Words by John Noblet / Pics supplied by Liz Mason
In an age of constant technological advancement, getting a tattoo made entirely by hand poked bamboo may seem like an odd idea. No machine at all? If nothing else, you’d have thought the extra investment of time would put most people off.
But the recent rising profiles of hand poke artists such as Ferank Manseed and Himemiya Neko suggest this more archaic form of tattoo art is building a modern relevance.
Enter stage left Liz Mason, new kid on the hand poked tattoo block; working at Reapers Ink in Worcester (the shop’s as friendly as the name is morbid) Mason has been hand poking for about two and a half years – quietly building her customer base and perfecting her own twists on the styles that inspired her.
And she already has a few larger pieces in the bag, such as an Escher-esque mandala of blocks and cogs on my own back – a design which took around twenty five hours over four sessions to complete, and is the pride and joy of my tattoo collection.
Like many tattoo artists working with geometry, Liz Mason uses motifs such as the Flower of Life alongside intricate dotwork shading. This creates a striking, yet calming effect, which utilises the wearer’s skin as a background colour (if you wish to learn more about this style, check out the work of Xed LeHead, who’s influence may one day lead him to be called the Sailor Jerry of geometric).
Alongside the straight lined blocks of modern geometric designs, Liz Mason also tattoos patterns based on softer, curvier organic images such as leaves and petals – but still often using symmetry. If the stereotypical image of a tattoo design is a dark, aggressive image, then Mason‘s aesthetic moves in entirely the opposite direction. Her work is relaxing, understated, but still compelling.
Liz Mason also tattoos more traditional imagery such as birds, skulls, arrows or realistic flowers (rather than symbolic ones); the pointilist shading that’s used in her geometric work can show up in these pieces too.
As for the extra investment of time..? I can get bored of someone fairly quickly, but Liz Mason‘s down to earth, good humoured personality will serve her and her customers well.
And you don’t spend twenty five hours being continually stabbed with tiny sharp needle by someone, without getting a pretty good gauge of their character. After all, having a tattoo is a crucially personal experience.
For more on Reapers Ink Studio, visit http://www.reapers-ink.co.uk/