Cat Allen is an award winning tattoo artist and part of the Yayo team. She’s enjoying being back at work, after UK lockdown restrictions eased allowing tattooists to reopen. Yayo resident blog writer Matt Haddon-Reichardt met up with Cat online, to conduct a virtual interview and talk tattoos, sexism in the industry and surviving Covid-19.
Cat is an award winning tattooist & co-owner of The Vault in Looe, Cornwall. She has a distinct, eye catching style and is just as comfortable in the realms of colour as she is in the world of black and grey. She is also a big fan of Yayo products. I kicked off the interview by asking her what makes Yayo so good.
“I discovered Yayo products probably around 5 years ago I reckon. It was back when they only had the solidifier and the aftercare was called Sigma! As far as I can remember I received a sample or got some for personal use to begin with but found it that good that I started recommending it to my clients and fellow artists. I’ve been sponsored by them for around 4 years and have used their products exclusively since. I still always try new products that come out but nothing has ever come close to being as good as Yayo. I predominately use the Prime for during the tattoo process, along with the Candy Stencil Solution and Fresh Tattoo Soap. The Prime along with Yayo Guard gives one of the most impressive heals on a tattoo I’ve ever experienced.”
"I firstly started tattooing a few mates. I know; naughty, naughty!"
I always find it fascinating tracing the roots of an artist’s passion for tattooing.
“I kind of fell into it really from just having a love of art and being part of a more alternative community of people and seeing lots of folk with tattoos. I firstly started tattooing a few mates. I know; naughty, naughty! But soon got offered a job at a studio local to me. Having no knowledge of the industry at the time I jumped straight in and just tried to learn as much as I could myself. I eventually ended up working in better studios, meeting some great people and fine tuning everything I’d learned along the way. I wouldn’t necessarily say I had a set style of tattooing, I definitely pride myself on being able to do justice to most styles, I think this came from working in predominantly flash shops for a few years and having to do whatever came through the door. Although I really enjoy super bright colour cartoon and Manga style stuff along with black and grey realism. I really love everything about tattooing. I enjoy the freedom that a lot of my clients give me when it comes to creating pieces for them and love meeting new and interesting people on a daily basis, I think as a job it’s pretty much the full package.”
Covid-19 has turned tattooing upside down. I ask how Cat has coped during lockdown.
“It was definitely a bit of a shock to the system, especially financially as we moved house right at the beginning! So as big a nightmare as it was, every cloud has a silver lining and it meant we had time to decorate the whole house and do some decking. I also enjoyed having the beach to myself and spending quality time with friends which we wouldn’t normally have. Tattooing can definitely survive this, tattooing has become such a normal part of everyone’s lives. I can’t see it going anywhere anytime soon; people get them more often than having their hair cut these days!”
"I did a little but I actually enjoyed having a bit of a break away from it."
While many artists have used lockdown to indulge in other artistic endeavours Cat has turned her hand to a different kind if creativity.
“If you count painting walls with tons of emulsion then yeah I’ve been kept busy being creative! to be honest I did a little but I actually enjoyed having a bit of a break away from it as I’ve found it’s spurred my creativity and want to get back to it.”
When I first started writing for the tattoo industry, over 8 years ago, sexism was a big problem for female tattooists. I ask if in 2020 Cat still feels it’s an issue.
“I suppose it does have a history of being a predominantly male run industry, but that’s definitely not the case anymore. I can’t say I’ve ever experienced any sexism but I’ve mainly worked for good and respected people so I’ve been lucky. Some of the best tattooists in the world are now women so I think we’re well past all that now.”
"I’m super booked up at the moment so just gonna make the most of it and try not to burn out!"
I finish off by asking if Cat has any plans now she is back working and if there is anything she is super desperate to tattoo.
“To be honest I’m just gonna get used to being back in the grind for a bit, I’m super booked up at the moment so just gonna make the most of it and try not to burn out! I’m definitely enjoying being back and won’t be moaning about work for a long time I can be sure of that! I’ve got lots of plans for next year and hopefully a good bit of travel on the cards, I’ve definitely missed conventions more that I thought I would. It’s always awesome meeting other artists and making new friends and definitely gives you a massive artistic push when you get home.”
A final thought from the author: "The gears are turning and tattooing is once again picking up momentum. Its great to see so much talent giving it 100% and the orders are pouring into Yayo HQ in Sheffield, as the trucks line up to ship out the worlds finest tattoo aftercare range. Remember when you're tattooing to get the best results use the best products on the market; use Yayo!"
Yayo, be part of the family!