Lucy O’Connell is a Leeds based artist who enjoys tattooing stylised portraits and loves all things colourful and nature based. She works at Red Tattoo, Leeds, and will be visiting us here in Birmingham to tattoo on 14th & 15th October. In order to get to know her better, we sent out some questions and conducted this little interview. Enjoy!
Lucy can be contacted directly on for bookings.

heron tattoo by guest artist Lucy O'connell bird and blossom tattoo by guest artist Lucy O'connell

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

None of my family are tattooed, but my first memory is probably my mates getting tattooed when they were 16 (me being 14 at the time) and thinking I’m going to become obsessed with this. I was aware of tattoos by this point obviously but my friends were the first people I remember actually having them done.

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

In the moment my friends started getting tattooed, I got asked to design tattoos for them. Which now looking back makes me cringe. But I started drawing and doing research into the trade and thought, this is what I need to do.

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

I’ve been tattooing 4 years now (being from the moment I picked up a machine) I apprenticed for some time before that.

Do you work on an hourly rate or fixed prices?

I usually work by piece as I like to give someone a figure rather than having that sinking feeling an artists is running over and thinking oh no! I find it works for me, but I do session work based on time too.

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?

A majority of the time I have a design a couple of days before an appointment, sometimes I’ll draw pieces and kind of jigsaw it together as I go on large scale work. But I am getting into the idea of freehand work. I just like knowing where I’m at from the start of the week.



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?

I think I do have my own style, it was never on purpose it just evolved quite naturally. I never forced change in the work or decided I was going to do what I do. I couldn’t give it a definite name, lots call it neo traditional but sometimes I’m not sure it sits there.  To start with I wanted to do realism…didn’t work out. I fell in love with lines too much.

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

I think a balance of the two. I like the accessibility of social media and how I can have so much inspiration in one place. But I miss the excitement of a magazine and the formality. But I think it’s also damaging, people can become obsessed with a tattooers presence rather than the work, and not recognise good from bad.

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

I think there was a time when tattoo tv shows were a good way for people to dip their toe into good tattooing. And to know how to approach getting the tattoo they didn’t realise they could accomplish. But now I think it’s become diluted and dramatised, like anything popular. Now I’m appreciate it to just go away.

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

Can I say skeptic? I am optimistic because I think any growing artist should be. But I do think if such a large quantity of people are let into the trade at such a rare then there will be dilution in work for everyone and quality. So I think there needs to be a certain amount of foresight.

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

First gig I think was Suzi Quatro, I remember becoming obsessed with her. And the last one I went to was Deftones. Which was one of the more incredible gigs yet.

What was the song on your myspace profile?

Oh I had so many, last one I can remember was Sage Francis, broken wings.

What was the last thing you saw at the cinema?

Civil War. Was alright, more questions than answers. But not in a good way like a Coen Brothers film.

Who is your favourite artist, not including tattooists?

John Waterhouse.



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

Would I have to stamp? Could I use a less violent form of death? But if I did, there would probably be the birth of another extreme fascist. If you could guarantee there would be no other event similar then…probably.

Was Michael right to kill Fredo?

I’m afraid I’ve never seen The Godfather. That’s what Google tells me it is anyway ahha.

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

I’ll probably say Duran Duran…but that wasn’t easy.

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

Well now. I’ll go watermelon as they’re not actually that massive really are they? And I feel a tennis ball head would make communication difficult and a massive noggin wouldn’t.

Would you rather be an ugly genius or a hot moron?

I think you’d actually be happier a hot moron. But I still have to say ugly genius as that’s the more dignified answer.

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

Megan fox because I just don’t think anyone would care what she’d have going on. I think I could quite easily believe Tom does have a vagina.

How far would you go for 1 million Instagram followers?

Not very far…I wouldn’t even go to the corner shop to get them. I appreciate everyone who does follow me and like my work obviously but none of it really seems real to me.