We headed down to Cloak and Dagger Tattoo just off Brick Lane, East London to meet resident artist Hugh Sheldon. We just love his bold use of colour & traditional style. 

When and how did you get into tattooing? 

I started my apprenticeship in 2011 at No Regrets Cheltenham. After finishing my degree in illustration in Bristol the year before where I focused my energy on producing a portfolio aimed at getting an apprenticeship. I moved home shortly after finishing to reduce my living expenses in order to pursue an apprenticeship and career in tattooing. Cheltenham at the time was also where I first became exposed to tattoos and got my first tattoo from the amazing tattooist Sam Ricketts, an experience and introduction I will forever be grateful for. I spent the next two years as the front of house guy learning the in’s and outs of how a tattoo shop runs ,cleaning, taking bookings and learning how to sterilise equipment whilst in the evenings beginning to learn the basics of setting up a machine and tattooing things like grapefruit and fake skin until I was ready to move on to the real thing.

Are there any artists past or present that you take inspirations from and why? 

There are many different artists and source material I take inspiration from, in particular I'm attracted to old folk art or outsider art. I also love old tattoo flash both American and European, Ed Hardy, Bob Roberts, Ron Ackers, Roy Proudlove and Cecil Rhodes to name a few. 

What’s the hardest thing to deal with in the industry? 

I wouldn't say after the year we have all just had that there is anything i could complain about in the industry. I feel now more than ever that I owe everything to tattooing and the lifestyle it has given me. I love what I do and feel blessed for it and am forever grateful to all those that get tattooed by me and continue to support my work in the many ways they do. 

Tell us something in your personal or professional life that will blow our minds

I was once a fishmonger!

The best place you have ever been too and why? 

In 2019 I went on the trip of a lifetime with my girlfriend traveling through India, Nepal and up into the Himalayas where we trekked. For me Nepal was one of the most amazing places I've ever been, the Art, Culture and people are mind blowingly amazing let alone the unbelievable scenery. I remember clearly a day I spent watching these guys restore wood carvings on damaged temples in Durbar square from the earthquake in Patan and was utterly amazed by their craft and skill to produce such beautiful things. 

More images below from Danny Woodstock Photographer   

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