by Inigo del Castillo in New Art on Monday 9 June 2014

While most artists dedicate their careers in the pursuit of one style – ie. Salvador Dali’s surrealism, Andy Warhol’s pop art – tattoo artist Steph Hanlon‘s style is mixing different styles. In her works you’ll see geometric patterns used on portraits, abstract shapes combined with watercolor to make whimsical animals. She calls this style ‘Ecelecticism’. In this exclusive interview, Hanlon talks about her roots as a tattoo artist and her work as an eclecticism tattoo artist. [read our original post about her here.]

At what age did you realize you have a passion for tattoos? 
Since I was a child… I grew up around people who had tattoos, so they always fascinated me….I was 17 when I got my first tattoo, after that I would look at tattoo magazines all the time…each time I went to get tattooed or went with someone getting tattooed I watched the whole process intently…I was hooked.

And when did you start your practice as a tattoo artist?
I started learning in 2003, I was offered an apprenticeship at the time I was going to school for graphic design….and I loved it immediately! I knew tattooing was for me.

Please tell us more about ‘Eclecticism’. Was this your style of tattooing right off the bat or did you develop it in time?
No, when I started I just wanted to tattoo anything….when you first start tattooing, you tattoo whatever comes in the door and over time you start to develop an understanding of what you like to tattoo, I think this is the best way to learn. For a long time I called myself a versatile artist because I enjoyed doing many different styles. That process developed into what I do today.

Eclecticism is a label I chose for myself, I feel this describes me and my art best. I personally don’t like being categorized or labeled, but I felt that if I had to have a label, then I was going to choose it. I have always loved many styles of art and mixing those styles together, I never really felt the need to stay within the confines of one style.

With ‘Eclecticism’ employing different styles and combinations, do your clients have a hard time choosing which tat would suit them best? If yes, how do you help them choose among the diverse styles?
No, I don’t find my clients have that difficulty. I always have a consultation, I like to speak with them about what they like in my work, what they like in style, color and feel.

This gives me an idea of what they want to see for their design. We discuss possibilities, placement and over all feel of the piece. Sometimes a client can have a very vague idea of what they want, and they just want me to interpret that feeling or idea, which can be a lot of fun too!

You have such a wide range of subjects in your portfolio too, from portraits, to animals, to abstract art. Do you have a favorite, and why?
Hmm, that’s hard to choose, if I had to… I would say anything that has geometric abstract elements in it, I really enjoy that style