Sarah Legh-Jones is a tattoo artist working out of Blue Blood Custom Tattoos, in Ottawa, Ontario Canada. While you’ll find out below that she does amazing animal portraits, and black and grey tattoos, she is an amazing artist that can do anything thrown at her, (she did one of my favourite pieces on me). If you are looking for a remarkable piece from a highly skilled artist I highly suggest that you go see Sarah at Blue Blood Custom Tattoos.
1. Why did you become a tattoo artist?
When I was little, I always told people I wanted to be an artist and a veterinarian when I grew up. I was actually a veterinary technician for several years prior to becoming a tattoo artist. It was really intense, meaningful work and I loved doing it. Eventually though I did need a break from it, and I wanted to look into another line of work that I could feel equally passionate about. My art up until that point had been very casual - just a few commissioned pet portraits here and there. I wasn't sure about how to really go about making art a career, and it was my wife who actually suggested tattooing. I knew next to nothing about the industry or the medium - it was a very difficult journey that requires an insane amount of work and practice, but it's turned out for the best! I'm very happy where I am now, and I'm very lucky to have a second career that I love. I miss working with animals quite a bit, but for the last year or so I've been volunteering with the cats at the Ottawa Humane Society, and that helps a lot.
2. Who are your favourite Artists?
I was tutored by a wildlife artist when I was in my early teens (Terrence Andrews) who was a tremendous influence on me. He did incredibly detailed realistic wildlife paintings in watercolour, which is an extremely unforgiving medium to begin with, so I have a lot of respect for his patience and attention to detail - very similar to Robert Bateman's animal realism. When it comes to tattooing, James Tex, Dan Fletcher and Teresa Sharpe have been very inspiring. They do incredible illustrative work. I think by far the most influential tattoo artist for me has been Guy Aitchison. I recommend his book "Reinventing the Tattoo" to any aspiring artist in any medium.
3. What do you feel most proud of?
I love to tattoo animals and I definitely feel like my realistic black and grey animals are my strongest pieces. Of all of them I'd say the big cats and lions are likely my favourites to do. Pet portraits as well. I feel a special connection with animals, cats in particular, and I like to bring them to life in both tattoos and paintings.
4. How do you spend your free time?
The job demands quite a bit of my free time, but keeping a good balance between work and my personal life is very important to me. I love to spend time with my wife, she's my rock and my best friend. We're both complete sci-fi geeks and beer enthusiasts, so there's quite a bit of video-gaming and beer brewing, and just hanging out on our little country home with our numerous pets. I paint my own art as well, using mostly acrylic and airbrush on large wood-board canvases. I'm hoping to have enough pieces that I could do a show in the next year or two.
5. If you could keep five possessions what would they be?
An old wooden clock my grandfather used to own, my old basketball, my wedding ring, a moldavite crystal, and the most recent 'Battlestar Galactica' series.
6. What is your favourite style of tattoo to do?
Realistic black and grey animals for sure, but I like the occasional illustrative or cartoony piece too - especially the silly ones! Having a specialization and being known for a certain style is good for the career, but being versatile helps me grow as an artist, so I try to keep an open mind.
7. What are you most afraid of?
Tent-caterpillars. They're creepy when there are so many!!
8. What inspires you?
I find epic fantasy music really inspirational, nothing too intense. The kind of stuff you would hear in a video game like Skyrim, or in the background of a Lord of the Rings movie. I also just like appreciating and studying the work of other artists. By looking at the execution of their work I often find little tips and tricks to apply to my own.
9. If you could witness any event of the past, present or future what would it be?
It would be really interesting if the disclosure of information regarding the existence (and influence) of alien life happened during our lifetime. The truth is out there!
10. Oreos or Fudgee-os? I like them both. But I'll toss in a separate vote for the underrated ginger-molasses cookies - those are the best.
Here’s hoping that Sarah has a show in the near future. I know we’ll be there. Below you can find links to her Instagram and Facebook as well as her Shop’s. I’ve already started planning my next piece with her, and considering how awesome the last one was I know it’s going to be out of this world!