Since Peter Masters opened his Iraq Skinzophrenic Studio it has received international attention. After all, a shop on the frontline doesn’t crop up everyday. Peter is an excellent photographer by trade and through his travels and connections it occurred to him to establish a shop where his main customers are soldiers wishing to find expression and release through the art form of tattooing. Read more about Skinzophrenic Here
It hasn’t been long since Jon Tagart Harper established Blackfriars Tattoo on Maylord Street in the Hereford city centre, and already he has had two guest, tattooists and bookings to keep him awake for days and still never catch up. He is just that good and I proudly boast one of his tattoos myself.
There is an interest generating in his black work style geared towards the darker arts, which Jon does very well. It is like you walked into an ancient cave, and came across Viking or warmongering, ritualistic tribal symbols you really don’t want to mess with. It is what comes to my mind any…which is a busy mind that runs away with itself often. Admitting that I love these tattoos won’t send me to hell will it?
So if you are in search of ideas and you fall into the category of tormented souls in search of such art, this man has the calibre. Here are a few examples of his recent and epic works.
Last Wednesday I mozied on down to Blackfriars’s Tattoo studio for my scheduled appointment; my first piece by Jon Tagart Harper, and one I was very much looking forward to. I was greeted by the gracious receptionist, Sophie Rady, who used to bartend at The Barrels, and is doing her apprenticeship with Jon.
While sinking into the lovely Chesterfield settee and enjoying a nice warm cup of coffee in the reception area downstairs, I looked around and soaked up the atmosphere; candles slowly burning…giving off a calming scent, art work by Loo Pimble, a series of framed butterflies and insects, a most interesting Ouija Board that appears to be crafted out of slate, and various interesting goat horns on plaques. You feel a sense of Modern Interior and Period Style fused in with Jon’s personal interests which include Dark Metal. Impressive from the get go.
When Jon was ready for me, we moved into the studio upstairs that fortunately takes in lots of natural light, and feels very private and welcoming. Jon prepares you for your tattoo after making certain the design is to your liking – since I asked for a wristband style, a nightmare ensued. It was difficult with the shape of my arm (guess I am a defect), but Jon kept on with determination and didn’t falter from his mission until I was happy with the outcome. It is just what he does, how he makes a living. His tattoo gun is his brand, and his patrons wear his tattoos with pride. Jon knows that, and it shows.
The tattoo was initially unbearable, but I was looked after by Jon and Sophie, who kept me distracted the entire time with conversation. It was all so sweet. The entire journey was an experience and I walked away with a tattoo I am happy with, while enjoying myself thoroughly. Jon is a focused and regimented tattooist. He is very sterile which is something you don’t have to worry about in his studio; we all do don’t we?
The presence of Loo Pimble, Jon’s mentor and great friend, added to the experience. It was lovely to watch how each naturally bounced off of each others creativity, and see how seriously they take their craft. Surely he will be missed when returning to Florida.
Jon’s next guest tattooist is James Bull, who will be available for appointments March 21-25. To make an appointment with James email him at firstname.lastname@example.org Each guest tattooist adds character and brings a new style to the table. Loo Pimble is available until the 7th for work at Blackfriars Tattoo. Appointments for Jon or Loo can be made by emailing Blackfriars Tattoo at email@example.com by phone on 01432 350927.
One stormy Sunday in Hereford city centre, Skinzophrenic on West Street grabbed the cancer bull by the horns and fought the mighty beast straight on.
Zac Morris, who has trained under the watchful eye of Peter Masters seasoned tattooists, in particular Jon Harper, honoured their close and very young friend Ben Wooles, who recently was diagnosed with cancer, in hopes of raising money for Benny’s Fund, created to raise money for his treatment, by tattooing the cancer ribbon on the brave souls who dared withstand the site of Zac in his pants…yes I did say pants! Bless – he is a young fit lad – surely the ladies did not mind.
Well hope turned to success, as the lines of people gathered into the shop with minds and hearts determined to support this cause for one personal reason or another by donating £20 a head; soon Benny’s Fund saw the numbers rising. How noble…but also well…hilarious. Sometimes it is better to laugh in the face of cancer then it is to let it beat you, and that is just what Skinzophrenic did.
