What influences Brenden during his time at
Words: Simon Paterson
Images: Brenden Jones
How old were you when you got your first tattoo and did your parents know?
I was 15. I had all intentions of getting a tiger tattooed but didn’t have enough money, so I ended up with a tiny butterfly on my ankle. My parents didn’t find out until we went on holiday later that year. My mum didn’t seem to mind at the time, so I had a wizard on my arm … this time she did mind, I got a clip round the ear and she didn’t speak to me for over a week.
What was the first thing you tattooed on someone else, who was it and was it any good?
My first tattoo was done in 2001 on a lad from Scotland, a tribal style sun with extremely wobbly lines.
So, I have one tattoo, it is a Frank Turner album cover (Love Ire & Song, best album ever, give it a listen) done at Tattoo HQ no less. When did you set up Tattoo HQ and what has been your biggest challenge to date in running your own business?
I set up tattoo HQ in 2009 with my business partner Chris. We’ve just celebrated our 10th birthday in the shop. I would have to say that the biggest challenge is keeping going for another 10 years!
What advice would you give to someone looking to get their first tattoo?
I would advise anyone looking at getting there first tattoo to take their time. Find an artist whose work you really love and make sure the image is something that you want on your body for the rest of your life. Definitely don’t go for the cheapest, it may well cost you more in the long run getting it covered up.
Not only are you an exceptional tattooist, but clearly a talented artist. Our front cover is graphically designed, is this line of work something you may explore in the future?
Thank you very much. Graphic Design is something I want to get into, the cover art is all hand drawn, not a computer in sight. I’ve recently been looking at doing a BA honours in illustration/graphic design to broaden my skill-set. It’s something I’ve always been interested in doing and it will help me grow as an artist.
How did you come up with our front cover design?
By accident really, I was initially going to do a traditional tattoo-style panther, but when I sat down to draw, the rose idea just popped into my head.
What or who inspires you?
In the art world, there has been a bunch of people over the years. M C Escher caught my eye as a child, I would say my favourites by him are House of Stairs and Other World. In the mid 80s, I got into graffiti art which I think translates into my tattoos. Mode 2 was, and still is, my favourite graffiti artist.
You can give one piece of advice to your younger self as you're about to leave school, what would you say?
Work hard to achieve your goals and enjoy what life brings.
Our thanks to Brenden for taking the time to produce two stunning, unique cover designs for us, S40 and S41 Local cover pages. Check out his social media to keep up-to-date with his work.