Interview with Sammy Harding

Hey Sam, thanks so much for agreeing to share some thoughts with us.

To start things off, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I started tattooing almost 2 years ago. It was something that I always wanted to do, so when I finally had the opportunity to start an apprenticeship, I jumped at it.

Why base yourself in the South West?

The South West is my home and fortunately it isn’t as saturated as a lot of other places in terms of other artists and studios – also the artist I wanted to apprentice with was based here so it all came together and made sense.

What interests do you have outside of the studio?

Before I was a tattooer I was a photographer, so when I have the opportunity to shoot I do, besides that I am always painting and trying to stay productive.

When did you first decide to get tattooed and what was your first tattoo?

When I was 18, it was 2 blue roses with a scroll reading “When Forever Comes Crashing”, a song and album title from my favourite band at the time, still love the tattoo 10 years on, it was done by James Kiley.

What’s the main influences behind your work?

American traditional primarily, I love the staple legendary traditional artists like Ben Corday and Cap Coleman but then also love the weirdness and originality of artists like Dave Lum and Dan Higgs.

What’s your favorite style to do on clients and why?

Always traditional, if their ideas have a bit of a pop culture or scenic element thrown in then that’s exciting for me.

What were you doing before you decided to become a tattoo artist?

Working as a photographer in London, it’s still a huge part of me but tattooing and painting in general will always be where my main creative interests lie.

What is the strangest tattoo you have ever done?

I’ve tattooed a lot of weird and wonderful pieces, I tattooed a sex toy on a girl once which was a laugh and a panther dressed as a stripper on a friend.

What does tattooing mean to you?

It’s my main passion and my career, it means a hell of a lot and I am really fortunate in that respect.

If you’d like to see more of Sam’s work, please follow him here