Kay Eliza is 28 years old and tattoos at Brutal Truth Tattoo Club, 4 Queens Road, Peterborough. Her favourite tattoos are full of colour. Kay’s keen on girly imagery, such as kawaii characters and animals but she also enjoys something a little creepy from time to time and is starting to push her work into a more watercolour paint style. As an artist, Kay loves to paint when she is outside of the shop.
Email for bookings: firstname.lastname@example.org
Brutal Truth Tattoo Club was originally called Human Canvas and was founded by Spike. Kay joined in 2014 and then, a year or so after, two other artists, Avalon and Bryn, joined the team. Each artist has a unique style and so can cater for all clients’ needs, from black and grey to full colour, dotwork and abstract.
Q: How long have you been tattooing?
A: I started my traditional style tattoo apprenticeship around six years ago, and six months later, I did my first tattoo, which was actually on my own leg. I have been tattooing since.
Q: When did you realise that’s what you wanted to do?
A: From a very young age, pretty much as soon as I was able to hold a pencil, I have been drawing. I did have other dreams in life, like any other kid. I wanted to be a vet, never really realising that I could turn my talent to a career. After many years of being stuck in jobs I found completely dissatisfying, I decided things needed to change. I wanted to create, full time. I became interested in tattooing through music and TV and felt it better to learn a trade that I could take anywhere with me. The idea that someone would want to wear my artwork forever was the biggest compliment for me.
Q: Where did you get trained?
A: I was trained in a small shop in Norfolk. It happened completely by chance, through mutual friends. I’d been looking around for an apprenticeship for a while with a drawing portfolio but most shops either already had an apprentice or just didn’t have the room for one.
Q: What’s your favourite and least favourite part of your job?
A: There are so many positives in this job, too many to list really. I get to draw every day, which is my main love and to create meaningful, lasting artwork for clients. Seeing a client happy with their tattoo is so heartwarming. There’s a great deal of trust between artist and client. It’s special. I’ve met so many different people in this job and made loads of friends too. I would say that one of the main negatives in tattooing is that there are a lot of egos within the community. I was taught early on by Spike, my boss, that I just need to be me and be the best that I can. As long as I know I’m doing that, I’ll always be true to myself.
Q: What has been the most enjoyable piece you have done?
A: I’ve tattooed so many enjoyable pieces now that it’s really difficult to choose just one. The funniest ones have always been full of bright colours and usually quite girly. I tattooed a sky dancer on a friend recently, who eventually wants a 90’s toy, leg sleeve. I really enjoyed that one and I got to use many beautiful colours.
Q: What is your own favourite tattoo?
A: I love all of my tattoos but most don’t have meanings, so I would have to say that my favourite is one of the smallest but with the biggest meaning. It’s a hand-poked, XIII on my arm. It was done by a good friend and I and my other half have matching ones. We got them both done on the same day and it felt really special. Thirteen is a number that means a lot to us both.
Q: What ambitions do you have for the future?
A: Ambition wise, I want to continue making people happy via my artwork and I want to carry on making new friends and meeting new people. I don’t have my heart set on owning my own shop just yet but you never know what the future might hold.
Q: Do you have any predictions for the future of tattooing?
A: I don’t think too much will change in the future. Tattoo trends will come and go. New techniques and better equipment will become available. I’m aware that tattoo ‘bots’ have been created and people will be able to get tattoos from printers but they could never emulate the passion of a real artist.
Q: Lastly, is there anything else you would like to mention to our readers?
A: I think I’d like to tell your readers, that if they plan on getting a tattoo, find an artist with a great reputation and lots of recommendations. And, to be aware that there are lots of people out there who have bought machines and set up a shop but who have never undergone an apprenticeship and aren’t aware of the health implications when tattooing incorrectly. The health and safety of clients is one of the most important things in this job and reputable artists acknowledge this. Also, make sure you have seen their work before you book in.
by Alice Cutts
Photography: Dexter Morgan Photography