With Brighton being a hub for creativity and arts, there are some amazing tattoo artists and creative based in and around Brighton. One of my favourites is Lana Fern who works at Heartbreaker Tattoo in the North Laines.
Lana specialises in fine-line tattooing, specifically floral designs. Some of her other work uses single line drawing to create beautiful minimalist designs. Lana ensures that all of her materials are vegan and has a very inclusive attitude to customers. Heartbreaker Tattoo is home to other amazing artists as well as a cute sausage dog!
We managed to ask Lana some questions about working in Brighton and how tattooing as an industry has been affected by COVID.
How did you get into tattooing?
“I'd studied graphic design at university, and ended up in a corporate job that I found creatively stifling and unnecessarily stressful - just completely the wrong environment for me, and it made me quite unwell. I basically had to think "what job can I do that lets me be my own boss (for the most part), pick my own hours, be creative, and actually pay my bills?". There really weren't many options and after landing on tattooing I focussed more on ink illustration and started searching for an apprenticeship. I ended up being taught by a lovely guy up in Brixton, out of a shipping container studio. It took me a little while to find my style in fine-line florals but I feel totally settled in that for now”.
What drew you to Brighton as a place to work and live?
“I was drawn to Brighton because it's such an artsy area, and I felt it was my best shot at landing a residency at a studio that fit my style. It's also just such a lovely place - I lived down this way just after university for a year and loved being so close to the sea and the downs”.
How do you think the pandemic has affected the arts, specifically the tattoo industry?
“I think the pandemic has effected the arts in a lot of quiet, unseen ways. Of course the issue of venues and studios being closed, and shows or conventions being cancelled has meant a huge loss of income and momentum for a lot of us. But I feel like the biggest issue for me was feeling forgotten by the government. Until this month I hadn't received any financial support, not a penny, despite being out of work for around 7 months. I kept looking for solutions but wasn't eligible because of when I registered as self employed. I'm glad they've found a way to help out newly established artists now but the mental strain of not knowing when you'd have money coming in again, and just feeling like you're not a counted member of society despite paying taxes was such a kick in the teeth.
There's also the difficulty of being away from your creative outlet for months at a time, and having to just pick it up like nothing happened as soon as things open up again. Most people are really understanding but I've had some clients that treat it like I'm a machine that just had to be switched on again, rather than a human that just had quite a traumatic year!
For tattoo artists it seems like most of us fit a year worth of tattooing into the few months we were open, which was really rewarding but very hard on the mind and body. I think with tattooing like anything really, people need to appreciate everything that we do behind the scenes and be respectful of us needing downtime or having to say no to things when we don't have time”.
I have been lucky enough to have two tattoos done by Lana and the whole experience was seamless, the whole team at Heartbreaker are so friendly and incredibly dedicated to their work, I could not recommend them enough.