By Lochlan Charlton



What's your name & where do you tattoo from?
Hi, I'm Shell & I tattoo from Thirteen Feet Tattoo Studio located in Circular Quay, Sydney!
How did you decide to pursue a career as a Tattoo Artist?Initially, I never thought that being a tattoo artist was even an option for me. I had always been drawn to tattoos at a young age and I used to ask my mum to buy tattoo magazines for me. I grew up knowing that I wanted to be a tattoo collector more than being an artist. During the 4 years I was studying at uni, I decided to travel to London on my own to explore the industry, get tattooed by some of my favourite artists, and visit shops that I had read about. During that trip, I met some amazing artists, made new friends and once I came back to Sydney, that’s when I decided that this was the industry I wanted to be a part of for the rest of my life. 

What are some of your favourite tattoo styles or techniques to work on?I will always be drawn to American traditional and Japanese tattooing. It stands the test of time and there is so much rich history that it carries.

Can you share a memorable tattooing experience from your apprenticeship?Being a part of the first ever Sydney Tattoo Convention would be the most memorable week of not just my apprenticeship, but my life. I got to get tattooed by the powerhouses, Freddy Corbin, Eddy Deutsche, and Chad Koeplinger, and meet other amazing artists that I’ve admired for years.

Who or what inspires your tattoo designs and artwork?I’m mostly inspired by dark and grim imagery; I like to put that kind of twist into my artwork. I also love to intertwine my interest in pop culture into my flash. It’s a lot of fun using films, music, and video game references and turning them into a traditional/Japanese inspired tattoo.

What advice would you give to someone considering their first tattoo?Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Getting your first tattoo, booking an appointment or walking into a shop for the first time can be quite intimidating. It’s easy to just stay quiet when you’re nervous. I always welcome clients to ask questions, whether it’s before, during, or after the tattoo. It’s important to communicate so you feel comfortable in the hands of the artist and environment. 

Are there any tattoo artists or mentors who have influenced your style or journey?I’m heavily influenced by Paul Dobleman and Justin Weatherholtz. Both of these artists have their own approach to traditional and Japanese tattooing and their work is instantly recognisable which is what I aspire to be like one day. 

Similarly, to my mentor, Todd Bailey, he’s got his own “edge” to tattooing which he encourages me to find in myself. Todd has always taught me to have a “Yes we can” attitude, to push myself out of my comfort zone and I’m grateful for all the opportunities I’ve been given working with him.

Can you tell us about a challenging tattoo project you’ve worked on and how you overcame it?My first full torso piece and sleeve were my most challenging. I was only a few months into my apprenticeship so having someone trust me with a large portion of their body was huge. I got advice from my mentor and colleagues; they all told me to plan ahead and draw a couple of variations to see what flows best. That being said, anyone who comes to me to get a whole limb is always a challenge, but I learn something new every time.

What are your future aspirations or goals as a tattoo artist?My goal is the same as it was before I started tattooing; to get tattooed by my favourite artists around the world, only this time I would also love to tattoo alongside them and guest at my favourite shops.

Lastly, as someone passionate about tattooing, could you share your thoughts on Dr. Pickles Tattoo Aftercare products?Dr Pickles has such a wide range of products that is perfect for during and after getting the tattoo. Not to mention, it's cruelty-free! We love a company that doesn’t test on animals.

And Which Product is your favourite!My favourite Dr. Pickles product is the antibacterial foam wash. I have incredibly sensitive skin that swells and scars very easily, I found using this during my healing process allows my skin to stay clean without drying out like crazy and soothes my swelling instantly. 

Where can we find you? @shelltattoos@thirteenfeettattoo