Hackney’s TV tattooist shows off her colourful body of work


Pic: Emma Jane Burgess

This weekend’s tattoo convention is your chance to get inked by one of London’s top female tattoo artists. Nikole Lowe, star of the reality TV show London Ink, will be tattooing at the convention this year without appointments.

She will be joined at Tobacco Dock in Tower Hamlets this weekend by her US counterpart and London convention first-timer Ami James, star of the reality TV shows Miami Ink and NY Ink.

‘Good Times Tattoo’, in the heart of Shoreditch, is where Nikole has been based for the last three years after finally making the move into her own studio – so popular an that appointment at her Hackney studio comes with a two to three year waiting list. “I’m glad I went out on my own,” she said. “I’ve worked too hard for too long to go into business with anyone else.”

You’d hardly believe she wasn’t born in one of the studio’s six chairs: with its extensive windows and homely vibe it seems like Nikole has been there forever. With colourful trinkets and family photos covering each wall like kitsch barnacles, the place looks like it’s been tattooed too. And yet it’s light, airy; studio is full of laughter, there’s a large bar in the corner, and you get the feeling most of the customers become friends by the time they leave.

Pic: Emma Jane Burgess

Born and raised in New Zealand, Nikole has been in London for over a decade. Her foray into reality TV came a few years ago, and with it notoriety among those outside the ‘industry’. Native fans won’t miss her for much longer, as this year, she’ll return briefly to her home town for a convention visit and a family Christmas.

Specialising in Japanese-style work, Nikole is a master of traditional koi carp, intricate figures and flowers and delicate shading. Most clients give her free reign on their skin, trusting her judgement and not leaving disappointed.

One client, in for some additional work when EastLondonLines paid its visit, had entrusted the majority of his body to Nikole’s handiwork; a huge koi and many butterflies spread down his back, merging into multicoloured chaos down the top of his legs and Japanese figures on his calves.

What will she be up to at the convention this year? It’s pretty simple, she says: “Tattooing and partying”. If you want to catch her and her colleagues from Good Times this weekend, click here for more information.

Leave a Reply