'˜Burlesque theatrical' meets '˜tropical funk' at Aimee's tattoo studio

Leggy, gorgeous and with a wicked '˜Carry On' cackle, meeting Aimee Luckham, 27, at her studio in Chichester proved both fun and fascinating.

Aimee Luckham, picture by Rachel Poulton

Realising her ambition to open her own studio in The Hornet at the end of last year, the tattoo artist is joined at The Electric Lady by fellow artist Andy and apprentice Leanne.

“Exactly as it looks now is exactly as I imagined it,” she smiled, as I absorbed the fabulous ‘burlesque theatrical’ meets ‘tropical funk’ décor, which certainly attracts admiring looks from passers-by who peek in through the shop window.

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Having studied fine art and design at Chichester College before going on to study silver smithing, when Aimee decided that she wanted to train as a tattoo artist she hauled her portfolio into studios along the South Coast looking for an apprenticeship, eventually getting her break in Brighton.

“All sorts of people have tattoos today,” said Aimee, recalling a group of 50-something ladies coming into the Brighton studio. Imagining that they were lost and looking for directions, she was delighted when they announced that they each wanted a pair of lips tattooed on their bottoms!

“Another lady who was seventy-eight came in soon after her husband died to have a rose tattoo on her foot. He’d always told her that she couldn’t have one, but now that he was dead she was going for it. She was fantastic!

“Tattoos definitely aren’t just for rockers and bikers anymore. Getting a tattoo is a luxury like getting your hair done. Attitudes have changed and in the five years I’ve been in the industry so many more women come in.”

Pointing out that there’s a difference between being a tattooist and a tattoo artist, Aimee said: “Instead of a canvas I create art on skin. It isn’t just following a line.”

“It is an intimate process because you are actually touching someone, so trust is really important. People do confide in you, but what happens in the tattoo studio stays in the tattoo studio,” she laughed.

But she has integrity. If she thinks that a request is inappropriate, or that it will negatively affect someone’s life, Aimee will politely decline to undertake a commission.

And if like me you don’t want a tattoo, but you’re curious to pop in and have a nose, Aimee has provided the perfect excuse to visit the studio by exhibiting the work of local artists in a small gallery upstairs.

“I want people to feel that they can come in and say hello,” said Aimee, who loves the community spirit that exists in The Hornet.

“There are lots of independent shops here and our neighbours have been great. Everyone is really friendly and we love it.”

And the burning question: Is being tattooed painful?

“If it really hurt I wouldn’t have any because I pass out at blood tests! Leg waxing hurts more and I’ve had worse headaches.”

Find out more: www.facebook.com/theelectricladytattoos Tel: 01243 783620

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