The road to becoming a tattoo artist

Felicity Cocher works at the tattoo studio Higgins & Co, which sounds like it might be a cobblers or hardware store but isn't. http://higginsandcotattoo.co.uk  She is felicity_dixon on Instagram.

Felicity has been working at Higgins and Co for four years, initially given the mundane task of flyering for them on Eastbourne High Street where she didn't always get a good reception, though she says it was good for her as she had the chance to change people's impressions of tattoos.  Since then she has worked on the front desk.  Just after Christmas she picked up her first tattoo needle. This made her very nervous.  She was told to start on pigskin so she went to the local butchers where they had put a piece aside.  They had saved some skin but it wasn't big enough, being only the size of the palm of the hand.  So she tattooed her own leg.

Before she let me photograph her leg sporting her very first work she nipped off to find some oil.  She was determined that her work should be shown in the best possible light.  And here are the two flowers just above her ankle.  Not bad!
She went to university at Farnham and got herself a degree in illustration.  She thought the course  was terrible and not what she was hoping for.  She wanted something more practical and hands on.

While at Uni she started getting tattooed and found herself living next door to an excellent tattooist, Ben Davies. whose shop is called Spread Eagle in St Leonards on Sea.  http://www.spreadeagletattoo.com  So by the time she turned up at Higgins and Co she was slightly clued up.  They helped her and took her through everything and Felicity claims they enabled her to sound like she knew what she was talking about.

Felicity has also tattooed her fiancé, Spencer.  He became her first ever client.  Maybe it was love, but Felicity does ooze self confidence and determination.  During her three years front of desk she also spent a couple of years piercing, so she got used to the body modification thing.  This she feels helped her understand the nature of what tattooing entails,

So far she just uses Sailor Jerry designs so she is not yet thinking about placement.  The style she aspires to is to create animals and flowers.  This is what she spends her time drawing.  She also likes "Mechanical" and Japanese designs.

You can't be perfect or you would go crazy, she says.  Her clients know that as she is just starting out perfection is impossible, but her clients also know she will give her best. Her colleagues are great at calming her down.  Everyone new to this suffers from anxiety.  She is told it doesn't get better over the years as you always want to improve.  You are altering people's skins for life. It is slightly terrifying but also very exciting.  She is really looking forward to the future.

In time she will not worry about being Instagram famous, but she just wants to enjoy it.  At the beginning of her body modification she was into piercing at the age of seventeen and her mother would hide her stretchers and tapers.  She was disheartened at first but being an artist herself eventually her mother became impressed by the quality of art and design now available.  Now she loves it.  She always notices when her daughter has a new one.  Recently her husband, Felicity's stepdad, has got his first tattoo.  Felicity says there can't be one rule for him and another for the daughter.  Now her mum understands that her daughter one day will be covered head to toe.

I will watch out for Felicity, a woman on a mission.




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