Get to know: Amanda Rodriguez
We talk to owner and resident artist Amanda Rodriguez about her start up in the tattoo industry, what brought her to the UK and her love for football.
Three Kings: Hey Amanda, tell us a little about yourself, where are you from?
Amanda Rodriguez: I was born in Queens, NYC and lived there and in Brooklyn most of my life, except for college in Rhode Island and a couple of years after I lived in Massachusetts.
TK: Did you study anything interesting in school?
AR: I studied Furniture Design in college which was really fun and I ended up with some cool furniture in my house that I made! Sadly I couldn’t bring any with me here to London.
TK: Thats such a shame! What ended up bringing you to London
AR: I had always wanted to live here! I grew up listening to britpop, my favourite band is Blur, and have always thought it to be a magical place. I visited here many, many times before I moved but the timing wasn’t ever right until now.
TK: What do you like about London compared to where you are from?
AR: I like a lot of things but most notably, I think, would be public transportation. The tube is amazing and quick. In NYC I would drive and take cabs everywhere because the Subways was so unreliable but here you can get nearly anywhere via the train/tube as fast as you would in a car. M&S is a close second ;)
TK: Tell me about it, M&S is food heaven for me! How long have you been tattooing?
AR: Been tattooing for 12 years this year.
TK: Thats quite a while, what is it that got you into tattooing?
AR: It’s a really silly story. Basically a scratcher who was a roommates friend saw me painting and suggested that I tattoo. At the time I was out of college and had no real career prospects and I started looking into it and it just felt right. Eventually I got an apprenticeship and the rest is history.
TK: I love stories like that because it really does show how something small can completely change your future - who'd have thought then that a small suggestion like that, could mean you would end up opening you're own shop in London! What is it you like the most about tattooing?
AR: I think the most obvious answer to this is that your art is on someone forever, and that is amazing and flattering but aside from that I love meeting people. It doesn’t matter what someone looks like or what idea they have, everyone has something worthwhile to say.
TK: How would you describe your style of art/tattooing?
AR: I would describe it as illustrative nature and botanicals. I’m terrible with genres but I love traditional aspects of tattooing like bold lines and saturated colour but also love a more realistic drawing style and muted colours.
TK: What sort of things inspire you?
AR: Nature inspires me the most. Flowers, animals etc. I love going to gardens in the spring/summer.
TK: Speaking about how much you love gardens and spring/summer, its such a shame our stately home sand gardens are all closed. How have you been doing during this self-isolation?
AR: I’ve been up and down. The first few weeks I wallowed pretty hard but then I managed to claw out of that and try to be a bit productive. I’ve been trying to do workouts and some reading. It’s hard to be creative at the moment but I try not to pressure myself too much.
TK: I feel you, it took a while to get into a decent routine and now I start to feel a bit more optimistic. Where's the first place you want to go once self-isolation is over?
AR: Well I’m dying to get to work so I would want to go to the shop and get working. Lame answer to most people probably but I miss tattooing and the shop so much. Apart from work I miss going to pubs and restaurants with friends. I think they will be the last things to reopen so I imagine people will just be having dinner parties with friends when things start to lift.
TK: Same! Im looking forward to visiting family and finding nice pub garden I have to admit. What do you miss the most about the outside world?
AR: Football!! I love love love football and I have been so sad to not be able to watch. I even resorted to getting a PS4 and FIFA20 which has helped a bit.
TK: No way! Which team do you support? At least that helps to pass some of the time. Is there anything about self-isolation that you’ve particularly enjoyed?
AR: Spurs! Yes, lots. I am an introvert so I love staying at home drawing or watching TV with my dog. It has been nice to have video chats with people, though sometimes there are more in a week than I would like.
TK: Have you managed to stay in good health?
AR: Yes, I haven’t been sick. My seasonal allergies have been driving me crazy but no coronavirus!
TK: Thats a positive at least, hayfever seems to have been particularly savage this year but its good to hear it hasn't been anything worse. Who do you most admire in the industry?
AR: I admire so many artists to be honest. It’s almost soul destroying when I go on instagram and see so many amazing artists. I think that I admire Becca (@s6girl) and Kelsey Ellis (@honeybasiltattoos). I think they’re both so incredible! I have work from Becca (my back!) but nothing from Kelsey, yet!
TR: What are you looking forward to most in the next year?
AR: Just getting into the shop and getting working. It has been really hard because I have not been tattooing day in day out since I left NY and I miss it a ton! I’m so excited about the shop and all the work I put into it. It will be amazing to be in there and working!