Introducing the family man, ornamental legend and all round nice guy Jack Peppiette. Jack is an ornamental artist at Insider tattoo in Edinburgh. He has clients travel from all over the world to be tattooed and somehow manages to create amazingly intricate designs all whilst raising his new born. He took some time out of his busy schedule to answer some of our questions and tell us a little about himself.
What first drew you to Ornamental tattooing? Were there any artists that influenced your direction?
I was initially drawn to ornamental tattooing because it’s something that seemed to come naturally to me. I loved really bold, clean, traditional tattoos (still mostly on the black and grey side!) but drawing them, whilst still super fun, didn't flow quite as easy for me in the way that geometry and ornamental repetitive patterns really did! I was greatly influenced in the beginning by Thomas Hooper, as I’m sure anyone who has ever drawn a mandala will have been at some point or another! There have been many other fantastic artists as well such as Alvaro Flores, Chris Higgins, Jondix, Tomas Tomas and my good friend and colleague Jason Corbett who have all played a part in the direction my pattern work has taken.
How do you start to conceptualise such intricate designs?
My concepts are generally quite free flowing and off the cuff! I used to plan out large sections, full backs and sleeves but I was never happy when I got to the day of the appointment, so now I tend to create smaller pieces and patterns to use and put them together on the client with a mix of freehand and a lot of stencilling bits and pieces to create something fun that fits nicely on the spot!
I’ve seen some of the enormous back pieces you’ve done. How long does one take on average and what is the longest someone has ever sat?
Full backs and sleeves usually take me about 4 days or so! The body suits I’m working on are more just a fun collection on great people, just one limb or section at a time! I only do full days maximum though, about 7 hours at a time, some do 2 or 3 days in a row which is great but my day always ends around 5.30pm as I have a wonderful family to get home to!
If you were to do any other style than Ornamental, what would it be and why?
Huge fan of black traditional tattoos as a style! Alway love the work of people like Paul Dobleman and Duncan X, and recently I’ve been very into large scale Japanese however with Olivia Chell and Jason in the shop there’s not much call for me on that one!
Loved your collaborations with Olivia Chell. What’s it like working with an artist that has a completely different style to yours? And have you got any more collaborations lined up for the future?
I love working with other artists and mixing opposing styles, I’ve done a few collaboration paintings with others like Ben Dunning which was great fun, but tattooing with my friend Chell is always an absolute pleasure! I think our styles really mesh well together with the bright bold colour Japanese against the bold quite rigid shapes or flowing patterns to represent the movement in Japanese backgrounds, and the 3 way collaborations we work on with Jason as well are something quite special, there’s a few more coming soon for sure!
What’s the tattoo scene in Edinburgh like?
The Edinburgh tattoo scene is fantastic at the moment! Barring last year with COVID we have a pretty awesome convention - the Scottish tattoo convention which is always a blast! And we have some pretty incredible artists up here. There are a surprising amount of shops in the city but that seems to be the way things are going now in a lot of places? Instead of the 3/5/10 big shops in one city everyone knows people and have splintered off to work in 2s and 3s a lot or to work on their own! I think there’s definitely positives and negatives to this but I guess only time will tell and I certainly don’t plan on leaving my nice spot at Insider any time soon!
Do you get people travelling far to get tattooed by you?
It’s a great position to be in as I don’t have to travel much at the moment. Most of my customers are from further afield now, usually up from London or down south and not counting recently due to international travel not really happening at the moment. I have plenty of great customers from Europe and the US and now and then as far as Australia! It’s always humbling though when people make the trip and it’s always appreciated as it means I get to stay close to my family, although it does make me chuckle from time to time when your full week is people from London and the US and you get an email asking if you’re going to guest in Glasgow anytime soon!
Finally, who would be your dream customer to tattoo?
Dream customer? I have loads! In particular though my regular customers like Laura and Sarah who always sit fantastic and are just chipping away at most of a bodysuit as we go is just great fun every time. But dream customers like a celebrity or something? Who knows! I’ve got plenty of sporting heroes in climbing, cycling, skiing etc.. but no one in particular, if they wanted a sleeve I’m sure they’d email. I wouldn’t mind having a go blacking out some celebrity tattoos though, there’s some wild choices people have made, some of the footballers work always made me wonder with infinite amounts of money why would you go for the cheapest or “in exchange for exposure” oh well, so long as everyone is happy it’s all good!