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Like many other creative fields, Western Australia boasts some of Australia’s finest tattoo artists. With the Australian Tattoo Expo hitting the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre this  weekend, we chatted to one of Perth’s brightest and best talents to get a local insight into the art form. ANNIE MUNROE caught up with Liz Hapi from Bloodlines Ink to find out how she got into the game, what she’s looking forward to this weekend, tattooing a grandmother’s butt and the more colourful stories of her career to date.

How long have you been working in the industry and have you always been Perth based?

(I’ve been in the industry) around six years or so, perhaps a little longer. A lot of tattooists don’t count their first year as most don’t tattoo, but I learnt a lot in this time about clients and drawing and I received a passion for it, so I do. Still a baby, industry wise. Maybe a toddler.

Can you tell us about how your style developed and what makes you excited about your work?

I was lucky at the start to work with a lady who became a main teacher and very good friend. (Kat Abdy, Bloodlines Ink) helped me to progress and develop my technical abilities with drawing, style and the craft itself. Also (there’s) many others I’ve worked with and inspiring tattooists via social media, books etc (who have) helped me to develop. Over time it has been a process of seeing tattoos come back healed and adjusting from here. Learning more about tattooists who have come before and more about the history (and) traditional styles in an ever shifting and growing industry, being able to express through drawing and researching subjects that inspire or intrigue me, then trying to create a tattoo with it excites the hell out of me. This and continuing to develop a style that’s custom made, solid and large scale alongside making something cool for someone is one of the things that makes tattooing awesome.

Do you find that the style or social approach towards tattoo culture in WA is influenced at all by how close we are to Asian influences such as Bali or Thailand? 

Interesting question! Never thought about it before. Perhaps a little. More so, it seems to be influenced with the socio-economic factors in W.A, one being disposable income. I love flying into Perth Airport after being overseas and seeing a sea of tattooed people. It’s quite unique, although more obvious because it’s hot and people have their kit off.

What makes Perth’s tattoo scene unique in comparison to the other states in Australia?

(I’m) not sure as I haven’t worked in all the other states but one thing is for sure – there are a lot of talented tattooists that come from here. Must be in the water.

Are there any artists that are coming from interstate that you’re excited to check out?

Yes, catching up with the talented crew from Empire. (They’re) always encouraging and friendly. Also, a brother named Toge from Indonesia. Not to mention Perth tattooists left right and centre.

Can you give us a best or worst story from your career?

Tattooing a pair of lips early days as an apprentice on the butt of a grandmother of three, prim and proper to a tee. She’s my idol. This is probably a combination of both best and worst. Being trusted to help tattoo the lady who taught me. Working everyday with an awesome group of people at Bloodlines.

Where can we find you during the Expo, and what will you be focusing on?

I will be tattooing Alex over the whole 3 days of the convention. We will be focusing on contrast (Alex has tanned skin), flow and solidity as WA sunshine is unforgiving. (We’ll also be) finishing his thigh, knee and shin in the time allocated. I feel very lucky to work on such dedicated people. Come say hi and give Alex your prayers.

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