Rewind to late 2006 I’m at my Nans house and a random call from my good friend Maya comes in, she is being tattooed by another friend of mine Dan Gold who I’ve known since the 90s and his days at into you tattoo, she being tattooed by him in a private studio in a garage off the Cally Road
She asks if I fancy partnering up to open a new tattoo studio? The reason ? Well Dan has been screen tested for and suggested by a client who works for the discovery channel for the UK version of TLCs hit show Miami Ink
I agree and the search for premises starts, after many hick ups and refusals with much hassles (landlords didn’t want tattoo shops back then) we found a space and started to negotiate with the discovery channel, they said they intended to call the show UK ink as they did not want it to be too London centric and in that basis we started a company called London Ink , sadly without telling us the channel had a change of heart and trademarked the name and banned us from using it, which was crazy as we’d already made a pilot called London Ink with a small production company called indelible films which featured the now deceased TV presenter Mark Speight, who at the time was one of my closest friends, needless to say it rather soured things with us an the tv people but regardless we carried on.
The filming took place in June 2007 with Louis Molloy playing the part of studio owner, Dan Gold as the wayward but prodigious talent, and Nicole Lowe and Phil Kyle making up the other 2 artists
The show was released in fall 2007 with London Tattoo having opened as a day to day shop in August 2007 post filming
The original crew were Dan Gold , Andrew Baxter, James Loveduekd, and Inma
Maya one of the 3 co founders decided to leave and Sparx and Dan would carry on another two months down the line until Dan let go by Sparx leaving nobody from the show in a studio run by a non artist which at that time was unheard of and very much considered sacrilege, much was said and written about how I was in it for a minute and a fast buck etc , but having since opened and ran London Tattoo south in SE1 , buying running and then selling to a member of staff Sacred Art Tattoo in N16 , and then conceiving building and opening London’s first and only all female staffer tattoo shop Velvet Undergrround Tattoo in Brick Lane and latterly Whitecross St in Shoreditch I think I managed to answer that.
In 2017 I decided to bow out of London Tattoo and sell the business to our one time apprentice Joshua Wilding to take up the mantle and carry the torch as I have also now done with Velvet Undergrround Tattoo
The shops were and always will hold a most special place in my heart and my history and I wish Josh and his team all the success and joy it brought me and more.
London Tattoo love and light to you all.
Sparx (founder London Ink/London Tattoo)