I often get asked how i got into the upcycled clothing malarkey – and especially how I came to paint on clothes.

I was always an artistic kid – my Dad brought home rolls of printer paper (yes, once it was on rolls kids) and wallpaper for me to draw on, so prolific was I.

At uni, i lost my love of drawing somewhat…no idea why…but it went away, only to crop up again in my twenties when i discovered a love of drawing tattoos for people. I got into the genre heartily – mainly in a way of photographing tattoos and dreaming up my own. I have never really had a desire to actually tattoo people, and after a few goes with the machine, i gave it up as a bad job. It makes me cringe, not the blood or anything, just the BUZZ of the machine. Blergh.

I also lack the incredible precision required of many artists…and y’know, I find it hard to uphold traditions in any genre, let alone the ones so ingrained in the tattoo world. I don’t like being told what to draw. Or do. Ever really.

After witnessing some amazing tattoos, and working at a shop, I left the tattoo world behind for many reasons, but i felt the need to keep drawing. So the t-shirts came about, and this is the medium I have grown to love.

The tattoo influence is still visible in some t-shirts.

Still my love of ink is very strong and I recently continued my own tattoo project, with a small tattoo from Holey Skin in Bristol.


For those of you who have never had a tattoo, this was just a quick design – having a fair amount of ink, and knowing what I wanted and where, i was booked in super fast.Its a kodama from a Studio Ghibli film, they are little tree spirits, and the receptionist and i had a good ogle of the little critters before  choosing the one I wanted.

There was much kodama love in the shop that day…

Often you would have a consultation – especially if it is a bespoke design, and no decent artist will ever directly tattoo a sketch you have drawn yourself. they will redraw it to make it work. There is a method to their madness – it’s all about line and placement, so shop around and get what you want, but listen to the artist. You wouldn’t just build a wall without some advice first eh?

This was a small graphic piece, so it was printed off, put onto transfer paper..

DSC_0883…so I could check I liked the look of it, and then BAM, it began.

I didn’t take a picture of that bit – I spend time before a tattoo relaxing and breathing so I don’t flinch or giggle – which is the worst! It also helps it hurt less.

Does  a tattoo hurt? Yeah. Its lots of tiny in pricks putting ink under your skin. But personally, it doesn’t bug me too much, and this one was weirdly ok! Barely hurt! But then it was only a little un.


Here it is covered with clingfilm to protect it – it is an open wound after all!

Aftercare is a real hotbed of debate, but listen to what the artist says and do your research. Good aftercare can make a huge difference to the quality and longevity of a piece.

So, yes a brief overview of my tattoeyness. if you’d like to know more let me know and thanks to Holey Skin for being lovely…now, back to Kecks!


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