–––––––– Read our exclusive interview with ––––––––

Sneaky Mitch

With the launch so close we can almost touch it, (seriously, I can hear it breathing in the next room. It’s really disconcerting…) we bring you the second in our exclusive series of interviews with the IOC artists. We ran around inside the head of Mitch Allenden to get his take on the worlds of art and ink.


How do you think tattoos and tattoo artists are perceived by the art world in general? (Does it need to change? is it changing or has it changed since you started?

I think tattooing is becoming a lot more accepted.  But tattooing as a whole has changed a lot, and as such I think it's more integrated with art and design than ever before. There's so much choice now you can pretty much have anything you like if you’re prepared to do some research.


Every artist seems to have a unique story about how they found their art form. What’s yours?

I don't think there was a really unique starting point. Mine is more of an acquired skill I think. I've always painted and drawn a lot from a young age and it's just something I always seem to gravitate back to.  It relaxes me.  


With the IOC designs you were given total free reign over the design. How did you decide what to create when confronted with the completely blank page?

When it comes to painting it's a nice way to work. I like to give myself a theme or colour scheme to stick to when I'm working on a set of anything. It keeps a nice uniformity to the images. 


Do you find you have similar themes or imagery that you go back to time and time again in your work?

I work with animals a lot.  And I love anything fantasy based from years of reading science fiction and the likes.  It's always good to refer back too.  Wildlife gives you a lot of scope for movement in designs as well which keeps things interesting. 


Outside of tattooing, which artists in other fields inspire you?

I love sign writing and a lot of the art work you see on old motorbikes and cars. I follow a load of guys on Instagram.  Travis Hess is one of my favourites, he does really complex paint jobs.  They look fantastic and keep in with the traditional look. 


Looking at your Facebook profile I see there are lots of designs for clothing and paper rather than skin. Do you approach these designs differently to designing tattoos for people’s skin?

Yeah slightly.  There's a little more freedom when it's going to print, when you’re tattooing you always have to think about the customer and also where you’re going to be doing the tattoo. So there are a lot more pressures.


You studied illustration at Lincoln Uni. Do you feel that this was good training for a tattooing career or if not, what was your best training?

Not really.  Uni gave me a chance to draw for three years without paying my bills. Ha ha. I think the best preparation for anyone wanting to tattoo is just to get tattooed. A lot. And draw as much as you can. You really need to love art in general. You can't get by in this job if you don't love pushing yourself. 


I’m reading a book in which a character is a tattoo artist who has no tattoos herself. Would you ever trust someone to tattoo you if they had none themselves?

I'd trust them to tattoo me if I'd seen enough of their work, but I wouldn't be impressed ha ha.