Crooked Claw Tattoo on Ecclesall Road has recently welcomed a new tattoo artist to the fold. We sat down for a chinwag with Rob Wilden to find out more about his tattooing style and how he’s finding life in Sheff-town.
You recently moved up to Sheffield from London, what inspired the move?
As mad as it sounds, I couldn’t say that I was inspired by anything so perhaps it was divine intervention that brought me here. I was in a very dark place, totally at odds with the world and lost in myself. A chance encounter with someone saved me from that and then another chance encounter along with some signs from the universe set me on a journey that landed me here. I am so grateful to be here and to be how I am now, it’s taken a lot of inner strength and hard work.
Is the tattoo scene up North much different from down South?
To be honest I don’t feel like I’ve been here long enough to compare the Northern and Southern scenes. I was working down South for many years and have only been up here for a short amount of time. My lifestyle up here is also very different so it’s all new and every day is fresh, I’m really enjoying it.
How would you describe your style?
I would say my natural style is definitely based within the structure and ideals of Traditional tattooing – solid bold lines and a decent amount of black to balance the design. I love the idea (and try to be conscious of this whenever I draw a new design) of my tattoos staying true to the concept of ‘clean lines, loose designs’. I try to give my designs character and intelligence. I’d say that I’m competent in a number of styles, but I do like to blur the genres to keep things interesting. I just want people to be happy with the tattoos they wear from me. I get so excited to get tattooed from people whose art work I like and I would love to do the same for people who get tattooed by me. I feel it should be a cool and memorable experience for both me and the customer.
Is there a tattoo that you’ve done on someone that sticks in your brain as your favourite?
That is so hard, I’m going to have to say there are two. First one was a neon portrait of Ryan Gosling from the film Drive. I love that film and I was so chuffed with the result. It was structured around a bright, pastel colour pallet but was built so differently to a lot of the tattoos I’ve done before. It was fun to get wild on that tattoo. Second was a green demon hand holding a mushroom. I love those themes, I love tattooing mushrooms and I love spooky 90s style ideas so that was a dream combination for me. I was in heaven making that tattoo, haha.
Check out Rob’s work on Instagram @deathsure @crookedclawtattoo
Interview by Erin Lawlor