Fine Tattoo Artist
It was a couple of months ago now that I caught up with Danielle (Merricks) Tattoo Artist in her beautiful studio named Ophelia is just off the High Street in Lytham.
The word ‘artist’ has never been more apt, here is our conversation
ME: How did you get into this?
DM: I have always been interested in art, painting & drawing from a very young age and all through school, this led me to do in a Fine Arts Degree. Whilst at Uni I became more interested in tattooing as an art form and how it had evolved to where it is now, like portrait tattooing as an example.
I managed to get an apprenticeship and trained there for 4 years. I then moved on to another studio for 4 years developing further my technique and designs and also building up customers.
Over the past few years I have had customers travelling to me from throughout the UK, which is such a huge compliment’
I do some travelling myself working at conventions throughout the UK, I’m very excited to be participating in my first ever international show in Switzerland later this year.
Me: What is the difference between drawing on paper to drawing on skin
DM: It’s a huge transition and the very first thing as part of the apprenticeship was to tattoo myself and from there on in, I practiced on synthetic skin as you need to get used to the feel and the weight of the machines you are using some of which can be quite heavy. Then it was on to willing volunteers!
Me: You do seem to have a distinct style, how did this come about?
DM: Towards the end of my apprenticeship I started to develop more into watercolours, I had been trying to find my ‘style’ and this was a perfect one for me. It reflected the direction I was going in with my art in general. It has been described as ethereal and I have to admit it is seen as largely feminine.
Although my work does often explore quite feminine themes, I’m open to working with more masculine ideas too and can often adapt my work, tailoring this to suit all of my customers.
Me: Why Lytham?
DM: A few reasons, I felt that the style and themes explored within my work plus the vision I had for the studio space would fit very well with the local aesthetic. The studio is close to the main high street, but is in a quieter area which is great for creating the kind of calming ambiance I feel is essential for both myself and my clients.
Me: Do you have a favorite subject?
DM: I love to explore nature and botanical based themes. Floral designs along with wildlife and animals is generally my favourite subject matter. I do enjoy when people come to me with ideas for creatures I possibly have not tattooed before, it’s lovely to work on something totally new! Whilst the majority of my work encompasses these ideas, I have worked with more expressive and abstract themes and some of my work has quite an illustration-based feel. I do have a very specific style but I like to ensure I have some variety, with room to progress and develop within it.
(Danielle’s own sleeve is absolutely beautiful it’s an Autumn theme with a fox and a hedgehog, berries and leaves)
Me: Do customers come in with an idea of what they want?
DM: I get all sorts really, some people have a very rough idea of what they want, some are more precise and some have seen an image on the Internet of what they would like. It’s great to have an outline idea that we can work on together. I even have people that say I love your style, just do what you want, which is amazing!
Me: Do you have ‘stock’ tattoo designs?
DM: No not really, that’s not the way I like to work. I like to get to know people and thoroughly understand what they want and make it as individual as they are.
Me: How long would an average tattoo take
DM: There is no average tattoo as it depends on the complexity of the design and its placement. It can vary from 3 hours including preparation, the longest session I normally do is 7 – 8 hrs as it is long enough for the customer and for myself, Some large pieces are done over a couple of sessions.
ME: Are you sometimes asked to ‘go over’ other tattoos
DM: Yes, quite often, and it happens a lot in this business, in that people have had work done (say) 20 years ago, and their lives and tattoo styles have moved on, so I can update and rework. I am sometimes asked for cover ups which is more difficult, but can be done dependent on the original work.
ME: Is there a “BEST” place on a body to be tattooed?
DM: I don’t want anyone to be fooled………….it all hurts!! But it’s obviously a ‘bearable’ pain as people have been doing it for many years and keep coming back for more! The most sensitive places are on the ribs and the feet or anywhere close to bone.
ME: So, what does the future hold
DM: In regard to the studio it is a new business which I’m looking to continually build and develop. In time I would like to have artists from outside the Fylde Coast come to guest with me. In terms of my own practice, you never stop learning and as an artist and tattoo artist I will continue to work on my craft.
ME: Thanks Danielle
Some of Danielle’s work has been published and featured in Total Tattoo Magazine. She has also recently won an award at the York Tattoo Convention for the best small colour piece.
If you have always wanted a tattoo but wasn’t sure of the design or process, contact Danielle for a chat (details on sidebar)
I AM almost tempted as they are just SO beautiful. Almost!
Find Ophelia at 35a North Clifton Street, Lytham, FY8 5HW from Tuesday-Saturday