interview with tattoo artist rich harris

   Hello Rich Harris! Thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview. Please start by telling us something about yourself and your beginnings. I’ve been tattooing just over 5 years now. I first had the idea when I was 9 years old at junior school, my friends used to ask me to draw super heroes on their arms with biro pen. Id forgotten about the idea until I was 33, when my best friend started learning to tattoo which inspired me to look into it as a career. I then started building my portfolio and made a list of studios I was going to apply for, luckily I had another friend who opened a studio around that time, he allowed me work there straight away which was a massive help.

Q: Was it hard to learn? What do you think about apprenticeship?
A: It’s by far one of the hardest things I had to learn. When you first start it's incredibly daunting because there are so many aspects of making a good tattoo, technique, design, machine set up, what needle groupings to use... the list never ends. My opinion is that apprenticeships are the best way to learn, a great mentor will save you years in trying to learn from scratch.

Q: What do you prefer color or black & grey tattooing?
A: I like both, I like working in color but sometimes black and grey.

Q: What details take more time to finish, while doing a portrait?
A: Hair, eyes, hands take time, that's why I do abstract most of the time. I feel especially with color, less detail will age better and if you prefer super detailed work then black a grey would look better over 10-30 years.

Q: Every tattoo you did is like an illustration, poster design. Very creative! Tell me more about this.
A: I was into music production for several years and I used to create mostly simple based compositions. I partly use a similar technique to create my designs. I build my own libraries from images that inspire me. These images are taken from all areas of my everyday life. I may see a picture, color combination or interesting formation when I am out and about, take a photo and use it. There's an element of freehand in my work also. I like to draw or paint on the client to create a nice flow. I guess these elements I combine give me a unique style. However this is always evolving and I’m always getting inspired so next year I’m already thinking of adding a more organic, freehand elements to my work.

Q: Nowadays, we live in a so-called digital world, with constant pressure for progress and a lot of competition. Your thoughts? Do you have any favorite artists?
A: I really enjoy it! I don’t think any artists rate themselves and I’m the same, I’m always trying to improve. I look up to so many artists I consider better than me and think ‘how can I get to that level?’ then I get to work! I have loads of artists that I look up to, too many to name… check out who I follow on my Instagram haha

Q: Have you ever thought doing something completely different?
A: Not yet, I do stuff I enjoy… maybe a natural evolution over time will lead me onto something completely different :)

Collaboration with Damian Gorsky and Niorkz

Collaboration with artist @bintt

tattoo collaboration with artist Jamie Lee Knott

tattoo collaborations with artist Jamie Lee Knott @jamieleetattooart

Tattoo collaboration with Ryan Smith @ryansmithtattooist

Tattoo collaborations with Jamie Lee Knott @jamieleetattooart & @bintt

Q: Any advice for the new artists?
A: I'd suggest creating an amazing portfolio first and foremost, showcasing your art and tattoo design. I feel this will give you an edge if you know how work flows on the body. Then target several artists that you like and ask them for an apprenticeship. Maybe book in for some work with these artists to extend your relationship. If your portfolio is awesome then it will be difficult for them to turn you down, but if you fail in this, keep going! Attitude is everything.