Can you tell us a little bit about yourself, background?
Heya, my name is jannali hepple and I’m a 26 year old tattooist from Cornwall. I've been tattooing for around 4 to 5 years. I like eating chips, drinking whiskey and sleepy tea.
Why base yourself in the South West of England and in Cornwall?
Cornwall is beautiful, big skies, dramatic weather, surrounded by the sea, it’s perfect. I feel very relaxed and at home here, I think when you’re happiest you create your best work, you can really focus on experimenting and growing with your craft.
I enjoy the slower pace of life Cornwall provides, not as much pressure to consume and buy things as in the cities, it's good for your soul :) I’m very content here just stomping around on the cliffs and getting salty, I feel very lucky to call this county home.
What interests do you have outside of the studio?
I enjoy spending time in the water, especially after a long day in the studio. Going for a surf after working all day doing something mentally tiring, like tattooing, is the best! I believe it washes all the static from you and makes you realise how small you really are in the grand scheme of things, especially if you get thrown around a lot.
Nature is amazing and I spend as much time outside as i can. I enjoy clambering around in bleak weather, storms, then having a fire to warm up after. :)
When the outside isn’t an option I draw and paint to pass the time, I always have a painting on the go, that gets chipped away at slowly, and I love a good book. :)
When did you first decide to get tattooed and what was your first ever tattoo?
I've kind of always known that I’d have tattoos. I’m not too precious about my body and how I look, so I didn’t think that hard about the first one. It is a hand poke snake on my ankle, scratched in by a drunk, sixteen year old me, it took me 4 hours and its so tiny and so so thick, it’s never coming out!
What’s the main influence behind your work?
Nature, definitely nature. I love spending hours in botanical gardens and when I’m in a new place I always try to hunt out the nearest one to explore. :)
I used to be a gardener with my dad, so I have grown up surrounded by insane gardens. He used to take me on lots of walks out in nature and test me on plant identification. This has helped with my tattooing and knowing what the plants I’m referencing are actually called.
I use a lot of old botanical books for flower reference, I like hunting in charity shops for good ones and I love how they smell. :)
What’s your favourite style to do on clients and why?
Blackwork floral, I like tattoos that work with the body and take into account how the muscles and bones sit under the skin, how things are going to look once in motion. I enjoy symmetry, even though its a pain to put on the body as humans are not very symmetrical.
What were you doing before you decided to become a tattoo artist?
I used to do a lot of bar work, I didn’t enjoy being nocturnal too much, however its a good social job. :) I've worked in the B&Q garden department and spent my time watering the plants and carrying them around like my children, that was ace! Also the gardening work that I mentioned earlier, it was perfect in the summer but January through February was tough, especially on the hands.
Tattooing is easier on the body but I liked the physical tiredness of doing a manual job. I liked getting dirty and sometimes miss that, tattooing can be very clinical sometimes, though for good reason!
I also worked in Burger King for a year or two, I’ve got a lot of respect for hospitality workers, some customers in that restaurant were fucking horrible.
What does tattooing mean to you?
Tattooing has been good to me, it has enabled me to travel all over the uk and outside of the uk. I have gained so much knowledge from watching people tattoo and conversing with them about machines, techniques, drawing, etc, I’m forever grateful for this, people have been so open and honest and lovely. I have met lifelong friends through tattooing and guesting in different studios, friends that I never would of come into contact with before and that I hold very close to my heart. I have learnt a lot about myself and others through tattooing and am so humbled that people want my art on them forever. It all feels like a strange dream that I’m going wake up from at any moment. It makes me want to be sick, in a good way.
To see more of Jannali's work click here