Artist Interview - Antony Flemming
Antony Flemming is a London based tattooer with an extraordinary portfolio of finely detailed Neo-Traditional work. The London Tattoo Convention chats to Antony about his unique style, influences and his beginnings in tattooing...
You undertook an apprenticeship at World of Tattoos, Ruislip, where you are still based. What is the most valuable lesson you took from your apprenticeship and what do you love most about the studio? In an industry where many tattooers have the freedom to frequently relocate, it's refreshing to see such a traditional approach...
To be honest I owe everything to the people around me at our studio and that really is the reason I am still there. Glyn Foster our boss doesn't actually see himself as the boss, he just thinks of himself as one of the guys that works at World of Tattoos, it just so happens he takes a cut at the end of the day! I think that is such a great atmosphere to work in. It instantly teaches you to treat everyone around you with respect, that we are all equal and there is no hierarchy. My apprenticeship was traditional in the sense of; I was made to do daft things as well as do all the cleaning and get the guys teas and what not, but it never felt like I had a boss as such, just someone that I truly respected and trusted. I think that is so rare. I speak to so many tattooists and they tell me that they don't get on with their boss and that their boss is a pain in the backside because of this and that. But with Glyn, he really is just one of my best mates... I am extremely lucky that the dynamic of the shop works so well, we have all worked together for about 7 years now and we have become a family. I guess that's what I love about our studio, even with the occasional family tiff..
How would you define your style and what are your favourite elements to include in a tattoo?
Tattoo Life put it wonderfully once, 'Neo-Traditional with a dreamlike flair'. Now I'm not too sure if that's how I would describe it, but it sounds pretty cool! I'm honestly not too sure, I just draw things so they will work as a tattoo, I don't think it needs to be defined. I love tattooing animals, no real reason. I think they just work well as tattoos
Which artists inspire you?
Everyone! Instagram is a dangerous place for us tattooists. You post a tattoo and think you did an OK job, then suddenly you see someone like James Tex or Mike Rubendall or Grime post a tattoo and you feel like throwing your machines in the bin. But I think it's that feeling. Knowing you can push yourself to be better. That's what inspires me, seeing others around me doing way better tattoos inspires me. There is no way you can improve if you think you've figured this tattooing lark out.
What other mediums do you work in?
I use Copic Pens a lot, I use Promarkers and also Prismacolor pencils, I would love to paint with watercolours but I'm rubbish at it. A few people have tried to teach me but I've failed every time... I think if I was to actually sit down and practice I could try and wing it but at the moment all my time is wrapped up in drawing and tattooing, maybe when I retire eh!
What is your favourite thing about tattooing?
I think my favourite part of tattooing is all the amazing people I have met, customers, other tattooists, everyone involved within the scene and all the incredible places I've been to and experienced. Although tattooing itself is frustrating, challenging and extremely tiring, it's all worth it when your customer does that little smile when they look in the mirror for the first time. Until of course you check your Instagram feed that evening...