Ting Thorne has been on our radar for quite some time and we now finally bring her to you as our Tattoo Artist of the Week. Ting has just opened her very own shop in Sandton and after stopping past there, we have no doubt that it is going to rock. After only tattooing professionally for the past 4 years, Ting’s style is top class and she specialises in fine lines and realism. Check out her interview and some of her work in this feature.
Hometown: Harare, Zimbabwe
Shop: Ting’s Tattoos
Years tattooing: 4 years
Tattoo style: Fine lines and realism is my thing.
Hourly tattoo rate: R750
You have just opened your own shop in Parkmore, Sandton. How long did you plan to open your own shop and now that you have done it, explain the feeling of accomplishment?
Yes I opened my own shop on the 1st of August and its going great! Busier than I’ve ever been. It’s obviously always been something I have thought about from the moment I started my apprenticeship at Iron Fist Ink about 4 and a half years ago. I always thought it would be an amazing feeling to be able to start up your own successful business, I just didn’t realise it would happen this soon in life for me. Its great! I’m loving every second of it.
Explain the style and vibe you have created in your shop?
Clean, classy but still with an old school tattoo feel. We’ve covered the walls in vintage art and tattoo imagery that inspires us.
Give us a rundown of your tattoo career that has led you up to this point?
I managed to find myself in the right place at the right time about four and a half years ago. I was busy studying fashion design when I was offered an apprenticeship at Iron Fist Ink under Thys (now the owner of Fallen Heroes). My apprenticeship lasted 2 years and I then continued to work at Iron Fist for another two years after that. Working in a busy mall has made me capable of almost anything [laughs]. The long retail hours were a bit draining but the constant swarm of people in and out the shop all day long wanting tattoos and piercings kept us busy and on top form all the time. The experience I got from working in a busy atmosphere like that is priceless. Its taught me everything I know.
“The satisfaction of taking a blank canvas and filling it with a beautiful piece of art and knowing that no one can take that away from a person”
How long did you apprentice for and how easy was the transition from drawing to actually tattooing for you?
My apprenticeship lasted two years, it wasn’t easy. If you can draw it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be able to tattoo, but it does definitely help to have an artistic background. For the first six months I had four batteries taped to the back of my clutch pencil, courtesy of Thys and Jon [laughs], and I had to draw with it all day long so I would know how heavy a machine would be in my hand. But getting certain drawing techniques on lock down first definitely helped me tattoo better for sure.
What was it like doing your first tattoo? What was it and how did it come out?
OH. MY. THUNDER. Most nerve wrecking day of my life [laughs]! The first tattoo I ever did was a swallow on a guys chest. My hands were shaking so bad. It came out alright I guess, I was critical of my own work though so if I were to see that tattoo now I would probably cover my face in shame [laughs]. But the guy loved it so that’s always important.
What’s the most important thing you have learned over the years when it comes to tattooing?
Patience. Rome wasn’t built in a day.
What style of tattoos do you specialise in?
I specialise in fine lines and realism.
What style of tattoos don’t you like doing?
I must be honest and say tribal as most artists I know are not fond of them either. They are very time consuming and not much of a challenge to us. It’s also not really what I specialise in, I would rather refer a customer to another artist who I think would be capable of doing a better job at a tribal than I would.
What is one of the weirdest requests you have every got from a client? And did you do it?
Tattoo shops attract all kinds of weird and wonderful people. We try and advise people that sometimes their ideas may not make the perfect tattoo and most of the time they will take our advice. I had an interesting gentleman come in and request that I tattoo smiley faces under each one of his toes once. No I did not do the tattoo.
What future plans do you have for your shop?
Right now it’s a secret. It’s for us to know and you guys to find out!
Where do you see your tattooing career taking you?
Well right now I’m still in awe about having my own shop this early in my career so I’m still enjoying the now. The futures not mine to see.
If you had the opportunity to guest appear at any international shop alongside an international artist. Who would it be?
It would have to be Mr Jeff Gogue himself. He is the main reason I wanted to get into tattooing.
What draws your passion for tattooing?
The satisfaction of taking a blank canvas and filling it with a beautiful piece of art and knowing that no one can take that away from a person. Its theirs for good.
How many tattoos do you plan on putting on your body?
As many as I want.
Give us the details a client would need if they would like to book a session with you?
Customers are welcome to email us with a detailed description of what they would like. Otherwise pop by the shop and have a chat in person as sometimes information gets lost over email and its normally easier for us to know what you want when you’re explaining it to us in person. But the client needs to be sure of their tattoo because forever is a long time!
Ting’s Tattoos Shop Details:
Some of Ting’s Work:
Check out some of our other tattoo artist interviews by clicking here.