|Rebecca Vincent photographed by James Hole for the Brighton Tattoo Convention|
A few months back, I had the privilege of seeing Rebecca Vincent at work. This incredible tattoo artist works out of Parliament Tattoo, a studio in Finsbury Park, London, and has a huge following on Instagram which is where I first became familiar with her work. She's only been working for a few years and yet has already become a huge name and one to follow in the world of tattoos, perhaps because she brings to the profession a refreshingly different approach. It doesn't hurt that she's one of the friendliest people I've ever met, a natural at putting nervous clients at ease.
Fascinating people are always welcome on this blog so I interviewed Rebecca, asking her about her arrival on the tattoo scene, her natural world inspirations and her intricate blackwork.
|A beautiful olive branch on my friend, Heather Young|
Photographs from her blog, Growingspaces.net
Tell us about how you began as a tattoo artist. It was a fairly recent change of career, wasn’t it?
It was around 3 or 4 years ago that I started this wonderful career choice. It was after my daughter was born that I knew that I wanted to do something creative. I'd previously been a pub landlady, which I'm not actually sure how I'd fallen into! So yes, I was 28 years old when I decided to do this.
How do you go about becoming a full time pro tattoo artist? Is there any formal training?
You need to get an apprenticeship. It really is the only way to ensure that you learn properly, not only tattooing but all the health and safety that comes with it. It's quite daunting, but perseverance and a strong portfolio will mean that you'll eventually find somewhere. It can take fucking ages though.
|Rebecca Vincent tattoo, found here - I absolutely love the blackberries on this design|
You’re known for your designs that relate to the natural world – shells, fossils and foliage. What is it about the natural world that interests you?
Since I was little, the thought of touching something that was created millions of years ago blew my mind. It's such an alien world to us yet they lived on the same planet. Looking at fossils and skeletons of creatures which existed so long ago fills me with such electricity. Incredible beasts that roamed our world that we will never see in real life. Unless we do a Jurassic Park and then all my dreams will come true.
Your tattoos are very detailed and mainly black ink only. And would you ever use colour?
I don't use colour but I'd never rule that out. I love black tattoos and it complements my style well as I like my tattoos to look quite illustrative.
|Image: Strawberry Dragon, who has four RV tattoos and is planning a full sleeve of her work|
Where do you go for inspiration?
Museums and libraries. Also old buildings and the first and last Jurassic Park movies. Fuck the second and third ones though.
Do you think the internet has brought more opportunities for tattoo artists?
Absolutely! It makes the world a smaller place, which means you are accessible to more people. It also shows us artists how many awesome tattooists are out there and pushes us daily.
You have a daughter - what do you say when/if she wants a tattoo?
She won't do it. She'll rebel and not get one. Which is totally cool. I really don't think me having DINOSAUR on my knuckles will go down well at all when she's 14 and a sass bag.
|Rebecca Vincent tattoo - image found here. I love the white touches within the blackwork|
What would you say to someone considering their first tattoo (especially if they’re a bit nervous!)?
Do your research. All the info is available to you and you have a wealth of artists at your fingertips! Be 100% sure you want a tattoo and trust the artist you pick. Eat sweets before and during and bring cake to the tattooist.
What has been the highlight of your career and why?
Having my work shared on the Natural History Museum blog in London and then shared by both the Washington and Boston museums! Aaarrrgghhhhh....
What advice would you give to budding tattoo artists?
It's such an honour to have someone ask you for your work on their body. This is the best job in the world, be grateful and enjoy it!
Thanks so much to Rebecca for taking the time to answer my questions. I'm saving up for my fourth tattoo (read about my first here) and will definitely be booking a session with her soon...
If you'd like to book a session with Rebecca, her books are open for November.