Owner and Tattoo Artist
In March 2014 Oz reached his 30th anniversary of professional tattooing. He started out tattooing as an apprentice under Wally Willetts of Cradley Heath in the Black Country, who taught him the secrets of the trade, including how to make his own needles, which was a necessary skill back in those days. Oz's interest in tattoos started at a very young age. At 16 he got his first tattoo from Dennis Cockell at Ten the Butts, Worcestershire. He continued to get tattooed by Dennis, who inspired him enormously, over a number of years. Oz went on to open his own studio in Rubery, Birmingham, called Oz Dermagraphics in March 1984. Oz called his studio this as he had to make out he was an artist to his landlord. Back then tattooing was frowned up on that much that there was not a chance that anybody would rent their premises out to a tattooist. When he first opened his studio, Oz spent many a time visiting Micky Sharpz, watching him tattoo and gaining vast knowledge from one of the all time greats. He would also visit Tony the Ted if he was in need of advice, another big name amongst the old timers. Tattooing in those days you had to be in the circle and know the right people. It was a secret world. WIthout the contacts you wouldn't learn anything and you wouldn't be able to get your hands on the equipment you needed. Oz sourced his machines from good friend Micky Bee. Times were tough in the beginning and Oz had to survive through a number of recessions and the AIDs scare in the 80s, when the government sent out flyers to every household in the country detailing that one of the main ways of transmitting AIDS was through getting tattooed (we all know now that this isn't the case if we source a good hygienic studio, where equipment is sterile and needles are single use). Several years on Oz sold his studio in Rubery to John Foster and went to work with Bob Moore at Mantra Tattoo Studio, Cheltenham. A few years later he moved to Stoke-on-Trent, where he resides now. His first studio in Stoke was called the Ink Spot. Four years on, in 1999, the building he rented was sold on to be a nightclub so Oz moved to a bigger premises and named his new studio Tribal Images. Business was booming and over the next few years Oz opened further studios in the Staffordshire area, two of which he still owns. Over the years Oz has won a cabinet full of awards, has made an appearance on MTV's Headbanger Ball and organised the successful Creation Tattoo and Custom Bike Show, in Stoke-on-Trent, for 3 consecutive years. To this day, Oz still visits good friends for inspiration, including Kev Shercliff of Cannock and John Treharne of Cardiff (both also machine builders).
Oz's preferred styles are black and grey, various tribal styles including polynesian and maori, blackwork and portraits. He also enjoys the challenge of large coverups.
Tattoo Artist and Manager
Kirsty had a love for art from the age of being able to hold a crayon in her hand. Growing up she developed a strong interest in tattoos. At 15 she got her first tattoo and by the age of 18 she already had 5 (something she strongly advices against as she soon regretted them and has since had all 5 of them covered). After studying Art and Design at college, and part way through studying Computer Science and Psychology at Keele University, she decided to chase her dream of becoming a tattooist. At the beginning of 2009, she landed herself an apprenticeship-like placement, learning the basics of tattooing, from a small studio local to her home. After a few months she decided that this studio wasn't for her and moved to Tribal Images as a junior artist in summer 2009. In the mean time she graduated from Keele but had already decided that tattooing was the career path she wanted to follow. She continued to develop her skills at Tribal Images, under the guidance of Oz, now her husband. He has supported her throughout her career and has shared his 30 years of knowledge and experience with her. She has worked at numerous conventions and guest spots in Europe and has picked up seven awards along the way. Kirsty enjoys a number of styles including dotwork, custom and chicano script, geometric work and traditonal. Alongside tattooing Kirsty runs her own clothing label, Vagrant to Royalty, for which she does the majority of the design and illustration work. Check out Vagrant to Royalty here.
Rob is a self-taught artist. He started tattooing in the summer of 1994. In the beginning he tattooed part time and often worked on weekends at motorcycle rallies across the midlands. After six years of tattooing, in the year 2000, Rob came to work for Tribal Images. He was initially based at the Newcastle studio, which he managed, when the studio was located at the smaller premises on Bridge Street. Over the years he has worked from both the Hanley studio and the Newcastle studio. He has also worked at a number of tattoo conventions, where he has picked up awards for his work, including awards for backpieces. In 2014, Rob celebrated his 20th anniversary of tattooing, meaning that he is one of the most experienced artists in Staffordshire. Rob's preferred styles are black and grey, tibetan, traditional japanese (colour also) and other oriental styles. In his spare time Rob enjoys painting in both oils and acrylics. He likes to paint oriental and spiritual pieces, as well as abstract and surreal works.