An interview with Chris Hewish

By Ed Vinicombe on Jul 9th, 2014

Hey Chris, how long have you been tattooing for & how would you define your style?

Heya, I've been tattooing for a couple of years. I wouldn't particularly say I have a style as such, although generally you can always tell who's done what within tattooing because your hand usually comes through. I like quite graphic things (in tattooing aswell as out) so I suppose that comes out in my work a lot. I don't like over fussy things.

When/how did you hook up with Mo Coppoletta at Family Business in London?

I had been tattooed at the studio a few times by Diego and I remember really liking the place. David especially made quite an impression on me and I thought it would be a great place to work. Funnily enough, when xam moved there from frith street he put in a good word with mo and I started the month after. My first day was the day after my 21st birthday- I was so incredibly hungover hahaha. Mo's the best- he's a good pal, loyal and fair and a very good boss. I owe him a lot.

Did you always know you wanted to be a tattoo artist? How did this come about?

I always just thought tattoos were interesting and I thought it would be fun. Im not a particularly good draftsman I just like making compositions. So I suppose my start was more due to persistence than shining talent. I just stuck at working at the shop and it eventually payed off. Having said that though it's always been really fun.

Where do you look for inspiration when approaching a new tattoo?

Old fashioned ephemera, 50's advertising, junk. Amateurish art. Crap, really.

What does an apprenticeship look like for an aspiring tattoo artist. What’s involved & how can you get into it?

Black Feather Tattoo by Chris Hewish on yours truly!

Start working in a shop, mop the floor, deal with tourists, clean the toilet, scrub tubes, realise that is not very glamorous, persist, annoy, ask and just stick with it. Tattooing is fantastic and exciting, but there's so much to learn before you dive in there. If you learn the wrong way, you're screwed for your whole career as you have to double back on yourself and take another path.

What’s your favourite/worst tattoo you’ve got?

Work by Chris Hewish in 2013

The best are my stick and pokes from friends. I have some nice tattoos from tattooers I respect a lot and enjoy their company and the subsequent work they have done but there's something very sacred about receiving a tattoo from a friend. I'd love for my mum or dad to tattoo me.

Who do you look up to in the world of tattooing. Anyone in particular that has inspired you along the way?

Chris hard at work!

In no order: mo, xam, Michele, Duncan, Luca mamone, nello, dan, Lindsey Carmichael, dan, bugsy, boltz.. loads of people. Mostly it's the team at the shop who have pushed and helped me. Having a healthy home life really helps too. My wife and good friends have been very supportive.

Society appears to be ever more accepting of tattoos these days. Have you noticed an increasing number of people wanting to get something done over the years?

Yeah definitely- it's cool that people want to dip their toes in because it's the smaller jobs that turn into big ones and before you know it they're full blown tattoo collectors.

What’s next for you and your career?

I still have so much to learn from the shop and I'm really comfortable there. I think I'll be there for a while, fingers crossed.

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