interview with Leigh Oldcorn | cosmic tattoo | england 17/11/2014 

Q: Since when the fascination for tattoo art first began? What made you to become a tattoo artist?
A: I first started in a tattoo shop in around 85-86, as the floor sweep and gofer. The tattooist, Scorpio in Middleborough, thought I had potential, and he's now one of my oldest friends. I then worked part time, doing other jobs, then spent 7 years as a medic in the navy, and finally opened up my own place in 98.

Q: How was you beginning? What was the hardest, most challenging part of becoming a tattoo artist?
A: The hardest part of becoming a tattooist was getting a start. I had 3 great people help me, Alan Mclachlan (Scorpio) , John Walsh, and Tony Clarke RIP. I will always be eternally grateful to them, and I'm thankful to God for blessing me with persistence haha!   

Q: Do you have any influences?
A: Other tattooists are my major art inspiration. I'm not too clued up on proper painters/ artists etc, although I do love hussars work, as do many other tattooists.

Q: The black n' gray portraits are really eye-catching designs in your portfolio. I love them all! ;) Would you say that this kind of style is your personal style, something that can define you as an artist?
A: I mainly do black and grey realism and horror, I guess because I'm better at it than color work. I'm not uncomfortable using color, I oil paint in color, but for me, getting color realism to heal spot on every time is a pain in the arse, black n grey is more comfortable for me in terms of tattooing and the healed end result. If I could be truly happy with the way color realism heals, when I do it anyway, then I may do more eventually.

Q: Dark shadows and brilliant highlights are also something very unique about style, tell me more about the technique. What details are the most complicated to capture on skin?
A: Literally, I try to tattoo what I see. Reference pictures with strong contrast are ideal for tattooing, lots of black is good.
Having said that, sometimes we can only work with the reference pics we are given, say an old photo of a deceased family member, and you have to make the best of it.

Q: Would you try to play a bit with some color inks, probably in the near feature?
A: Maybe haha!

Q: Is there anything you've learned about life of just sitting on the other chair and tattooing their stories?
A: Er, yes and no. I don't really buy into all that Miami ink teary stuff. I'm not a healer, I'm just a tattooist. If you think a tattoo will heal your problem, you would be better off spending your money with a counselor.  I'm not being harsh, just honest, I don't bullshit people. Although we do make you a great tea or coffee while you're with us, which is always a comfort isn't it :)

Q: Any negotiations with your clients in a while?
A: Most of my work is duplicating a reference picture, so it's pretty straightforward. Most people are great, I advise them if something will work as a tattoo or not, and if they don't listen or are just not interested in what you have to say and its a bad idea , then maybe I'm not the artist for them. As for horror stuff, most people who ask me for it know the kinda thing I do, so they usually let me get on with it, and thankfully dig what I do.


Q: How long people wait for their appointment?
A: About 6 months or so. I have a great team on front desk who look after us and sort all the bookings etc.
Our contact details are  , or telephone 01206 575158, or put a like on our cosmic tattoo Facebook page :)

Q: You work at "Cosmic Tattoo" located in Colchester, England. Tell me more about the shop.
A: I work with in brilliant team! They are... Pinky Darling, our genius dotwork and pattern specialist, Arran Burton, a truly gifted and brilliant oriental artist, Sim Abbott, fantastic black and grey artist with a steampunk twist Alan Aldred, colour realism king! And finally Aynjjal Chaos, who does all our walk ins, script and neotrad, she does great proper tattoos!

Everyday is great at the shop, not only fantastic banter and a big laugh that the customers enjoy too, but also the creative energy and the way everyone gets inspired and pushes harder to keep improving. It's a brilliant place to work!

Q: Any recommendations for the new artists?
A: Stop concentrating on your image, quit with all the rock star shit, stop posing and get fuckin drawing!! Because if you don't, you will be left behind, I guarantee it.