Kristian Richards – Two Rivers Tattoo

We have Kristian Richards guesting with us from the 16th – 18th March. Hailing from Penarth, just outside Cardiff. Kris enjoys traditional and Japanese work, but can confidently lend his hand to all styles of tattooing. We asked him a few questions prior to his guest spot, to get to know him a little better.


What is you very earliest memory of tattoos or tattooing? Was anyone in your family tattooed for instance?

Nobody in my family really had any tattoos, it was quite a taboo subject really. My Grandfather was a Sailor when he was younger so he had a few traditional pieces on his forearms that were very faded, I guess this was my earliest memory of tattoos. As I grew up and started to listen to alternative music I guess this was when I started to actually take notice of the appearance of bands I listened to and more importantly, the tattoos.

Can you remember the moment you thought “I wanna do this”, or “this is something I can do”?

I was always drawing since I can remember. My earliest memory of drawing would be at my grandparents house. I would draw anything anyone asked me to and then once it was drawn I’d walk around the living room showing every person to hear what they thought! As I grew up, all I wanted to do was be in a band and for that to be my job, then I was at a point when the fear of life came upon me and that was when I put 2 and 2 together and thought about tattooing as a career.

black and grey tiger tattoo by Kristian Richards black and grey tiger tattoo by Kristian Richards

How long have you been tattooing and where have you worked so far?

I started looking for apprentice work at the age of 2008 and started out at a shop cleaning, talking to customers and watching over tattooists. It wasn’t a great studio but it definitely was a foot in the door. I started to draw a lot taking inspiration from the flash on the walls and folders, building up a portfolio. in 2010, I started work at Rock and Roller Tattoo Studio in a small town and that’s when I started to tattoo, my time at the studio developed into eventually managing the shop. Unfortunately the owner wanted to close the business. I wasn’t in a position to run my own studio at the time so shortly after that in 2012 was when I joined Frontier Tattoo Parlour in Cardiff. A very big shop with 6 artists, a piercer and laser room, something I wasn’t used to but a great studio run by great tattoo artists, this was when I really started to find my style and really fall in love with tattooing again. after a few years I decided to open my own studio, Two Rivers Tattoo in Penarth. its a small, relaxed studio just outside the city. It has all the elements of my experience so far in tattooing. It’s my second home!

Do you work on an hourly rate or fixed prices?

Bit of both really! I work at £70 per hour rate. I do a lot of larger scale work so I do a lot of day sessions which are £400. I also offer half day sessions at £250. If it’s smaller pieces I give fixed prices.

grim reaper and woman torso piece by Kristian Richards

How do you tend to work? Do you draw ahead of time or freehand on the day? Do you let customers see the design before the day etc?

I normally sketch out a rough design or mock up and then hard line in the morning. A lot of the time I don’t send any designs out unless it’s very specific. the reason being that I simply don’t have the time. People don’t realise that being a tattoo artist means a whole day of tattooing and then a whole evening of drawing, every day! This is why I offer a free consultation to customers so we can sit down and sketch out a structure or design together and then any small changes if needed can be made on the day.

Do you consider yourself to have a style? If so, what is it and was it a conscious decision to focus on that, or did it just naturally happen?

Since owning my own studio, I have taken on a lot more work so I guess my style has become compromised but I enjoy doing traditional and Japanese work the most. I use a lot of muted colours in my work and I like to stick to a certain colour scheme.

Do you enjoy the social media side of tattooing or is it a necessary chore?

I have a love hate relationship with social media. I think a lot of people do really. I think it’s great for promotion and networking with other artists and using it for guest spots etc. I have met so many people I can call friends through social media, it has definitely opened up new paths in the industry, but, social media can also be abused and people can get too wound up in this world. In my experience I think having the most followers on Instagram doesn’t necessarily mean you are a busy, booked up tattoo artist. In fact I know a few people who are awful at social media but are amazing artists and very booked up indeed. I think a steady pace of promotion serves well but don’t let it take over your life because you can beat yourself up over it.

Do you think tattoo TV shows have been good or bad for the industry?

Hmmm….Good in the sense that it’s taking away some of the stigma that comes with tattooing and more people are open to get tattooed which means more business. Bad in the sense that tattooing is losing its luxury and becoming more of a gimmick. Also, every Tom, Dick and Harry wants to be a tattooist now but don’t realise how much work is involved. There’s a lot more to it than whats aired on TV.

Are you optimistic or pessimistic about the future of tattooing over the next 10 years or so?

Very optimistic. I think tattooing is constantly growing especially with the younger generations of people who are becoming more creative. As long as art is here, tattooing will be. Social media and technology are definitely developing in the industry and are constantly keeping tattooing relevant.

neo traditional leopard by Kristian Richards

roman soldier woman by Kristian Richards

What was the first, and the last concert/gig you went to?

My first gig was with my mum, we went to see Texas. The last gig I went to was to see New found glory. We toured together back in 2013 and became good friends. I don’t really keep up with the scene anymore so it was good to see them!

What was the song on your myspace profile?

Oh Jesus….ummmmm…Machine head – Davidian!

What was the last thing you saw at the cinema?

Split – great film. Watch it.

If you were sent back in time, would you be able to stamp on the head of little baby Hitler?

Probably not a baby no, but I’d definitely shank teenage Hitler.

Since you are coming to Birmingham, Black Sabbath, Duran Duran or Nick Drake?

Sabbath all the way!

Would you rather have a head the size of a tennis ball or the size of a watermelon?

Watermelon because you can always wear a few jumpers to bulk out the proportion.

Would you rather have sex with Megan Fox with a penis or Tom Hiddleston with a vagina?

Fox with the cocks.

You can see more of Kristian’s work on instagram.