Paul Bottomley Provides Fresh Ink for Local Tattoo Scene

30 Oct 2014

“A lot of people tried to convince me not to do an art course in the beginning, saying it was a stupid idea, but I did it anyway, and have just progressed and committed myself to being an artist.”

That self-determination saw Paul Bottomley enrol in Waiariki’s Diploma in Art and Design (Advanced), follow through the qualification’s pathway to continue study at Whitecliffe College of Arts and Design, and recently co-found Rotorua’s latest skin art studio, The Black Owl Tattoo Studio, on Pukuatua Street.

“It is a cool but pretty scary feeling for my business partner and me. Opening The Black Owl was a big step, it has cost a lot of money and time, but it has all been worth it,” says Paul, now sitting in the waiting room of his own studio, reflecting on the gambit.

Backed by the support of his family and influences found in the local sculpture scene, he feels there is a strong growth toward Māori cultural influences, especially as his customer numbers increase.

Unable to remember a time when he wasn’t artistic, the artist of English/Irish decent highlights that while tattooing is a relatively new venture for him, it has been in the back of his mind for a while and benefitted from the skills he has learnt through more traditional mediums, such as painting and sculpture.

“Tattooing is quite a hard medium to learn, as everybody’s skin type is different. Some don’t take the ink properly and some won’t take certain colours. It is a bit of a process, but it is achievable.”

Speaking of achieving, Paul has fond memories of his time at Waiariki. “It was a great experience meeting new people. It was cool to get back into study again and work towards something. To other aspiring artists out there looking to do the same, I say, ‘Just go hard and if it is a dream don’t let go of it.’”

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