But let us not forget, cancer is a very frightening, and very expensive obstacle in many people’s lives…so let us not stop the donations to Benny’s Fund here. This young lad is in need of many more donations to reach his goal. Make a donation to BENNYS FUND HERE https://www.gofundme.com/h677ujek
Skinzophrenic Tattoos, 18 West Street, Hereford HR4 0BX TEL 01432 358696
He is driven by his love of the trade, and a passion for the traditional style of tattooing that is always evolving, while maintaining its purity. The hand of each individual artist adds its own character – and of course, Jon is an artist in his own right.
Personally, as a barer of traditional-style tattoos, his devotion is touching. I am elated to find a tattooist bringing incredible skill and talent to Hereford, while keeping to a strong code of ethics. By this I mean, he does not take on work he isn’t comfortable with. No worries though, Jon will happily refer you to other qualified colleagues in the city specializing in the requested style.
Upon entering his Tattoo Studio you are greeted by his beautiful receptionist Sophie, who will either make you an appointment, or prepare you to be seen by Jon. There is currently a one month waiting list, and this ofcourse… before he even opened his doors! This is not unheard of when extremely talented, sought after tattooists are involved. I recommend making your appointment as soon as you can.
HOW IT ALL BEGAN
Jon has been tattooing for five years. His career initiated at Mr. Beards of Kington, followed by Skinzophrenic in the city of Hereford. It should be noted that Jon has a cult following, he did not dive into the deep end without being certain that setting up his own business would be viable. I asked him why he chose to open his own studio in Hereford, and why he prefers the traditional style made famous by such greats as ‘Sailor Jerry’ Colliins.
His reply was, “Traditional tattoos are timeless, and they always look striking, even many years down the line. Since, I am a Hereford boy, born and bred, and a proud Herefordian, it was inevitable I should open a shop here. This city has incredible history attached to it, and if you stop and notice, there is amazing architecture all around us”. Yes Jon, I agree.
This of course does not need to be spoken, the shop front window depicts an incredible image of the Hereford Cathedral, and on the door window, a medievel Friar dressed in robes (the Blackfriars logo), painted by one of Jon’s friends.
THE STUDIO; VALUEING PRIVACY
The shop has three levels, and a view of the magnificent Philip Morris & Son building, built during the Tudor period. This adds to the old world appeal the studio possesses, in which Jon exposed the beams to reveal as much character as possible, while adding his own personal style to the interior.
You see, the studio is also an art gallery where Jon will be displaying some pretty unique artists’ work. You could almost say the studio feels like it should be placed in London or Bristol with its fresh, minimalist interior.
Jon works out of a room on the second level ensuring complete privacy. He also provides a separate room for guest tattooists coming from as far as America, and is in a network of highly skilled tattooists who practice his own style of work ethics. Many will be coming to work in his Hereford studio from around the country.
Guest Tattooist Loo Pimble All the Way from America
His first guest tattooist, Loo Pimble, will be coming to work with Jon from America, where he also has a devoted following tattooing in Built 4 Speed. He is also a Herefordian and a protogee of Mr. Beard’s. Loo begins taking on appointments from February 17.
It is only appropriate that Loo be his first guest tattooist since he has been Jon’s inspiration from the beginning of his career. You only have to look at Jon’s tattoos – which are all of Loo’s custom work, to understand why he looks up to him as a mentor. Both artists produce incredible work, known for its bright, strong colours, seamless blending and clean lines. If you can’t wait a month for Jon, Loo’s work is just as worthy.
Time for a chest piece of Majora’s mask. Just another day for Italian guest tattooist Simone and perhaps one to remember for this customer of Skinzophrenic who is braving the pain for what will no doubt be a fabulous piece.
Skinzophrenic tattooist Zac Morris will devote 12 hours on February 7th tattooing Cancer Ribbons…£20 each, to raise funds in support of their friend Ben Wooles, who has been diagnosed with cancer in his early thirties.