"I want anyone who gets tattooed by me to feel as comfortable as possible."
Inclusivity and comfort is at the heart of the new Stories & Ink studio in Falmouth, Cornwall. Embodying these principles wonderfully is our amazing resident artist, Ellie Cryer.
We recently caught up with Ellie to find out what customers can expect when they engage her as their artist, plus we talk a little about her style and how she got started in the industry.
How are you settling in at the Stories & Ink studio?
Really well so far! It's an easy space to enjoy being in - light, clean, simple, lots of plants. I don't love small spaces, so I'm a big fan of the floor to ceiling windows, and it feels like we are lucky to have the generous amount of space we do. As a team I think we work great together so far, so onwards and upwards!
What can customers expect when they engage you as their artist?
Hopefully an easy and smooth process - I include lots of helpful information on my booking form and also during the booking process in my emails, to make everything as clear as possible. Usually clients know which piece they want when they first contact me, but if not there is time and space to consider their options.
I want anyone who gets tattooed by me to feel as comfortable as possible. It's important to me that I be professional during the process, but that at the same time I am warm, friendly and approachable, that the client feels they can ask questions and feel at ease, not nervous. I often like to chat before or during an appointment - I'm genuinely interested in all of you! - but I am really an introvert at heart, and am equally happy with quiet appointments.
I want to create an environment where clients feel comfortable to let me know what they need, whether that's taking lots of breaks, putting headphones in or needing to stop for a snack. I know it can feel scary or even intimidating getting a tattoo or just entering a studio, basically I want to create the opposite of that!
How do you find Cornwall as a place to live?
I'm from the Sussex countryside not far from Brighton and came to Falmouth to study Illustration. I really loved being here but left straight after I was done and lived in Bristol for many years, then moved to Vancouver where I stayed for over 6 years, and now I've come full circle back to Falmouth. Honestly I haven't had time yet to do much exploring of Cornwall as a whole but I'm excited to start, I love being back in Falmouth so far though, the size of the town really suits me and I do love not living in a city anymore - I'm kind of naturally a slow and chilled person so the pace here is perfect.
Outside of tattooing what do you like to do?
Honestly I think I'm quite boring really - I'm a bit of a homebody, I love just being cosy on the sofa with a true crime documentary and a cup of tea. I genuinely love drawing so I'm doing that most days anyway, work related or not, probably while listening to a true crime podcast. I'd usually be going to gigs quite regularly, and I love taking pictures with my film camera so I try to take that with me most places. Just being right by the sea and walking the coast path is perfect.
How did you get in to tattooing?
I bought some supplies and started teaching myself when my brother told me he'd started, I honestly didn't know anything about hand poking before that, or that anyone taught themselves. It was around 2017 I think, I just played around and practiced on silicone skins and myself until some brave friends let me use their skin too. I did that for a while until 2020 when I connected with River, who is an amazing tattoo artist and now friend in Vancouver, he saw my work and invited me to join his studio space and mentor me. I tell it as a COVID specific story now, as I'm not sure all the timing would have worked out the way it did if it wasn't for the year that was 2020 - a beautiful thing that managed to grow from a bad sad time. I tattooed in Vancouver for 2 years until coming back to Falmouth this year.
What are the best parts of being a tattoo artist? And what are the challenges?
I think the best part is probably the worst part too - being self employed. I love the freedom that comes with it - making my own art, my own schedule etc, but that also means doing my own taxes and admin - I don't think there are many artists out there who love that part. Mostly I love that I get to draw for a living, and that there are people out there who like my work enough that they trust me to permanently put it on their skin - I'll seriously never get over how cool that is.
Can you tell us a bit about your style? What are you focused on at the moment?
I love drawing with pencil the most - the textures, the softness - and so that's mostly what I'm trying to recreate but in tattoo form. I always like to tattoo things with really interesting textures, especially shiny objects. I'm a bit obsessed with detail and as hard as I try to simplify things, it rarely works - I've just realised I'm a bit of a maximalist. Butterflies, moths, oyster shells & sacred hearts I'll never tire of, going forward I think I want to do more creatures, specifically cats and sea-based things, and maybe get a bit more surreal.