Union Tattoo Wellington

January 5th, 2016 - leave a comment

Well after nearly a decade working my craft applying art to peoples skin, i have finally opened the doors to my own place with my wife India. Union Tattoo is located at 311 Willis Street, Wellington, New Zealand. It’s a light and airy space with heaps of natural light, we have mixed the old with the new keeping some of the old timey decorations and elements we have collected over the years and mixed them with the modern fit out and decor of the studio fit out, its a space we are very proud of, and we look forward to meeting and tattooing you all there! check out the website www.uniontattoo.co.nz

leave a comment

Ice bucket challenge Re-Challenged

August 25th, 2014 - leave a comment

I bet most of you won’t even read this full status.
Why throwing ice over yourself is stupid.

Ok i have been nominated for the ice bucket challenge a couple of times now, but i’m not doing it and here are my reasons, i have donated over $1000 to charity’s of my own choice this year, we did a tattoo event for movember and raised $750 for cancer research Nz, and i have given over $300 to the spca wellington, both charity’s i think are good causes. Now at the tattoo charity event apart from people getting tattooed no one donated money to our fundraising efforts, yet somehow throwing cold water over yourself and donated $2 makes you a caring person? that’s about as much good a pissing in the ocean, its sad this social media generation can’t take more then 5 minutes out of their selfish busy lives and do more good for charity’s and worthwhile causes, it could start close to home, volunteering for an afternoon, maybe giving $10-$20 a month to a charity you really think deserves it?

At the end of the day, your trying to show the world your a good person, that you care, but most people are selfish, ego maniacs, bred by social media, where making “friends” and getting “likes” is more important than real life, i don’t give a shit how many “likes” your ice bucket challenge video got, to most of you that’s more important than the “amazingly generous” $2 you donated on the internet to a charity you only just heard about. I get the point, the ice bucket challenge is doing a good job of raising awareness for a good cause, but my point is, we should all be giving a little to charity’s and doing what we can, we don’t need to be told.

I tattooed all afternoon for free, the money went to charity, why don’t you do the same?? Go to work for an afternoon and donate that afternoons pay to charity? don’t post it on social media, just do it, and feel good about yourself.

so if you have the balls, get out there and make a real difference, I CHALLENGE YOU!

please repost and share this status

leave a comment

Watercolour paintin process

January 22nd, 2014 - leave a comment

The most emails i get are from people asking about my paintings and flash sheets, i have a few blogs on here explaining my process and how i personally do things, i thought this video may be useful to show the process from start to finish.

speed painting from craigy lee on Vimeo.

leave a comment

layout and starting a painting

August 31st, 2012 - leave a comment

I was going to do a start to finish post, but i got carried away and enjoyed doing the picture so much that i forgot to take pictures all the way through, so it will just cover the beginning.

I always used a rough/textured 300gsm watercolour paper for all my paintings, i use faber castell pens because they don’t run when you put the ink on top of them and i use ecoline watercolour inks.

I use sepia tone pens black and i also use the grey colours for lining the hair. I also use three thickness of pens fine, medium and brush pen.

I have used ecolines for a good few years now, the are really bright and blend together really smoothly,bright paint is important if you are going to get copies made as it means your copies should come out really bright aswell. ecolines are available in most art shops though the ph martins are normally easier to come across and are just as good.

start with a sketch, i make my sketch in pencil on normal paper, then i go over it in pen to define it,i sketch it with a light pencil, this one i sketched in orange, then once i had it down i went over in pen.

Then i retrace it and do the layout and background, sometimes i do it on tracing paper sometimes i just do it on normal paper on a lightbox, here i did it on two sheets of regular a4 paper stuck together.

once the layout and the design are good, i trace the image onto watercolour paper, as said before i personally like rough textured paper and least 300gsm thicker paper is better for inks, as it soaks them up.

you are then ready to start your painting, i start with my coffee wash then paint over the top of it.

leave a comment

supporting artists

July 27th, 2012 One gratefully received comment

supporting up and coming artists and independent  ideas and art is not just buying a physical “thing” yes the reason you bought that piece or art, song or book was because you liked it but deep down you are buying so much more then that.

you are buying years of study and hours of experimentation, you are buying hundreds of failures, scrapped ideas and binned pieces of paper, you are buying frustration, worry and sleepless nights. Aswell as joy and the rush of success. you are buying a moment in time a piece of someone heart.  Most importantly you are supporting that artist so they can carry on doing what they love and continue to producing work that you and others enjoy.

