Tattoo artist Ash Higham is a talented, up and coming artist from Manchester, UK who specializes in black and grey realism. His interest in tattooing sparked when he booked an appointment for a sleeve with Richard ‘Bez’ Beston several years ago. Ash found himself “a bit gobsmacked at what could be done with a needle and ink” and was isntantly hooked by the atmosphere of a custom tattoo studio. He told us, “it opened up a world to me where anything was possible with the right mindset.”
Ash tattoos out of his own shop, Rapture Studios in Droylsden, Manchester, UK. Ash feels blessed, he shared, “I love working [at] my own [shop], it’s nice to be able to make the decisions about what I want to do and where I want to go with it.”
Another blessing entered his life recently with the birth of Alice, his baby girl. So when he’s not tattooing, he’s really enjoying bonding with her.
When asked about his influences, Ash told us Jeff Gogue was one of the main artists that inspired him to get into tattoing. He also cited Carlos Torres as one of his idols in the black and grey world, specifically: “the flow he creates using his filigree/ornament is the best I’ve seen (I’d love to get a head tattoo from him!).” Last (but certainly not least) he told us he looks up to Niki Norberg’s talent for realism, “he’s who I use to remind myself that I’ll never be good enough!”
Ash’s specialty is black and grey realism, portrait work in particular (both animals and people). He has always had a special fondness for realsim; even before tattooing his favorite art was always Renaissance or Baroque. “I love the idea of recreating something that is living. For me it’s the most stimulating thing I’ve done, I don’t ever feel bored or feel a need to rush. Every day flies by when I’m tattooing realism, but most of all it doesn’t feel like work, it’s pure enjoyment!
Ash’s advice for someone getting their first tattoo:
I tattoo a lot of people who’ve had bad tattoos, they always chose a local tattooist out of convenience. But always be prepared to travel for the right artist. I can’t stress enough how important it is to look at their body of work before getting in touch; you need to be blown away by what they have done and be certain they are consistent in their quality.
Also be flexible, give the tattooist a rough guide on what you want, If the artist is good and you love their style, then trust them to do what they do best.
It’s fairly well known to anyone reading this that price shouldn’t be a big factor, but just to reiterate what many others have said, this isn’t a shirt youre buying. there isn’t a single standard for a tattoo, quality is often reflected in price, if it’s cheap, look into why it’s so cheap!
Ash’s advice for tattoo artists who ar just getting started:
One thing I’ve said to people asking me how to get into the industry, is there is no real reason why you shouldn’t be as good as some of your favourite artists on paper/canvas. If you are serious about becoming a tattooist you need to become an artist first. Try as many different mediums as you can: oils, charcoal, art markers. Anything you can get your hands on. The more that you master, the more tattooing will feel less intimidating to you when you are ready, it’ll feel like another medium (albeit a very difficult one!)
Images © Ash Higham