This month’s SpotlightOn focuses on the handy work of tattoo artist Amanda Rodriguez, owner of Three Kings Tattoo, Deptford, London.
Tell us about what you do?
My name is Amanda Rodriguez (@AmandaTattoos) and I’m a tattoo artist and owner of Three Kings Tattoo London. I specialise in nature based tattoos and floral tattoos in an illustrative style.
Did you study art?
Yes, I focused on art in High School and then went to an Art College where I ended up studying Furniture Design. It was really fun but not super practical for future employment as we learned how to woodwork and weld – rather than CAD (computer-aided design).
How did you get into your craft?
By pure chance. I was working in manual labour directly out of college and was desperate to do something else. A friend saw me painting a portrait of my step-grandmother and recommended I pursue tattooing. I ended up falling in love with it and was able to get an apprenticeship to learn how to properly tattoo. Now I can’t imagine doing anything else!
Who or what inspires you?
I’m inspired by everything in nature, flowers, plants, birds etc. I am also inspired by music, good design, architecture, art and fellow tattooers.
Is there are seminal moment in your life that has made a profound impact on you and your work?
I’d say when I first got the job at Three Kings Tattoo in Brooklyn I felt like I had finally ‘made it’ as a tattoo artist and would start to be taken seriously. The opportunity definitely helped me develop further and take my work to the next level in an amazing and supportive environment.
What is your most memorable piece of work either by you or another artist?
My most memorable piece of work has to be one of the first full colour floral half sleeves I did. This was before Three Kings and the client drove down to NY from Rhode Island (about three and a half hour drive) twice to finish the tattoo. It features two yellow roses, some catnip flowers, basil and leaves. It meant a lot to me at the time to have someone travel all that way to see me and get something that I’d been working towards as I was developing my style at the time.
My favourite artist of all time is Damien Hirst. My most memorable piece of art by another artist would be a tie between two of his pieces. The first piece I saw in Boston at a solo show of his. I remember first seeing this black circle canvas on the wall from afar and thought, what is that? As I started to move closer I saw it had some different values and textures and then when you get up close you realise it’s a inch or two thick of just flies glued to a canvas. I absolutely loved it and the experience of discovering what it was! (http://www.damienhirst.com/black-sun)
The second piece of his that would be a tie would be a sculpture I saw of his in NYC. It was tucked away in the courtyard of a few buildings and from the street you could barely see its feet. As you walk in you start to see the figure of a pregnant woman and then as you walk around you see she is half dissected and you can see her muscles and the baby in her belly. It’s an amazing sculpture but the experience of discovering it within these building was an amazing experience. (http://www.damienhirst.com/the-virgin-mother)
How have things been opening post lockdown?
Things have been really good. I was worried that after lockdown no one would have money to spend on tattoos but we have had really steady business. One thing that has increased is that people are requesting coverups much more (tattooing over a previously unwanted tattoo with a new tattoo), which is fine but they require more work and more compromise.
What are your future plans?
I hope to be able to stay here in London and grow the shop and as an artist. I hope to also be able to travel back to the US regularly to see my family and do guest spots in the Brooklyn Three Kings studio.
What are your favourite #SELondon spots?
I originally came to South London because most of the big name tattoo shops in London are North of the river and we wanted to stand out. I had very little experience SE but ended up absolutely loving it here more than any other area of London. There’s so many great neighbourhoods and it’s so easy to get around! I’ve got a quite a few favourites. In Deptford I love Tila, Watergate, Little Nan’s and Jars bar. I also love Drink at Bob’s and Good Hope in Hither Green, Ladywell Tavern in Ladywell, Brickfields in Brockley, Panas Gurka in Lee. I also love Model Market in Lewisham which has been closed all summer but hopefully it returns next year!
For fun, who would your ideal fantasy dinner guest be?
I’m not really sure! Maybe Joe Rogan as I think he is hysterical, incredibly smart and really insightful and seems fun to talk to!
Three Kings London is located at: Three Kings Tattoo, 182 Deptford High St, SE8 3PR Artists: Amanda Rodriguez, Joe Macigno, Colin Clark plus regular world-renowned guest artists.