The apprentice bringing tattooing into the contemporary art world

by KARUNA TULI

There are many tattoo artists in London, but apprentice Tasha Jade Lambert uses her set of needles differently. She adds an element of charity to her patterns.

Working with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES), Lambert began designing tattoos of endangered animals and donated 50 per cent of her proceeds to the organisations.tattoo-10S

At 22, Lambert is a tattoo apprentice, working towards getting her professional licence. While completing her degree in illustration, she has been working at a number of studios.

“I think I was trying to be cool when I was younger. I was really into art, but I was never exposed to tattoos by my family. It was just something I found,” she said.

Tasha didn’t always know she wanted to be a tattoo artist. In fact, she spent her childhood hidden from the world of body art. She used to be deathly afraid of needles.

At 18, she got her first tattoo, the word “determination” on her forearm. Since then, fear has taken a backseat to the thrill she gets from getting inked. Her arm is covered from shoulder to wrist in tattoos, combining several different elements, including Harry Potter and one of her own designs of a rose.

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Lambert isn’t interested in designing traditional tattoos, such as hearts and daggers or swallows and anchors. Instead, she prefers to use elements of animals and nature to tell a story.

“One side of the red line shows the animals alive, and the other shows them as bones. The red line is representative of allowing these animals to go extinct,” she said.

“When I was looking for inspiration for my project at university, I noticed that there wasn’t a lot of the charitable element in tattooing and I wanted to bring that in.

“It’s exciting, because lots of ideas come to mind, but there’s still a way to get a clear message across.”

Lambert’s latest project was designed specifically for the Kew Foundation. The geometric and floral designs were inspired by the famous gardens.

“The watercolours represent the freedom of nature with the plants and flowers, and the geometrical shapes represent the conformity of humans,” she said.

“The idea behind this is to show that they clash, that human conformity and the freedom of nature don’t go hand in hand.”

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Lambert will continue working on curating exhibitions that display tattoo designs as pieces of art. She holds a strong belief that the initial artwork is just as important as the final product on the body.

“People still believe that tattooing is a craft. I want to show that it has just as much right to be in the contemporary art world,” she said.