Artist have rent, and bills to pay, they have familys and food to put on the table, clothes and shoes to put on their feet just like you.

One gratefully received comment

Reference Material

May 22nd, 2012 One gratefully received comment

One of THE most important things to have when you are drawing or painting is good reference material and i don’t mean pictures of tattoos that other people have done i mean pictures or actual “real” things you are drawing.

Today i visited the Mucha museum in Prague, now Alphonse Mucha is well know for his art nouveau posters and advertisements from the beginning of the century, however visiting his museum they also had a large collection of his paintings and portrait work.

also on display was a collection of pencil sketch’s he made in preperation in planning layout and compostion, aswell as a display of photographs he made to use as reference for his famous Art Nouveau women. he had indeed gone to great lengths to find models that had a certain look that he wanted to capture, we dressed them in gowns and draped cloaks around them and lit them the way he wanted then took photos to work from.

in this day and age its even easier to get good photo reference with cheap digital cameras and photo programmes on your computer to change contrast and even lighting most of us have no excuse not to be able to get the reference we need.

similiarly with the internet you no longer need a personal library of books on flowers animals and whatnot to use to draw from, everything is available to you at your fingers.

Not everyone is as gifted as Mucha but im sure most of you can do a lot more to try and be origonal?

One gratefully received comment

Burning out

May 7th, 2012 One gratefully received comment

I would like to take the time to say thanks to everyone who reads my blog and message me etc letting me know it has helped them or they learnt something from it.

I am still traveling a lot and still writing for tattoo magazines and upcoming tattoo books and projects, this all means that i unfortunately do not have as much time to write blogs as i would like, so from now on i will mostly be posting blogs relating to tattooing or painting, for those who make the effort to seek it out.

I am fed up with the tattoo industry in the Uk right now, certain individuals have problems with other individuals and think they should drag everybody into it, bullying and black mailing them, if there is a problem it is between certain individuals and not the whole tattoo industry. telling people if they work certain tattoo conventions they cannot work other ones is bullshit and school yard bullying. over the past few months i have met and talked with a lot of internationally recognised artists scared of working certain shows because of things they have been told by other partys. Artists just want to work shows, tattoo, hang out and have fun.

therefore i shall not be posting anymore of my thoughts on the industry, i shall be watching from afar, keeping my head down and working my hands to the bone like i always do. I will work the shows i want to work in the cities i want to work in and hanging out with artists and friends who are only interested in tattooing and making art and nothing else!

One gratefully received comment

the apocalypse is coming!

February 14th, 2012 - leave a comment

Would you join a band who needed a guitar player if you couldn’t play guitar?

Would you apply for a doctors position with no medical degree?

How about flying a plane? You have a driving license so why not fly a plane?

Now all of these things are fucking ridiculous, so why are people buying tattoo machines from ebay, getting their mates over and tattooing them. Why are people opening tattoo studios who have never tattooed or had any interest in tattooing apart from now they have realised they can make some fast cash from it, these people are the reason tattooing is going down the pan, they open a shop and get some artists in who are desperate for work, second rate artists, foreign artists and artists who have only been tattooing six months. Then they get an apprentice, six months down the line the apprentice thinks they know it all and is also sick of getting treated like shit so they leave and open their own studio, then they get an apprentice of their very own, who they in turn treat like crap and so the cycle continues.

These shops operate because the general public are stupid morons who know nothing about tattooing and would happily pay £20 for a shit tattoo because it’s a bargain and their mates all tell them its amazing.

The same people who buy a dvd player from asda for £10 and then buy one every six months because they keep breaking, when they could have just bought an £80 one that would have lasted for many years. While the country remains to be full of retards with the IQ of a turkey twizzler tattooing will continue to go down the pan, while the people we all hate carry on raping its lifeless corpse.

There are no ethics, no honour and certainly no respect, if I turn away a nineteen year old because I won’t tattoo his neck I know he will go get it tattooed somewhere else, because there is some other artist desperate enough to need the cash.

The tattoo apocalypse is coming, some shall remain but by god yo will have to jump through hoops to stay, the weak willed will fall as will the talentless chancers and scrathers, we will lose old timers and great artists, but tattooing will carry on as long as people are on earth.

leave a comment


February 4th, 2012 - leave a comment

Over the past year and a bit there has been a lot of what I call “politics” within the uk tattoo industry, negative hate mail posted on facebook, forums and websites about skin deep magazine and the conventions it is involved with. After a year and a half travelling working in Australia and New Zealand it is saddening to see all this going on as I didn’t experience any of this abroad, maybe its just a British thing to be bitchy and bad mouth other people within the industry you work. But the tattoo industry in the uk is in a terrible state, which I think is a lot to do with small mindedness and small town syndrome, people need to get out and see the bigger picture.

