a sustainable lifestyle, and bringing that to the shop and is something I’m really proud of.

Thank you, Carly! As a vegetarian and animal lover, this has given me a lot to think about and will make me think carefully about choosing tattoo studios. And as you, I’m itching to get a piece done by you soon!

Carly is doing some guest spots in the UK this year (as well as other parts of Europe), so keep an eye on her Facebook and Instagram pages for all of the details.



Tattoo Talk: An Interview with Amanda Follit.

Amanda1Amanda Follit, 42, Head of Digital Operations Services/Artist Management Director

I hear from a lot of hesitant tattoo enthusiasts who are very strategic about their tattoo placement or avoid getting them altogether for fear of jeopardizing their careers. Amanda is proof that this doesn’t have to be the case. She has a beautiful collection of tattoos but that hasn’t stopped her from rising to the top of her field in a competitive industry. Today she’s chatting about her body art and whether it’s had any implications for her career.

How old were you when you got your first tattoo? What was it?
I was 18. It was something I just needed to do. I didn’t think much about it so I just picked something off the shelf at the tattooists in Thanet, Kent. It was a guitar with wings and roses. It’s since been covered up.

How many tattoos do you have now?
I have a chest piece, a half sleeve and a thigh piece. I also have another on my other thigh that I had at 18 but that will be covered up

Amanda3What are your thoughts on tattoo regret? Have you ever had any?
I wouldn’t say regret. I didn’t like the ones I had at 18 but I don’t regret them at all.

Do you think tattoos need to have a special meaning or can they be purely aesthetic?
I think it’s whatever suits the person. Personally mine are aesthetic but with meaning. My tattoos have stories of my life. I know people with their bodies covered and they are all aestethetic.

Have you ever faced any adversity in your career due to being tattooed?
Actually I haven’t which I am surprised about however I do cover up when meeting clients. The reason I do that is because I don’t want my tattoos to be a distraction to the points I am talking about.

What kind of reactions do people usually have to your tattoos and how do you manage people asking to them?
I get stopped in the street, in the supermarket and all sorts and I never have a problem with people asking. The feedback has always been positive so it’s kind of cool to have that discussion.

Amanda2Do you have a favourite tattoo? What’s the story behind it?
My chest piece I think. It took me 10 years to find a tattooist I trust so it was a big deal for me. It has all sorts of stories in it. The main part of it was a design by a band I love and was managing at the time called The Catharsis. It was a design based on one of their songs called O’Recluse and some of the lyrics are ‘And I have this feeling, that my heart stopped beating, it’s counting down the minutes and the days I have left.

At the time of this I had just discovered that we have congenital heart disease in our family and that I was almost guaranteed to have it too. Also the time on the clock perfectly matched 10 minutes before my son was born 20 years ago. It was an horrific birth, I went into shock and he was in distress. The time on the clock was identical to the literal life or death situation we had and we both survived.

The makers mark on the clock I gave to the band for the design T/C.

Are there any artists you’re yearning to get work from?
My artists is Charlie Jones from Aces High Tattoo Studio in Shotton, North Wales. I trust her implicitly. I give her a concept and she designs it. I don’t even know what colours it will be, she has free rein over it. I couldn’t think about going elsewhere.

Thank you so much, Amanda! It’s so inspiring to hear that success and ambition haven’t kept you from expressing who you are.

For anyone wanting to keep up with Amanda’s adventures, be sure to follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

Until next time,

Tattoo Talk: An Interview with Paige Zaferiou.

Tattoo Talk: An Interview with Paige Zaferiou.Paige Zaferiou, 27, Professional Witch and Writer in San Francisco, CA

I adore Paige’s website, Paige Z’s Tarot and Tea and I was completely envious when my friend Xandra spent last midsummer getting witchy with her. Paige writes about all things practical magic, but she’s also really down to earth, as evidenced by her love of pizza and pop culture. She works with clients to help them clear their heads and open their hearts. And her writing is perfect for anyone wanting to infuse their life with magic and learn more about the sacred arts. Paige also has a pretty special tattoo and she’s here today to tell us more about it.

How old were you when you got your first tattoo? What was it?
I got my first tattoo at 25. I’d been dreaming of tattoos since before I was legally tattooable, but felt paralyzed by indecision. I was only able to actually get this tattoo, which is a field of colors and stars, because a good friend pressed me into getting matching tattoos! I never in a million years would have guessed that I’d end up getting matching tattoos with someone. But I don’t regret it one bit.

How many tattoos do you have now?
Just the one…for now.

Tattoo Talk: An Interview with Paige Zaferiou.What are your thoughts on tattoo regret? Have you ever had any?
I have absolutely no tattoo regret whatsoever, although my tattoo was very impulsive. In terms of avoiding tattoo regret, I think the most important thing is to seek a professional artist and to pay for quality and talent. A poorly executed or botched tattoo is a big fear of mine!

Do you think tattoos need to have a special meaning or can they be purely aesthetic?
As a magical practitioner and tarot reader for whom symbolism is very important, I personally would not get a tattoo unless it had a special meaning for me. That said, I think “this is beautiful and makes me happy” is a perfectly valid reason, if that’s your jam! To each her own.

Tattoo Talk: An Interview with Paige Zaferiou.What’s the story behind your tattoo?
I adore my one and only tattoo; it has a very silly story behind it. A friend from university came out to visit me in San Francisco. Somehow, we wound up side-by-side on the table, getting inked together to commemorate our hi-LA-rious architecture professor, whose delicious demeanor and…unique way of phrasing things has given us many years of hilarity and joy.

He told our class – with a completely straight face – that, “to the artistic community, Einstein’s theory of relativity was about colors and stars. And these were things that they were very interested in.”


Naturally, we’ve been all about colors and stars ever since.

To me, it also symbolizes my commitment to the sacred arts and the importance of my community. Plus, it acts as a reminder for me never to take things too seriously and always be an example of positivity, enthusiasm, and lightheartedness. HUZZAH!

Are there any artists you’re yearning to get work from?
Oh, yes! Canadian artist Jessica Wright does majorly drool-worthy work. I’d love to get some of that all up on me.

Thanks so much, Paige! It’s so much fun to know the rich story behind your tattoo. I love that it so seamlessly blends humour and a deep connection to who you are. I can’t wait to see what you add to your collection!

If you want to see more of Paige, be sure to check out her blog and follow her on Twitter.

Love, crescent moon pendants, & magical cups of tea,

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