Karen will happily turn her hand to almost any kind of tattoo but is a massive fan of the darker side of life and art, as her brilliantly monstrous tattoos show.
1/ How do you think Northern Irish talent stacks up compared to elsewhere?
It’s been a slow burner for sure. It’s only really come to the fore in the last I would say five years. Ireland is normally behind the rest of the world by about ten years, and it’s only now that’s it’s sort of exploded and there’s some really nice artists coming out of here now – really nice. It was even commented upon last year at the London Tattoo Convention, I was chatting to a couple of guys and they were impressed with the work that was coming out of Ireland now, it’s really kicking off.
2/ How do you think this convention compares to others you’ve been to?
It’s really small – like tiny – in comparison to most conventions, but it’s really starting to carve out a good name for itself, with return artists and some really nice international artists. I think by next year it will be a good one to be seen at.
3/ What’s the best and worst part of working at a convention?
Best is: you never know what you’re gonna get; it could be something totally awesome. And the worst is: you never know what you’re gonna get; it could be totally shit! (laughs). I mean you don’t want to be banging out names at a convention, you want to have some fun, you want to do something really interesting for everybody to see And sometimes people just don’t want to spend the money; those are the kind of people, they’re not really clients, they just want something for the day. Whereas I much prefer to have a regular client and then we can have the craic in a fun environment.
4/ What’s your favourite thing to tattoo?
(Instantly) skulls! (laughs).
5/ What does the future hold for you? What do you hope to achieve?
Well since I just opened up a shop, let’s say I wanna build on that. I already have a good customer base, so now I gotta market the shop more because I wanna attract the right people. I want to take on bigger tattoos – i’m lucky, all my clients are going that way anyway. Before I opened the shop I was looking to travel more and do more conventions but now I’m going to focus on artwork and painting and getting back to basics. So pretty much just honing in on my craft a bit more and getting back to enjoying drawing what I want – again I’m lucky because my clients really come to me because they like what I do, and they’re willing and open to letting me push it and change elements of the design that I think will work, and so far it’s worked out well!