Artist Highlight: Sammy Harding
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I am a tattooer that works in various styles, resides in the South West of England and has been tattooing since the summer of 2015.
Why base yourself in the South West of England?
The South West is my home, I moved and lived in other areas in England but learnt to appreciate what I grew up around in doing so. I have lived back here in Exeter for a few years now and love it, a great blend of country living and small city life.
What interests do you have outside of the studio?
Before I was a tattooer I was working as an editorial photographer, so when I have the opportunity to shoot socially and personally I still do. I also enjoy classic car and bike culture, so when the weather is right that’s how I spend my time.
When did you first decide to get tattooed and what was your first tattoo?
When I was 18, it was 2 traditional style blue roses with a scroll reading “When Forever Comes Crashing”, a song and album title from my favourite band at the time, still love the tattoo 14 years on, it was done by James Kiley.
What’s the main influences behind your work?
I have specific renowned artists who I like but in terms of influence I just try and gain it from the people around me, both artists and customers. Seeing great work being done by others within the same studio just gets you stoked to do your own, otherwise I think you can definitely get lost in specific influences and just end up imitating.
What’s your favourite style to do on clients and why?
I used to be drawn to entirely traditional within my own work but have since learnt to find the fun in all styles, the shop I work at is a well rounded shop where we get to put our hands on all genres of tattooing, so i’ll pretty much enjoy everything I’ll take on.
What were you doing before you decided to become a tattoo artist?
Working as a photographer in London, I loved it and met some great friends though it but tattooing is what I set out to do initially, I just had to wait for a time in my life where circumstance corresponded with opportunity for it to become achievable.
What's the strangest tattoo you have ever done?
I don’t think it’s possible to do a strange tattoo anymore, every time I think I have done one I’ll look online and see something that makes it look tame by comparison.
What does tattooing mean to you?
I don’t care for the social culture of tattooing at the moment, I would have loved to have experienced it 30 years ago but in terms of actually tattooing, it means a whole lot, it gives you back as much as you put into it, it’s rewarding and challenging, there’s few better feelings than finishing a tattoo and loving how it looks and your customer thinking the same.
Follow or book Sammy here: @Sammy_Harding