Black Dots Or Color Splashes ? Brighton Tattooist Will Barbour-Brown Talks About Tattoo Trends

Credit @ Laura Bohrer.

Sometimes you see them, sometimes you don’t. Sometimes they’re tiny, sometimes huge. The name of a beloved family member on your forearm, a girly dreamcatcher on your neck, a colored skull on your thigh… Raise your hand if you got at least one piece of art stitched under your skin!

Getting a tattoo is so incredibly popular that it might even be easier to ask who hasn’t got one. Are you planning on getting your first or next tattoo anytime soon and are still not sure what you want? Then this is for you! We spoke to Blue Dragon tattoo artist Will Barbour-Brown about current trends in tattooing and popular Brighton tattoos.

Really popular at the moment: BlackWork Tattoos.

Really popular at the moment: BlackWork Tattoos.

People always speak about ‘tattoo trends’ and ‘what’s in’. But what kinds of trends are there when it comes to tattooing?

“Basically, you got two different kinds of trends. First, there are the things that people get tattooed, that is to say, the actual imagery which comes and goes in trends and that usually really quick. So one month, it will be dreamcatchers, the next month it will be roses and then next month skulls or hearts… And then, there are the styles that can become a trend as well, like Black Work at the moment. So, given it is a style, people can ask for any kind of imagery as long as it is Black Work.”

So you mentioned that Black Work is really popular at the moment. What exactly is that?

“Yeah, Black Work is really big in tattooing at the moment. It’s literally just using black, no color, not even any Grey Wash. So really just black solid images. Dot Work tattoos are still pretty in as well. They are quite similar to Black Work. You just use black ink most of the time and then you do lots of little dots to form geometric patterns. That has been in fashion for four or five years now.”

Water Color tattoos are also popular at the moment. Photo taken from here.

Water Color tattoos are also popular at the moment. Photo taken from here.

And apart from Black and Dot Work? Are there any other styles or imagery that are popular at the moment?

Apart from that, a lot of people are getting Watercolor tattoos done. It’s pretty much the opposite of Black Work because it’s super colorful. When you do Watercolor stuff, you tattoo in a way that makes the colors look like it’s watercolor paint. You can even make splashes of paint and incorporate them into a tattoo.”

So, these are the styles that are really in at the moment. Is there any imagery that currently is really popular?

“Recently, I have done a lot of snakes and daggers, like this really old traditional biker style. We have had many students come in saying they wanted something like that.”

If I got a tattoo and decided to go with the trend, how long would my tattoo be in? How long do these trends last?

That varies considerably. Some of them come and go in a month. For example, a couple of years ago, it was candy skulls. But they came in one month and almost every customer that came through the door would ask for them. And then, as quick as they came, they were gone. No one asks about them anymore. While other trends last a lot longer. It really is impossible to predict these trends.”

Will tattooing a little black clef.

Will tattooing a little black clef.

What about the tattoo scene especially in Brighton? Do trends differ around here?

There is a lot of tattooing going on in Brighton because there are so many artists around here. Everyone is doing their own stuff, trying to make their own trends and trying to push further. That’s what’s good about Brighton whereas in other towns and cities trends have been the same since 1985 or something.”

When tattooing is so big and popular here, are there also tattoos that are related to Brighton?

“As Brighton is full of tourists and people who are living here and who come from other countries, we do quite a lot of Brighton tattoos. A lot of the people who come in just make a stop here on their travels and they want something to relate to Brighton like seagulls. Very often people also ask for the outline of the pavilion or the pier. So yeah, there is a lot of Brighton iconography that people want to have tattooed on them. Usually, they are quite small ones, just a little souvenir.”

Can’t wait to get your next tattoo now and want to know more about tattoo trends? Then this weekend’s Brighton Tattoo Convention might be a good place for you to go and get inspired, and maybe even to get tattooed on spot. Will and his colleague Sarah Lu from the Blue Dragon will be there along with other tattoo artists from all over the world.

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