Illustrated Teacup

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Saturday, 9 May 2015

TATTOOS: Interview with Gemma Connell

I have to admit, I am super happy with how this series is running. I've created the opportunity to meet some amazing and talented people and talk about tattoos.
This week you can read about Gemma Connell - she is, well, creative. Her bio says:

"Gemma is a multi-disciplinary artist/curator, creative producer and cultural strategist"

She is all about creativity basically, and utterly perfect to be featured on this blog.

What was your first tattoo, and how old were you? 

It's on my right arm. It says "All the world's a stage" surrounded  by stars. I was 20 years old when I got it.

How many do you have now, and what are they? 

  • I have 9 tattoos now. In addition to the one described above they are:
  • A lightening bolt on my ankle
  • An upper back piece which consists of an Egyptian ankh, angel wings and the words "It takes a thousand voices to tell a single story" surrounded by clouds and rays of light
  • A heart with a lock on the right side of my chest
  • A blue rose with two interlocking sets of thorns on my upper left arm
  • The words "No one shines forever" on my lower left arm
  • A celtic key and red roses design on my lower right arm
  • Interlocking male and female symbols and blue roses on my right bicep (not that I have much of a bicep!) - currently not quite finished
  • The words "Tabula Rasa" (meaning "blank slate" in Latin") with footprints and stars on my right upper arm

Who is your favourite tattooists? 

All but one of my tattoos have been done by the incredible artists at Spear Studio in Birmingham. The studio is run by Leah Moule, who has done the bigger pieces on my right arm. She has an unbelievable new skool style, and is really lovely. I like a tattoo artist who gets to know their regulars.

Do you have any tattoos planned for the future? If so, what? 

I need to get the one on my right bicep finished first - there's just a couple of leaves on the back of my arm that aren't yet coloured in (we didn't have time, I was living in Bournemouth back then and had to run for the last megabus home). However, I would like a piece on my right thigh that says "Stand for Something". I also have plans to have a lower back piece with a design that combines elements from two of my favourite bands - AFI and Placebo.

Do you have any 'no-go' zones? 

I'd never get a tattoo on my face, but I haven't really ruled anything else out.

What is your favourite  thing about tattoos and tattoo culture? 

It's the way it allows you to express yourself, and also remind yourself of who you are when you get a little lost. I have more than once been in a really difficult place and looked down at my arm, where it says "No one shines forever" - it always reminds me to pick myself up and make the most of it.

How do tattoos fit into your work life? 

I work in the arts, so it's not really an issue. There are some occasions when I have to cover them up, but it's rare, and at the moment they're all quite easy to cover.

And lastly, some bits about you: 

Favourite food? 

Vegan Chocolate... particularly with hazelnuts in.

Favourite film? 

Velvet Goldmine

Favourite animal? 


Pet hate? 

Fake people

Biggest achievement? 

For 3 days in 2012, I worked for The Olympic Games

Dream job? 

To be the Artistic Director of an International Arts Festival

Dream holiday destination, money no object? 

A trip around the globe

A massive thank you to Gemma for taking part.
You can follow her on Twitter here, and check out her website here.

If you would like to be featured and talk about your tattoos - email me at

*photos from Gemma

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