It’s probably no surprise that I’m dying to get Henry immortalized as a tattoo, so getting to interview this cattoo collector was so much fun! On her blog The Small World, Liza blogs about all things feline – fashion, art, collectables, travel and a few anecdotes about her own furry friends. Here she is today chatting about her incredible tattoo collection.
How old were you when you got your first tattoo? What was it?
I was in my early 30s when I got my first of many cattoos. Looking back it’s really strange that I waited so long – I loved body art since I was about 12 years old and was definitely into temporary tattoos and drawing on myself throughout my teens.
How many tattoos do you have now?
I’ve lost count and it’s hard to put an actual number on the work I have now. For example both of my arms are “mixed” sleeves containing the work of multiple artists. There are about 15 different artists on my arms, maybe more – wow I’ve never done that maths before! And that’s just my arms. I should probably attempt to count and cat-alogue them all!
What are your thoughts on tattoo regret? Have you ever had any?
I don’t have any regrets so far, none at all. Given that I wanted them for almost 20 years before getting them it seems unlikely I am going to have major regrets – despite the oh-so-commonly-held conservative views about tattoo regret in old age. I have been tattooed by some truly gifted and extraordinary artists from all around the world and I really do think they are incredible works of art. Like my other collections of feline art my feelings about them are fluid – my favourites change and then change back but I truly love them all. Sometimes I wish some of my favourites weren’t in places I can’t see!! I have an incredible piece by Kim Saigh on my lower back and ribcage which only my husband and cats ever see – however given that I’m running out of space for new work having ink in concealed places has to be part of the process!
Do you think tattoos need to have a special meaning or can they be purely aesthetic?
I absolutely think they can be either and in my case I have both. I got my late grandma Rosalie’s name tattooed on my wrist on what would have been her 100th birthday. She passed away at 96 and we were incredibly close – it’s a very poignant piece for me. The comical portrait of my cat Archibald eating a chicken leg is also really meaningful. However most of my pieces are purely aesthetic – I LOVE the process of collaborating with artists. With some of the really stylistic artists I have worked with I often just say “I want a cat” and see what they come up with. With other artists I have been more directive. Each of my tattoo memories are as special as the works themselves and I have become good friends with some of the people who have tattooed me repeatedly.
Do you have a favourite tattoo? What’s the story behind it?
I have agonised over this question for a week and I change my mind every few days! Can I talk about a few? My right arm is a “story” sleeve by three artists – a Maneki Neko (japanese beckoning cat) by Chris Garver, a cat-erfly beneath by Hannah Aitchison and a cat-erpillar beneath that by Kim Saigh. Chris then finished it off with the background to tie all the works together – so he started and ended the finished piece. I love that the same character runs through the three works but that each artist put their own very personal style on it. I also have an amazing piece on my upper back by Kim Saigh, and on my 40th birthday (in NYC) Chris Garver did the snorkelling cat on my arm. It’s an image by children’s illustrator Satoshi Kitamura and it’s one of the first feline images I collected and loved from childhood.
Are there any artists you’re yearning to get work from?
Hell yes! There are two artists that I MUST get tattooed by immediately! They are Akuma Shugi from Brighton UK who does the most amazing samurai / manga style cats, and Horitomo from State of Grace tattoo in San Jose CA. Horitomo is famous for his Monmon Cats (books of his collected works are available under that title). Fortunately I’m on lists for both of them within the next year – I can’t wait!
Love, glitter crowns, & furry friends,