From Halifax, Nova Scotia, tattoo artist and owner of Darling Tattoo, Helena Darling will join us for Tattoo Nouvelle Ère 2019. Always seeking new forms of expression, Helena focuses on connecting with people through her art and giving them the best experience possible. Learn more about her and her artistic approach in this lovely interview.
TNE :Could you tell us a bit about yourself, what’s your story?
HD : Residing and from Halifax, Nova Scotia, I have recently, this year, opened a fabulous tattoo shop with a fellow artist and great friend, after running a tattoo shop for almost a decade. Our shop has a kitschy, atomic 50’s inspired aesthetic, named Darling Tattoos. We have a glitter floor, couch and wall accents, a taxidermied pink flamingo and enough plants to be considered a greenhouse. We aim to help everyone who enters to feel amazing and to leave feeling inspired. Located 2590 oxford st in halifax west end we hope to become an international destination for art.
TNE :How long have you been tattooing for?
HD :10 years
TNE : At what point did you realize you wanted to be a professional tattooer?
HD : Being creative in my carreer was always my goal, starting in early childhood. I always wanted to be a singer/songer writer/writer/fashion designers/marine biologist as a child but narrowed my focus and vision to tattooing when i was in high school. It was a long road filled with challenges to get to be a proffesional artist in any capacity. I dropped out of high school to work in a tattoo studio at 17 and when that didnt pan out i ended up living on the streets and travelling for a few years until i could get on my feet and get my foot in the door of this industry.
TNE :How would you describe your style? Can you tell us about your main influences? (Tattoo artists and more)
HD : I would describe my style as being stylized realism. I aim to get the proportions accurate but like to frame up my work with bold lines and try to be imaginitive with my colour pallets. I enjoy doing tattoos that surround a nature or occcult theme. Artists I idolize and look up to are @kshocs @mermaidsketches @jowdydawber @lyaleister and many more. I love artists who exhibit a seemingly untouchable passion for thier craft.
TNE : Can you recall what it was that drew you to this specific style?
HD : When i started tattooing, i tried to be a jack of all trades and be able to take on any concept or style the client desired but i found myself becomign stuck, where i wasnt producing art I loved or was proud of, but also wasnt growing in my skill set. When I focused my art to first be something I was happy to produce than i found myself honing my personal style and my techniques. I still feel as if every tattoo is a learning experience and am trying to become a better and more confident artist with each piece. I feel that I have deffinitly come into my personal art style and tastes and my tattoos reflect that.
TNE :If you weren't a tattoo artist, what would you be doing professionally?
HD :If I wasnt tattooing I would still be dedicated to art. My other passion other than tattooing is photography. I am currently taking more time to travel for tattooing and photography equally.
TNE :What are your other interests, are there any other topics you are curious about?
HD : I am interested in social work and the unique platform on social media that tattoo artists have currently. Our industry is evolving, growing and changing continuously. With the decision to open a shop, my main focus and interest is to educate myself to be able to give my clients the most safe and enjoyable experience that I possibly can.,and to share the voice I have on social media with causes and people I support and love.
TNE : What about other art forms? Do you practice any?
HD : I practice and enjoy photography. I have a instagram portfolio for my photography @the_woods_witch
It has given me an amazing outlet to connect to people and share in thier expeirence. I focus mostly on portrait, nature and artisitic nudes for photography as the same for my tattoos. Where tattooing must take place in the same controled enviroment every day, photography helps me explore, gather reference material and move my body in ways I couldnt live without.
TNE :What kind of music do you prefer while tattooing?
HD : I like to listen to music I can sing to. Even if that is a cm away from your ear, I'll be howling hahaha! Personal seranades for all!
TNE :What are your prime life and work philosophy?
HD :My prime life and work philosophy is about the laws of attraction. What you put out, you will draw towards yourself, so i try to put out good vibes, a thoughful ear and helpful hands. I try to live with a positive mental attitude and to make people feel good about themselves.
TNE :Do you participate in a lot of tattoo conventions? What do you like and dislike the most while working in conventions?
HD :I have partaken in the east coast conventions for the last few years, and am only recently starting to get the courage to apply and attend conventions further from home. I love going to fests and meeting fellow artists. I love the comradery and community these events help nuture and grow.