TATTOOER

CLAUDIA SMITH

Desert Mama- Who is Claudia and where can we find her? Tell us about yourself:

Claudia- I’m a tattooist from the north of England, living in London. You can find me at Parliament tattoo.

DM- How and when did the love for tattooing come about?

C- I grew up with my dad taking me to see bands and motorbike rallies so I suppose I was influenced at a really young age by that scene. Everyone was tattooed.

I was 15 when I got my first little matching tattoo with my best friend In school. 

DM- What inspires you?

C- Bones, organic structures and decomposition. I’m a big fan of memento mori art.

DM- Whose work has influenced you most?

C- I’m really inspired by the flowing lines of aesthetic movement illustrations by artists like Aubrey Beardsley. Also old illustrations from brothers Grimm books, Gustav dore and anything spooky and etched.

DM- Show us what you think is your best tattoo by now and tell us why you love it:

C-I really enjoyed this piece, I think it just combines all my favourite elements to work with.

DM- The part you love the most of what you do, and the least part:

C- I love the freedom of working for myself, when and where I want to. It opens up lots of opportunities to move around which is what I enjoy most. 

Worst part is definitely the admin. I’m not good at admin.

DM- We also see you like motorcycles, who taught how to ride and why this love for them?

C- I grew up with them! I rode on the back of a bike before I took my first steps. 

My parents even turned up to their own wedding on matching bonnevilles and full leathers.

My dad has primarily taught me, more so lately focusing on the mechanics side as I just got my own 1979 triumph bonneville.

DM- Where and how would you like to see yourself 10 years from now?

C- 10 years from now ideally owning some land, somewhere warm in the countryside with my partner.

A garage big enough for all our bikes with a space to build and be creative together. 

Probably with lots of animals. 

DM- Your happiest childhood memory:

C- My dad once pulled me out of primary school saying there was a family emergency. Turns out his building team accidentally dug up some bones in a church whilst doing renovations. Archaeologists had to come and excavate the bodies properly and he asked them if I could help. That was RAD.

DM- Your best quality and your worst defect:

C- I care a lot but worry about everything. 

DM- What makes you angry:

C- People using mobile phones in company.

DM- What do you do for fun?

C- Drive my motorbike, antiquing, camping.

I love road trips that involve all of those things.

DM- A success and a failure:

C- A success would definitely be working at Parliament Tattoo. I’ve looked up to that place for the longest time and I didn’t think I’d ever call it home.

Failure isn’t really something I align with. I’d like to think I either achieve the thing I’m trying to do, or I’m just in the process of achieving it. Minor set backs happen but they rarely result in outright failure.

RECOMMENDATIONS

– A phrase: Ordinary morality is only for ordinary people.

– A film: Natural born killers 

– A song: Outlaw women- Hank Williams Jr.

– A drink: Death in the afternoon. 

Absinthe and champagne. 

– A book: The picture of Dorian Gray.

– A city:  New Orleans.

WHAT DOES CLAUDIA PREFER?

  • Tattooing / Being tattooed
  • Ten years in a coma / Ten years in jail
  • City life / Country life 
  • Talking to animals / Talking to the dead
  • Having more time / Having more money 
  • Constantly winter / Constantly summer
  • Having a family with 5 kids / Not having kids at all
  • Dogs / Cats
  • Waking up in a desert / In a boat in the middle of the Ocean
  • Only eating salty food / Only eating sweet
  • Something organized / Something improvised
  • Visiting the past / Visiting the future
  • Being unable to see / Being unable to hear
  • Reality / Fiction
  • Never leaving your city / Not being able to return 
  • Continuing with your life / Restarting your life (It’s an AMAZING life. I wouldn’t change a damn thing.)
  • Knowing what you will die of / Knowing what day you will 
  • Music concert / Theater play
  • Motorcycle trip / Car trip