This week we caught up with tattoo artist Ricky Williams
TATTOO ARTIST, WE LIKE THAT. CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT THE JOURNEY THAT GOT YOU HERE?
I was never into school, I’ve got no qualifications at all but I was always drawing and sketching. Someone I knew sent some of my work off to some tattoo studios, one wanted to meet with me, so, I went in, not really knowing what was going on. I got offered an apprenticeship and I quit my scaffolding job that day. Apprenticeships in tattoo are hard! But what you learn is invaluable. I did that for a while and then I moved from shop to shop learning what I could as an artist. It’s important to keep learning and keep moving on.
SO RICK, WE’VE HEARD A LOT ABOUT SOUTH CITY MARKET. CAN YOU PLEASE TELL OUR READERS A BIT MORE ABOUT THE SPACE?
The space is intentionally unlike any other tattoo shop I’ve seen. I wanted a clean, minimal and contemporary space, a bit like the type of tattooing we do. People always remark on how clean it looks. It’s all black and white and overflowing with plants. It’s got a free play arcade game at the front, we’ve got a water cooler in the waiting room and a soft drink fridge etc. Basically, getting tattooed always comes with a certain amount of discomfort, this space was designed to help minimise that. There’s no overwhelming music blaring or walls full of old stencils, it’s welcoming. None of this ‘too good for you attitude’ either.
WE’RE SURE YOU’VE SEEN SOME PRETTY SPECIAL PIECES. WHAT HAS BEEN THE MOST MEMORABLE AND WHY?
Funny you should ask that actually! This weekend I was at Bristol Tattoo Convention, I know that’s not very long ago but trust me when I tell you it was memorable! This geezer had a full ‘Only Fools and Horses’ back piece. Uncle Albert was sick!
YOU’RE CURRENTLY BASED IN NEW CROSS, ANY PLANS TO POP UP ANYWHERE ELSE IN LONDON?
Yeah of course, we’re putting a big emphasis on conventions in 2020. But in terms of new shops, why not! We need more space! I love south London. I grew up here and that’s why I wanted my first studio to be south but as for what comes next, I’ll be looking a bit further afield.
WHATS THE BEST PIECE ADVICE YOU HAVE BEEN GIVEN?
The best bit of advice someone gave me was “Why are you trying to get them to have your shit idea instead of their shit idea?” Hear me out, what they meant was, too many tattooers get the hump because they want their customer to get exactly their idea and the customer is adamant that they want it their own way. At the end of the day you can only advise on what you think will look better, it’s on their body not yours, so who are you to say what idea is shit.
WHAT WOULD YOU PERFECT LAZY SUNDAY IN LONDON LOOK LIKE?
A lazy Sunday? What’s that? I work Sundays! I’m always in the studio, I’m currently building a new room for laser removal and cosmetic tattooing. The studio is constantly evolving aesthetically. It’s like when you move into a new house and you tweak it for years until you’re happy with it. My spaniel, Jefferson, is my favourite relaxation, taking him for walks every morning sets me up for the day.