Underground Ink, a new tattoo studio based in High Barnet, North London, has a unique and highly stylised aesthetic which juxtaposes the past with the modern - as vintage Chesterfield sofa’s and a Captain’s table are feature pieces inside a design space which artistically reinterprets a London Underground tube station across its walls - a theme which continues as a core signature throughout.
Launched by former Ibiza-club manager and entreprenuer Andy Murphy, Underground Ink was born from his passion for tattoo design and his ambition to transform the traditional and dated visual identity of tattoo parlours. He's done a good job so far.
We spoke to Andy about Underground Ink, have a butchers:
What's the story behind UGINK?
My aim was to open one of the friendliest tattoo studios in North London. I basically got fed up of the snarly, arrogant attitude that can sometimes be associated with tattoo shops, which to me is not a great atmosphere to be in when you're making such a big decision to add something on your skin which is so personal to you.
I wanted a new kind of positive vibe, so we championed the phrase 'tattitude' as it's important to respect one of the most iconic and unique art forms. I also wanted to use a London theme as we're based at the end of the Northern Line, so I chose to design the studio in the style of the London Underground - it's that connection with people and places which ties in with the different people who visit our studio, each with their own tale of why they want a tattoo.
What sets you apart from the rest?
The minute you walk in our doors the entire experience is different - from the unique artwork on the walls which tells a story, to the friendly team who take the time to sit down with customers and discuss every aspect of their tattoo experience - to the way we've designed the studio for maximum comfort, such as vintage chesterfield sofas to lounge on. It's a clean, safe environment with a fresh feeling, not like the older dusty, cramped studios full of skulls and motorbike helmets!
Who've you got on the team apart from Danny?
We've been working with Danny since we launched which has been a great experience, but with all journeys, they eventually come to an end and as we've grown and become more successful, we've decided to introduce new blood into the team - so we're now looking at taking on another well known artist in the studio. Watch this space!
And you're doing clothes?
We're launching a small unisex streetwear collection which will incorporate the current trend for all things urban and sportswear-focused, featuring some really strong tattoo graphics and imagery - I can't tell you anymore than that right now, but it's going to be part of the brand's expansion into fashion and accessories. We really admire labels like Horiyoshi The Third and how they've taken an iconic tattoo artist's designs and worked them into fashion pieces - it's a clever way of fusing a mainstream art form with fashion culture and it's done in a highly stylised way.
How is it out there in High Barnet? It is literally the end of the line!
It's great! We have the best of both worlds - quick connections into central london and also the countryside on our doorstep.
We're based in a really nice part of North London and there's a real community spirit and a sense of village life meets towny attitudes - it's a good mix. It's also definitely not the end of the line for us as we are planning to open another studio in Bournemouth later this year, so then we'll have the seaside on our doorstep too!