Meet a Maker - Chris Lambert & Gareth Miller

Meet a Maker - Chris Lambert & Gareth Miller

Chris Lambert and Gareth Miller run a tattoo studio in Leeds and they kindly came in store to paint live for our Leeds canvas project. We caught up with them via email to find out a little bit more about them.

Tell us about what you have created for our canvas project?

Our tattoo studio in Thornton's arcade, Leeds is called Snake and Tiger Tattoo. We decided to paint an image based on the studio name. Our Number one influence is traditional tattooing style and one famous artist redound for this style is Cap Coleman. He was an American tattooist that worked between 1920 and 1960. He refined old school tattooing into what we know it as today, bold outlines, black under shading and solid colour. He was light years ahead of other tattooists at the time in terms of quality of designs and his technical abilities. He only worked using three colours, red, yellow and green, as those were the only tattoo pigments available at the time and in honour of this we chose this colour scheme for our canvas.

Which materials did you use and why?

We used poska pens and paint. Poska pens are faster than painting so we like the immediacy of them. Some of the lighter colours wouldn't go over the grey background so we had to switch to paint. The shaded areas also had to be done with paint.

Where do you make most of your work?

All of our work is done in our tattoo studio, Snake and Tiger Tattoo. 99% of the time we are too busy tattooing we love to paint but struggle for free time to do it. We painted our shop a board sign and have a wall of hand drawn and painted original flash sheet designs framed in our studio entrance. We hope to fill the whole wall with them eventually. In the early days of tattooing, pre photocopy etc, all the tattoo designs on the wall were painstakingly done this way. Most of our work is custom draw one off designs drawn to the customers needs. However, we painted the wall of flash to showcase our drawing and compositional abilities to new customers.

What are your favourite creative tools?

Our favourite non tattoo art tools are sharpies, watercolour, liquid acrylic and dymo.

Who are your biggest creative influences?

Other influences are Sailor Jerry, Bert Grimm, Paul Rodgers, Picture Machine and Swallow of Hong Kong. We are also in the process off adding a small tattoo museum to the shop as we have a few rare historic tattoo pieces that we are going to display. Pride of place will be the Cap Coleman original 1930 flash sheet. Possibly the only one outside of the USA. His flash is extremely rare as his shop burnt down and most his work was destroyed.

If you could only use one material in your work, what would it be and why?

Sharpies, they are so versatile.

What was the best exhibition or art event you went to last year?

Alexander McQueen exhibition at the V and A in London.

If you had a tip for artists starting out, what would it be?

Use good reference. Drawing time is never wasted time.

You can find out more about Chris here and Gareth here

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