My name is Alastair Thomson-Edwards. I’m a tattoo artist from Essex, I work at The Circle in London and I also tattoo in various studios in Scotland where I now live. You can find my artwork on Instagram under the name @big.tatz
Who are your biggest artistic influences? Are there any specific artists whose work inspires you?
My biggest artistic influences overall are the heavy hitters from the Italian renaissance and pre-raphaelite periods. More recently it’s been Frank Frazetta and the like. In tattooing there are simply too many to list but I’m loving Nicolas Spotti’s work a lot at the moment. (He’s @spottitattoo on Instagram).
How do you come up with new ideas and inspiration for your artwork?
Sometimes I get all my reference books out and look through everything to try and saturate my brain with as much content as possible. Other times I just sit and stare out the window and see what happens. I have a small list of prompts on the go which I update from time to time to help me if I’m feeling creatively blocked.
Tell us a bit about your approach to Final Famtasy and how you came up with your designs for the collection.
I wanted to create a very simple and bold looking design that shared roots in tattoo art and fantasy art, so I adapted an old bit of production tattoo flash that followed a fantasy theme. From there I thought about what I would want the design to look like if I was going to wear it myself, so it’s kind of a reflection of that as well.
What is your favourite medium and why?
It’s not my favourite but because my work requires fast turnaround time I use an iPad most of the time. I’d say my favourite medium is either watercolour or acrylic ink/paint. I am trying to learn to use oil paint though.
What does your typical work day look like?
If I’m tattooing, I’ll already have my design ready and will usually start tattooing at 11am. I try not to have more than 2 appointments in a day to avoid burnout. Then if I’ve got the energy or need to for an appointment the next day/soon, I’ll do some drawing in the evening. If it’s not a tattooing day but I have designs to do then I start drawing at around midday and carry on until what I’m doing feels forced. Then I stop for the day and hate everything I’ve drawn until I fall asleep.
What advice would you give to your younger self starting out as an artist?
Practice more often. Stop giving up when it gets difficult and be yourself (cringe, I know).