Read an extract of the interview by Margherita B on Tattoo Energy (April/May 2018 issue) and enjoy some of his amazing artworks!
Californian by birth and Scottish by adoption, Jack Peppiette tells us all about his pieces, his passion for Mehendi art and Ornamental which gives him the utmost freedom of expression through its elegant and precise criss-crossing of lines, dotwork areas and geometric and floral patterns. And he tells us all sorts of things about himself, his influences in tattoo, great friendships and his love of skiing and cycling which he hopes some day will take him to the Tour de France!
Hi Jack! Would you like to introduce yourself to our readers?
Sure thing, my name is Jack Peppiette and I was born in Santa Cruz, California. I have been a tattooist for around 5 or 6 years now, not long in the grand scheme of things but I am pretty happy with how it’s going at the moment and I certainly hope I can only improve from here! My family moved us back to Scotland from the US when I was around 5 years old and I have been based here ever since! I am a huge fan of Scotland and the shop I work in, Insider Tattoo in Edinburgh is absolutely fantastic and I could not ask for a better place to be based!
How did you approach the ornamental style? Where?
I grew up in Edinburgh and went to school here. It’s a truly amazing city and a very inspiring place to be. I was actually more into technical drawings and architecture when I was younger and I was certainly more interested in technical accuracy and line work than creating collages and ‘mood boards’ for art class, so I think this was what really drove me towards geometric and symmetrical tattooing. The more ornamental style came later as a progression of this. I tried to mix a lot of my favourite styles and ideas and this was what came out!
And connecting with the question above, what are the experiences that formed you as a tattoo artist?
Certainly seeing Thomas Hooper’s work for the first time was a huge influence, perhaps even before I knew I wanted to be covered in tattoos I saw this as an epitome of design work and composition, and everything grew from there! I found more and more artists who inspire me in different ways, be it composition or line work, shapes or balance in the design. I used to be a ‘somewhat’ professional ski bum for a good 5 years of my life, but after I started getting more tattoos from people like my friend Jason Corbett (who I now work with!) and after realising that it may be time to look for a career I love which also paid a few bills, this was the direction for me.
What do you like most about the ornamental style?
I think the part I like most about the ornamental style is just the amazing amount of scope you have with all the different elements to create something new and beautiful. After experimenting with all the styles of tribal and geometric tattooing I was always drawn back to the shapes and ideas behind Mehndi artwork and henna tattooing, And using some of the shapes and composition ideas behind this has given me an amazing opportunity to try and create my own style, there is such a huge spectrum in ornamental tattooing that there is space for everyone to carve their own style and try something new!
Is there anything that you can tell us to better describe your tattoo style? For example the way you mix dots and lines, mantras and flowers?
There are a few elements of design, not just from Ornamental but from Traditional tattooing and other styles which really helped, like making sure that tattoos themselves were at least 50% black or using a large line like a 14 straight liner and halving it and using a 7 liner to get a nice contrast. The dotwork look that I like to use through my tattoos definitely stems from the way I learned traditional tattooing and whipshading, trying to get a smooth but textured blend. The mix of patterns and flowers is something I love to work on. I am a huge fan of both Japanese and Neo-traditional tattoos and I think adding those in really helps to add a new depth to the Ornamental patternwork. It’s not always necessary, but with some projects it’s really something else!