Featured Artist: Alan Aldred
BD: Hey there man, How are you? thank you for taking the time out of your day to sit down with us and share a bit about yourself.
AA: Hey, I'm good, thanks for asking me to be involved!
BD: No problem at all!, Introduce yourself for our viewers and artists out there.
AA: My names Alan Aldred, I'm 25, soon to be 26. I've been tattooing for around seven years now and have been at Cosmic Tattoo for the past three years. Outside of work I spend most of my time watching various rubbish on Netflix or dodgy eighties horror films.
BD: Rubbish is the best Rubbish! Give us a bit about yourself growing up over seas and how art started in your life before tattooing or anything of recent.
AA: I was born and grew up in a small town in the UK called Ipswich. The only way I can describe Ipswich is average, an average town in almost every way. As a child I was always artistic, from a very young age I was always painting and drawing. My mum is very artistic and I think I inherited that aspect from her, both of my parents have always been very supportive and I cant thank them enough for that.
BD: Would you say you had a Defining moment that showed you that you wanted to be a artist full time or did it just happen?
AA: I’d say It was a natural progression, the older I got the more I drew and more I enjoyed it. There wasn't a specific moment that I can remember that set things off.
BD: How did you get started with the interest and now the profession of tattooing.
AA: When I was a child my dad got a tattoo completely out of the blue. Now I look at it and its nothing incredible but at the time I thought it was the coolest thing ever, that was my first real introduction to the idea of tattoos and tattooing. Later on as a teenager I had started to draw "tattoo designs" which looking back on it now are pretty awful but at the time I decided to get a couple of these tattooed and it was a slippery slope from there. At eighteen I got tattooed again and this time struck up a relationship with the guys in the shop which led to me getting an apprenticeship there.
BD. Nice, What kind of set up do you use for tattooing, why?
AA: As far as my everyday set up goes I generally use Aaron Cain and FK Irons machines. I get on really well with both set-ups and I think they've helped my progression in tattooing as well. I've tried using various kinds of rotaries before but I always end up going back to coils, I just felt that some of the magic of tattooing was missing. I enjoy the sound and feel of the coil and I think that's where I'll stay!
BD: You do a Tremendous amount of Pop Culture,Cult and horror themed tattoos and art work, amongst other things. What would you say is your biggest challenge with working on pieces and making them “your own”
AA: I’m very fortunate that my customers want this cool stuff! I find the most difficult thing is actually trying to make it my own, how to replicate an image but have it be recognizable as my own work. I'm not sure if I do have my own style that is noticeable to other people or not. Id love my work to have a more painterly look but I'm not going to force something that doesn't come naturally. Finding reference material that is of a high enough quality to work with can be a real difficult for films and people from certain eras but there's always ways.
BD: Movie monster to “smoking hot mommas” there is a huge amount of contrast and value between these characters. what are some of the techniques that you use to achieve those textures, value and saturation with your tattooing.
AA: I try to work with a lot of contrast, I use a good amount of black where possible. Either in the image itself or in the background. One of my main concerns is how the tattoo will age over time, no one wants a tattoo that disappears in a year or two. As far as saturation I'm very methodical about making sure every color I put into the tattoo is solid, whether its a large area of skin tone or smaller marks for texture. I definitely don't fit into the category of people who tattoo very softly and in my opinion overly gently. I definitely make sure its in there!
BD: We noticed as well that you do a lot of pencil work, Why do you use this type of medium, and brand?
AA: I use Caran D'ache Luminance pencils, I’d like to try Prisma Colour but I haven't yet. As far as I understand they're pretty similar. I enjoy using the Caran D'ache pencils because they have a very soft oil based pigment that allows for real smooth blending and layering of colors. I've found that I can get a more realistic look from pencils than other mediums I've used in the past so I think I''ll stick to pencil for a while. I draw on pastel paper as it has a slight texture which I find makes it easier to get a consistent and solid amount of color on the paper.
BD: What are some of the techniques you use to further your art and look of your desired style?
AA: As far as furthering my art, I just practice, really I should draw more as I've noticed that how I draw has a direct effect on how I tattoo and definitely has an effect on the technique I use. I don't try to force myself to draw something I'm not interested in just for the sake of potential progress. I draw people, monsters or just images in general that I find fun and interesting, that way I enjoy investing the time which I think makes everything easier.
BD: Is there anything out there you feel that you want to move into art wise that you have yet to tackle?
AA: When I have the space I would like to start oil painting, it seems to be the most respected of mediums and just looks like a lot of fun. I have friends and colleagues who oil paint and Its something that when the times right I'll definitely try to pick up!
BD: How do you feel the art scene is over there with such a rich history and smelting pot of creativeness, Does it get overwhelming at times? Inspiring? a bit of both ?
AA:Honestly I don't pay too much attention to what other people are doing. As far as the UKs art scene, what's going on right now I have no idea, I'm just a normal dude who draws pictures in his spare time. There are definitely great museums and galleries in London to visit and as a teenager I did this as part of my education, maybe I should do it more often!
BD: Any artists that you truly admire and would recommend to other to gather some inspiration from?
AA: As far as tattoo artists go, theres a lot of people I look up to who work in a lot of varied styles, there's so many amazing artists around now a days and new people are always appearing through Facebook or Instagram so its pretty hard to keep up!
BD: Where can anyone find you at shop or on the road ?( any tour dates and all links)
AA: You can find me working at Cosmic Tattoo in Colchester, Essex, UK. I work there five days a week and am always taking bookings. As far as Conventions this year goes I'm kind of unsure, they'll predominantly be UK based shows. For everyone in the US though I am guesting at Off The Map Easthampton, Massachusetts in November, I feel very fortunate to be given this chance and am definitely looking forward to it.
As far as finding me online its very easy, here's the list of the addresses;