Most of the people posting this are hypocrites and I will tell you why.

These tattoo magazine’s and conventions put out tattoo talent to a huge audience, they also promote upcoming talent and introduce people to artists from all over the world they may not have heard of before, for the most part they are promoting tattooing in a positive light.

Most of the people bitching about it have been featured in the magazine and worked their conventions, in fact it was skin deep and tattoo jam where I discovered a lot of these artists myself, it appears they are happy to lay in bed with the devil when it suits them, and then once they have got what they want out of it they turn their back on it and call it a whore!

Some of their arguments are “these people only make money from tattooing” well what do you do apart from make money out of tattooing? Ok you sit in a shop and tattoo but what do you actually put back into the industry? These conventions and magazines are constantly promoting artists both established and up and coming. And its not as if they have just popped after the boom tattooing has seen in recent years, this magazine has been around for sixteen years.

You make money from tattooing to live and eat so do they.

Most of these people buy their tattoo supplies from company’s that have nothing to do with tattooing, they are not tattoo artists themselves, all they do is make money from tattooing? Yet their happy to support them by buying supplies and equipment from them.

Most of the tattoo conventions in the UK are not organised by tattoo artists? In fact most of the biggest tattoo shows in the world are not organised by tattoo artists.

There are also a lot of tattoo shops out there owned and operated by people who do not tattoo, and this is a problem you can fix, if they didn’t have artists to work for them they couldn’t stay in buisness.

This is exactly how I see it, and sadly there will always be people who want to destroy the success of others. This is not hate mail towards anybody and I am certainly not taking any sides I think people just need to get some perspective, even if you are against skin deep and their conventions if they were not doing it somebody else would be.

Also I would like to add something about the new “great British” convention, which people see as being in direct competition with the London convention. Firstly London is a huge city, seven million people live there, a country like New Zealand has four million people living in the whole country yet they have three conventions there a year, and they all do well. Secondly London is a very well established convention, which has the best artists from all over the world working it, it is quite literally the cream of the crop and has a three year waiting list for booths, it is a prestigious event that most tattoo artists in the UK cannot work, not because their not good enough, but because they are not a big enough name. It is a goal many of us strive to achieve, working this show means you are in the very small top percentage of the artists in the world. The “great British tattoo show” is giving those other artists a chance to work a show in the greatest city in the world.

Some of you may well be reading this now and thinking “well you are bias as you write for skin deep magazine” well let me tell you this, i “contribute” to the magazine, I do not get paid for my article, I am a freelance writer and have no allegiance to anybody. However for the past year I have spent my time (and money) visiting tattoo studios across Australia, New Zealand and given them some exposure and introducing them to a new audience, people who work hard within their craft putting out great tattoos deserve some recognition. I do this because these people’s work deserve to be seen, I do this because I feel it’s my way of giving something back to the industry I make a living from and I do this because I love tattooing.

people know my views, i have always been straight up with everybody and never tried to hide anything.

Seek out the truth, read the facts from both sides and make up your own mind, because there are far to many people who want to make it up for you.

leave a comment

Living on the road

January 18th, 2012 - leave a comment

Its been soooo long since i have posted I apologies to anyone who reads my blog,

As you probably know I have been travelling a lot so haven’t really been on top of things like my website and certainly haven’t had time to write any blogs. Also i am still writing a monthly article for skin deep magazine which is around 1000 words a month so that pretty much eats up my writing time. I hit the road in october 2010 and i am still travelling, so far most places i have tattooed and visited have been very enjoyable. I am back in england for two months and then i will be heading over to mainland eruope to work a bunch of conventions and guestspots.

People always tell me how they couldn’t travel for so long, but for me the positive aspects of travelling to work far outweigh the negative, I have become a lot less materialistic as everything i own has to fit in one back, I constantly have new inspiration around me for tattooing and am constantly working and watching new artists learning and keeping my skills growing. my eyes have been opened to new cultures, religions and customs which i have embraced and try to take part in when i can. Returning to england i am now realising how small minded some people and certain religions are, how unaccepting and disrespectful they are of the world in general and what has come before. I have always hated people telling me whats right and wrong and when the people telling you haven’t even experienced anything else you realised how messed up views and religions are in this country, and i feel sorry for those people.

keep your mind open, embrace new culture, shut up listen, watch and learn from it.

leave a comment

« Older Entries