E4's Tattoo Artist of the Year Winner Revealed

Taking on nine other outstanding inkers in the search to find the nation’s best all-round tattoo artist, Luke battled through 12 knockout challenges from pig skin to puppies, hunks to drag artists and facing fierce competition, tough themes and complex style briefs throughout. He was judged the winner by Tattoo Fixers star Jay Hutton and internationally renowned tattoo artist Rose Hardy, both accomplished and successful tattooists with very different styles.

Reacting to his win, Luke said: “I feel speechless, I really didn’t expect it, not at all. To be honest, when I came into the competition, I just didn’t want to go out first; that was my aim, so to get here, it’s just crazy.”

Rose Hardy said: “I am so happy for Luke winning. Throughout the competition he didn’t do a bad tattoo. If I had to choose to be tattooed by one of the artists, it would be Luke.”

Jay Hutton spoke about the 2017 champion: “23 years old and tattooing like that, the final piece was absolutely outstanding, there’s nothing you can fault with it, it’s absolutely flawless, and everything a realistic tattoo should be. This is such a massive thing for him to win this competition, so I’m excited to see where Luke goes from here.”

The final challenge saw Luke compete against tattooing titans, JJ Jackson, 30 and Simon ‘Cookie’ Cooke, 41. In their toughest challenges to date the artists had customers who needed cover-ups to hide their unwanted tattoos, as well as an up against the clock challenge where they were given free rein to design a showpiece of their choice, all under the watchful eye of tattooing royalty, Mo Coppoletta.

The artists had just four hours to cover-up their clients unwanted tatts, and a whopping seven hours to complete their showpiece.

All fired up for the final, Luke’s client chose a bio-mechanical piston design in ripped skin to cover up his old Sid tatt. Trying to impress the judges, for the first time in the competition Luke free handed his ripped skin design.

On Luke’s finished bio-mechanical piston design Rose said: “Nice cover-up Luke, it worked well you can’t see the Sid under there at all. I’m really glad that you did some free hand, used some creativity, you used some bright colours in there which helps it stand strong. It looks really technically in there and smooth.”

Moving on to the final challenge, the artists were given the chance to break free and tattoo a piece of work of their own design, Luke chose to do a black and grey realism tattoo with his own twist, flowing with the body and original. Speaking about his final design, Rose commented: “The shape and the flow, the placement is really good and the details are amazing.”

Jay added: “It’s so 3D it feels like you can touch the hand.” “You know exactly what you’re doing with realism.”

Deliberating Luke’s journey throughout the competition, Jay said: “What Luke has proved over the competition is that he can adapt to most styles, I actually don’t think Luke knows how good he is.”

Luke knew he wanted to be a tattoo artist from a young age, and has always been impressed with the artistry of it. After studying at Art College, he took up an apprenticeship at 18 and has been professionally tattooing for the past five years.

Luke took on his apprenticeship at Samsara in Kendal who mentored and trained him, and he has been there ever since. With a one year waiting list, Luke is in high demand.

On his work, Luke said: “I’m not the loudest artist in the room, I just like to get my head down and work and enjoy it.”

On his E4’s Tattoo Artist of the Year experience, Luke says: “You’re under pressure constantly; I didn’t expect it to be this hard. However my experience has been once-in-a-lifetime, I enjoyed every second of it, from meeting new people, to really pushing me outside of my comfort zone artistically. The competition has brought me out of my shell and given me much more confidence as a tattoo artist, and as a person.”

Speaking about his plans for the future, Luke comments: “My long term life goal is to keep on pushing myself and my art, and to travel the world and see as many places as possible.”

Luke lives in Kendal, Cumbria with his wife Bryany and son Jack, 1.

For further information, pictures or interviews with Luke please contact Plank PR on 020 8995 3936 or victoria@plankpr.com.  

May 11, 2017 4:42am ET by Channel 4  

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