“for me this no higher honour as an artist to be asked to create something custom that’s going to be there for life"
We headed to Six Bullets Tattoo, North London to meet tattoo artist Tom Farrow, Tom has become a well known figure on the circuit for producing some of the finest Black and Grey Horror and dark art depicted portraits. If you're a fan of this genre or not you cannot help but admire the execution of this mans work.
So who is Tom Farrow? When and how did you get into tattooing?
I started tattooing around 11 years ago I was a graffiti artist before I was a tattoo artist . I took my black book / sketchbook wherever I went with me and one day while at work one of my colleagues said that there was a studio in my local town offering apprenticeships . I took my drawings and sketches down there on my lunch break managed to get an offer of a one week trial went back and quit my job at the time ( call centre ) on the spot and never looked back. 11 years later I’m still going so it was right decision for sure . Hardest three years of my life but looking back now it was awesome to just be in a creative environment I’ll always be thankful to that studio for giving me an opportunity to get into the industry.
Tell us what you love about your job and the tattoo community at large?
What I love about my job is being able to create something permanent for a client for me this no higher honour as an artist to be asked to create something custom that’s going to be there for life . It’s a personal journey for each client and it’s a different experience for both me and them every time. The industry for me although it has changed a tonne in the last ten years I love the diversity of it I remember going to the early London tattoo conventions with my dad in my teens and just loving how you get all walks of life all interested in that one thing . I’ve never really lost that to this day it’s still amazing to see . It’s a hard industry to crack but once you’re in you soon realise we have pretty similar views despite how different we all are at the same time .
Your art is heavily based around horror/dark portraits I think it’s fair to say. What drew you to this specific genre?
Ah man I just love horror I’ve always loved horror films from my teens don’t get me wrong not everyone loves to get a zombie tattooed but 9 times out of ten when I’m tattooing a horror piece the clients into that genre themselves and we can always come up with something super creepy and have the woah impact . And to be honest they just look awesome !
What is your advice to young tattooers looking to find their style and place in the industry? What do you think about the ever growing community now, shunning the traditional apprenticeship and learning on their own?
My one thing would be to take your time and learn learn learn . It took me around 6 years to really start focusing in on a style before that I took anything that came through the door to be able to just learn as much as I could . I think most artists that do want to focus on one style can point out one or two tattoos that made them go … yup that’s what I’m doing from now on and then stick to it . Don’t get me wrong nowadays with how far everything has come along it’s a tonne easier to progress quicker than back when I did my apprenticeship but I still believe that taking your time is key . Play the long game For me I know of world renowned artists that taught themselves I think it comes down to what generation of tattoo artists you come From . The new tattoo artists have much more information at the tip of their fingers and the best machines etc it wasn’t like that ten years ago I do a feel a traditional apprenticeship instils loyalty and dedication to the industry itself but hey if you’re one of these artists that taught themselves and don’t skip the important steps and are putting out technically good work then I don’t see the issue as long as they don’t put shade on people that still agree with the traditional style .
Do you take any inspiration from any other artists past or present?
Oh man bloody loads one of my favourite artists is Filip leu even now his early stuff is just crazy good I’ll always admire him . Black and grey wise Yarson tattoo is one of my favourites along with Ryan evans I learnt so much from both of them and I still see them pushing black and grey to new places. The Artists h.r giger will forever be king for me.
Here at The Hobo Journal we LOVE to travel - hence the name, Where is the best place you have ever been and why?
Without a doubt it’s Venice, I worked the convention there before covid hit with my friend Tom Pettuco he grew up there and we had a right old adventure that trip. It’s the only place I’ve ever been that made me feel like I was on another world .
More images below from Danny Woodstock Photographer