Dark Arts: Stephen Kelly
EXPLORING THE UNIQUE ART OF THE TATTOO
THE DARK ARTS
03 / FEATURING THE WORK OF STEPHEN KELLY
In this series I have featured all artists who's work I love but haven't been tattooed by therefore I thought I'd feature an artist who has inked me. So meet Stephen Kelly who has done quite a lot of my tattoos.
He has quickly become my artist of choice because he's super adaptable and a really nice dude, so I'm as comfortable getting my arm done as getting areas usually more covered. I know I can go to Stephen with pretty much any idea and he'll be able to translate it into something I love.
When you find an artist like this you become hugely inspired too, which is why I've had a few done in quick succession. For me, as a creative, working with another creative from a different discipline is as much part of the interest for me as just having an end product. It feels somehow more collaborative. I enjoy seeing his interpretation of my ideas. As a designer who spends her life creating for other people, it feels amazing being on the other side of it.
Stephen's focus is on American traditional and Japanese work but really he can turn his deft hand to anything.
I have some big plans for work by Stephen in the coming year. The one I'm most excited about is a large Joan of Arc tattoo on my thigh. In interviews I am often asked who my biggest inspiration is and if I had to list someone, it'd be her. She was utterly fearless and with my penchant for medieval history she is the perfect subject for a tattoo. I have submitted all my Joan of Arc references to Stephen so I'm hoping to have that done by the end of the year.
My tattoos have been spread out over a 23 year period and done by 8 different artists. That's because I never found one artist whom I could imagine going to for every tattoo. The relief you feel when you finally find someone whom you can 100% trust to create all of them is huge.
The artists I've featured so far in this series are utterly incredible, but I wouldn't envisage personally having a body full of their work. For my own tattoos I prefer a more traditional approach where a tattoo looks like a tattoo, if that makes sense? Stephen interprets my ideas perfectly and I always end up with something that straddles both traditional and modern, which suits me to the ground.
If you'd like to get tattooed by Stephen he currently works out of Irezumi Tattoo here in Glasgow.