In the second edition of ‘Artist of the Week’ we spoke to illustrator, tattoo artist and all round talented creative Dommy Sullivan. She goes by the name of skumclub on instagram is garnering a steady amount of fans and followers of her playful artwork. She’s been an artist her whole life but it’s only been in the last two years that she has ventured into the world of stick-and-poke tattoos and beyond. Sullivan recently was picked as part of the Shake Bristol art fair and is slowly but surely carving a solid name for herself within the Brighton art scene. Here we talk to her about her inspirations and what she has got lined up.
WHERE DO YOU DRAW INSPIRATION FROM?
I used to study interior architecture so my love of drawing rooms and spaces comes from that. When I think about it, most of the things I draw are centred around that idea, even the characters and objects come from a space I have created in my head and what you might find within that. I also get a lot of inspiration from children’s books and films, ones from my own childhood and also current ones. I like the imaginative and slightly surreal worlds people can create in them which I try to portray in my own work. For my tattoo work I also have similar inspirations, I’ll have ideas first for big detailed drawings or take ideas from previous drawings and then simplify them down for stick and poke tattoos.
HOW DID YOU GET INTO ART?
I always remember being creative, whether I was making models, painting or drawing. One of my first memories of drawing was when I was about 7 and staying up all night listening to tons of audiobooks I had borrowed from the library, illustrating what I was listening to and creating these places that I had imagined, so I’ve always loved it from a young age. I’ve only really found the style I enjoy however in the last two years. It’s taken me a while to get to this point and find what I really love doing.
WHAT ARE THE KEY THEMES IN YOUR WORK?
I draw a lot of characters and plants, lot’s of objects too. I create a space in my head and consider what might fill it. When I draw I like to feature similar themes and subjects throughout, I really like having consistency within my work whether that’s style or themes. Mental health comes up a lot within my work as well, whether I intend it to or not. I like having humour in my work as well, making people laugh through something I’ve drawn is really nice!
WHICH THEMES RESONATE WITH YOU PERSONALLY? HOW DO YOU EXPRESS YOURSELF THROUGH YOUR ART?
I guess mental health resonates a lot. My art helps me to express a part of me which I struggle to through words or other forms. It’s kind of my own space I can create and I get to choose who is in it and what happens, which I really like. It helps me feel in control of something, particularly when i’m not feeling great and feel like I have no control over anything else.
WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS?
I think having the initial idea is the most important part for me. Once I’ve got that everything else runs from it easily. I’m quite good with knowing exactly what I want from from the outset which helps. That’s not always the case and if I can’t find inspiration, I’ll take a walk or talk to people which usually helps m. I feel like having a good idea you’re confident in is the basis for any good piece.
WHAT MEDIUMS DO YOU USE IN YOUR WORK?
Mostly pen, I love drawing as detailed as I can get, which I guess stems from the technical architecture drawings I used to do. Recently I’ve been making clay models and painting and I sometimes use lino printing too. I’d really love to try out screen-printing soon as well. I tattoo using the stick and poke method.
WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES OF STICK AND POKE TATTOOS?
I think the most challenging thing is my own confidence with it, it’s quite daunting tattooing something someone will have forever!
WHAT IS THE MOST REWARDING PART OF TATTOOING AS AN ART FORM?
After a few months when I see the tattoo all healed it always amazes me how someone has chosen to have one of my drawings on them for life – making people happy is really rewarding.
WHAT PROJECTS DO YOU CURRENTLY HAVE LINED UP?
At the moment I really want to write a children’s book, so I think I’ll be concentrating on that for a while! I am hoping to have an exhibition this year to so creating pieces for that.