Neil Dransfield is a Leeds based tattoo artist with a penchant for the dark stuff. Working out of his shop, Oddfellows, Neil’s work has shifted back to his awesome, original, black surreal style that you can spot a mile off. We grabbed 5 minutes with him to ask him a little bit more about his work, and what we can expect to see from him at the convention…
BTC: So, how long have you been tattooing for Neil?
ND: Erm I have no idea! I’ve totally lost track of time! Maybe like 7 or 8 years at a guess?
You can find me working at Oddfellows. Me and Tom Flannigan opened the studio about 4 years ago I think it was now.
BTC: So how has Oddfellows progressed in those 4 years?
ND: So there were 3 of us that owned it, and we’ve gone to 4 or 5 guys working with us now, and everybody specialising in doing something a bit different. I think this is the 4th or 5th years we’ve done Brighton now, and there’s me, Adam Cornish and Michael Gibson coming down.
BTC: What are your thoughts on Brighton?
ND: I love Brighton! I love that they’ve changed the time of the year for the convention now, I love the place itself, and now the convention is in April, because last time it was horrible…
BTC: Won’t you miss the sideways rain?!
ND: No! I was trying to carry my bed and I was blown across the road! And I’m quite looking forward to a new venue. I quite liked the Hilton as well, but it’s a good idea, a fresh change for everybody.
BTC: Will you be selling prints at the convention?
ND: Hopefully! Yeah, if I can get some more painting down then I’ll be selling prints, if I can find time to do some more work, I still need to do all the drawing for my flash. Everything’s always last minute!
BTC: Are you doing walk-ups or pre-books?
ND: I’ve already pre-booked the Saturday, but the Sunday will be Walk-ups and if I get time on Saturday too. Is it just Saturday and Sunday this year? It’s better just 2 days, I stressed out last time with Friday, Saturday, Sunday. I booked in people on the Friday and we travelled down that day, so then I had to tattoo too, and that day was just horrible.
BTC: It goes so quick though!
ND: It’s always the same, you travel down, you come you work, you don’t see anybody, you don’t see the convention and then you go home again!
BTC: So how would you describe your style, how did you get into it? Have you always been into the dark stuff?
ND: Even before I started tattooing my artwork was like that, and then for some reason I progressed into doing fuller work and bright sort of girly stuff. This last year I’ve really stripped it back and gone back to the darker, stranger sort of stuff. I think it’s more of my personality in my work than it was when it was bright, colourful more girly, and I’m a lot more comfortable now than I was working in that stuff. Colour work is stressful. And some people make it look effortless and so easy, and I just used to have panic attacks. I think I’ve found my way again with what I’m doing. I’ve probably lost loads of customers, but I’m a lot happier in what I’m doing. People do seem to love it as well.
BTC: So what’s next, what’s going to be the progression?
ND: I’m going to carry on with what I’m doing at the minute and see where it goes from there. I’m quite interested in exploring negative spaces in stuff at the minute. I did a weird snake lady yesterday with a negative snake over her face, and I don’t think people really got it but I really enjoyed it.
BTC: Have you got any other conventions coming up, or any guest spots?
ND: End of July I am coming down, I’m coming down with Lukasz, hopefully London Convention if I can again, and then I’m off up to Old Town in Edinburgh in July as well. And I’m hopefully coming down to Brighton before the convention with Machete to hang out with him and Adrian.
Neil will be with us all weekend at BTC9, head over to try to grab a walk up appointment from him on the Sunday. Still haven’t got your tickets? Get them here.