When in NYC the choices about where getting a tattoo are almost endless! A new shop opens up almost every month and every tattooer from all over the world stops in to be a guest spot or a resident artist: NYC is simply the place to be! A great city to grow, to work and to compare your work with others. NYC is now home to one of the most promising and finest professional tattoo artists out there. Her name is Lara Scotton!
Whether you are looking to get some nice flowers as a first tattoo or a beautifully intricated japanese backpiece she is your woman. Very nice, gracious and talented, Lara is really leaving a mark for herself in the tattoo scene. She is at the moment working at the world famous Daredevil Tattoo, alongside Michelle Myles and Brad Fink. And you can also find her at the most prestigious tattoo conventions worldwide, like the London one. She specializes in fine japanese and tibetan imagery, but also illustrative and ornamental designs are her strength.
Everything is done custom, with love and care, for every single client. Although she started a little late in life Lara is definitely one artist to keep an eye on! Give her some skin, you will not be disappointed! I met her in early September 2017 at Daredevil Tattoo in Chinatown – NYC, for pictures and a chat. So let’s get to know her a little better in this brief interview.
When did you start tattooing, what was your background and which was the main reason force behind the choice?
I never had a real artistic background such as an art education. I’m coming from a language and accountant school. I started tattooing relatively late in life, at 27: it happened when I got tired of my office job selling medical equipment and while I was working as a piercer as well, during the weekends. I realized that I was making enough money to sustain myself just by working more days at the tattoo studio. Few years later, with a bunch of friend we opened up a tattoo shop in the north of Italy, close to Varese, I was managing the appointments, cleaning and scrubbing tubes and eventually I was taking care of the piercing, which I abandoned after a while because I was getting really bored of it. That’s exactly when I was pushed and helped to start tattooing: Skyzzo and Amos (friends and fellow tattooers) asked me if I ever desired to start tattooing, which it never really crossed my mind before… I was drawing here and there but it never occurred to me the fact that I could actually do it as a job! One night as a joke Amos put the machine in my hand and encouraged me to try on his leg. Well that was the start! I thought I could totally do it or at least give it a try. After that, my actual training started, and I was lucky enough to have a few friends let me practice on them. I am really grateful for that. For once, I thought, this is awesome! THIS is what I’m supposed to do!
What are the main differences between working in Italy/Europe and the US?
I started tattooing in Italy and I go back to work there as much as I can. I love it, it’s my country, but sometimes in life you just need to try different things, and that’s the main reason why I decided to move, I wanted to grow. I’m very happy with my position and my clients right now, I feel I have more freedom and trust from them than I can have anywhere else. I don’t really think tattooing it’s much different from country to country nowadays. Maybe few years back in Italy it wasn’t as popular as it is right now… and Europe in general was always a little step ahead than Italy. What really makes the difference for me is who you have a chance to work with, that might be friends or someone you really respect as an artist, it is fundamental to watch and learn. One thing I really have to say about Italians though… they always look for hooks up and discounts (she laughs). But that, I guess, it’s part of the culture, like talking out very loud and being very opinionated! I know, I am italian myself! Sometimes, in general, what is still missing is a proper education on how to act in a tattoo studio: people need to earn the respect for the artist and their work. I believe the tattoo scene is so over saturated at the moment, and artists tend to get into compromises often, just to work and get the money. It’s tough, but I hate to see the lack of respect at times.
What makes NYC so special for tattooing in your opinion and how this city influences your work?
Everyone who comes to NYC knows that love and hate feeling that hunts you. that’s the exhausting and overstimulating lifestyle you can have here, it’s like a drug. I feel NYC it’s great, not for everybody though. If you are willing to work hard it’s possible to make it, but you just need to work harder than anywhere else. There is a lot of competition and incredibly good new tattooers here. And most of the times you feel like you are not doing enough. Exhausting! But the adrenaline gets you addicted, and you push yourself even further.
You are developing a style in tattooing with heavy japanese and asian influences. who inspires you the most and where do u see yourself in 10 years?
All the artists around me were into japanese style, the European one though, that has nothing to do with the traditional Japanese. It is more flowing, with Tibetan, Chinese and Japanese references all mixed together. When I started back in Italy, everybody from the Varese area had as a reference tattooer Luigi Stopar. and I think everybody got tattooed by him, he simply was the man to go to, especially for Japanese style work. He taught me a lot and even spent some time with me drawing. He is a dear friend.
Another great artistic reference for me was everything that was coming from Filip Leu!
He is just incredible! Also I couldn’t stop looking at all the tattoo magazine pictures of Sabine Gaffron work, i just loved her I think that pushed me into tattooing more than anything. Right now there are many artists that inspire me, many tattooers from NYC that I would have never imagined to meet in person. For example I’m finishing my arm with Chris Garver at the moment, and every time I see him at work he blows my mind; also Michelle Myles and Brad Fink that I have the enormous honor to work with, also tattooers from the west coast, like Bill Canales, Ben Cheese, Alessio Ricci etc. Too many to mention all, they are such incredible people and artists. I really have no idea where I’ll be in 10 years, I learnt that sometimes even if you are making plans, life brings you in other directions. I’m excited to see what destiny has planned for me!
Being a woman in this industry have helped you in some ways or was it ever a disadvantage? Which women of the industry inspire you the most?
Well, there were a lot less women when I started and all of them were badass! I have to say, now not so much anymore. I’m not sure it helped me in the beginning, maybe. But most of the times, really not, it was still a male world. But I still prefer to talk about colleagues than make a difference between guys and girls. There are a lot of women that inspire me as I said before Sabine Gaffron, Genziana, Morg and my friend Vale Lovette. Delia Vico, Sofia Mesisca… all amazing tattooers! I had the pleasure to meet many great women on the road, but it’s a long list and I don’t want to upset anyone.
What are your favorite subjects to tattoo and how you approach designing a custom piece?
I love flowers, they are a beautiful and elegant decoration for the body: that is my favorite thing to tattoo! Plus they accompany every subject nicely. I feel the most important approach with people, especially if they are getting tattooed for the first time, is scheduling a consultation appointment. It’s a nice way to meet and talk. Sometimes it’s the way to go to understand if people are really serious to work with you: if they have the patience to meet and talk to you, 50% of the work is done. Eventually they understand they you are making time for them to give all your attention into creating something unique. During a consultation appointment I have all the time to check their ideas and references and sizing, sketching something on skin or paper just to understand the direction to go and schedule a proper tattoo appointment. I feel I can put more dedication having this little meeting before, and when they are actually coming to get tattooed they are always happy with the final design!
Who is Lara in her private life? What’s your hobbies and your passions? Do you like going to tattoo conventions, traveling? What is the best way to reach you?
Well if I told you it wouldn’t be private anymore! (she laughs) I like to paint and being on the beach as much as I can and possibly learning a new thing every year. I also love to travel and going to conventions, I think it’s a great way to see your old friends and make new ones. Follow my instagram account @larascotton and if seriously looking to get tattooed drop me an email. Very simple!