Patrick Bates / European Son Studio Tour

Patrick Bates / European Son Studio Tour

Stick and poke/ handpoke tattooist based in Brighton.



Morning Patrick! How’re you today?
/ Good morning. I am good, thank you.

What’s your earliest memory of tattoos and tattooing culture?
/ My earliest memories of tattoos and tattoo culture would be seeing them on people in my neighbourhood and at school and being really fascinated. It was something I found very interesting.


In a short space of time you’ve managed to secure yourself as one of the world’s leading stick and poke artists, talk us through your beginnings and where you’re at now.
/ I taught myself to tattoo and have been tattooing myself and certain friends for a while but started tattooing full time in July of last year. I had been doing care work for the last 5 years and before that worked at Brighton train station and before that I was a professional basketball player. Now I am trying to get my head around being considered an ‘artist’. I have a clothing company and that’s really exciting to me. I travel a lot which is so nice. I just got back from Amsterdam and will go to Toronto next week and have been to some amazing cities this year.



You worked with David Shrigley in 2016, how did this come about and what was involved in the project?
/ Working with David Shrigley was such an amazing experience for me. He has been someone I looked up to for a long time. One of his friends in New York liked my tattoos and messaged me to ask if her and David could come by and David would do a design for her and I would tattoo it. I was so honoured to be asked and the tattoo went very well.



You are constantly making permanent changes to people which usually have a huge positive impact, how has tattooing changed you?
/ Tattooing has provided me with a way to express myself and connect with people on a beautiful level. I am not doing complicated things but I love the idea that something simple could have a massive impact on a person. It really makes me very proud to think that the people who come to me are excited to meet me and get a tattoo. I am a better person because of tattooing.



Does it ever feel weird inflicting pain onto your customers? How do you deal with a situation where the person’s pain threshold is 1 out of 10?
/ I hate inflicting pain on people. I really wish tattoos didn’t hurt but unfortunately they do. I think maybe the pain makes seeing the finished tattoo a bit better than if it didn’t hurt but I don’t know. If a person is really struggling I will just try and make the situation as comfortable as possible and reassure them that is is only a brief moment of pain and the tattoo will be worth it in the end.

Have you tattooed any memorable words or quotes that have resonated the most with you?
/ I tattoo so many amazing words. I think the ones that resonate with me the most are the ones that I think are relevant to the person or to me. I have so many ideas but I know the possibilities are endless so I am always surprised when a new customer suggests some nice words. I like the idea that we can express a huge amount with only one or a few words.


What’s in store for you for the rest of the year? Will you be guest spotting anywhere special?
/ The rest of the year will be busy. I am going to Toronto next week and Salon Serpent in Amsterdam next month and also Berlin, Vienna, Glasgow, Exeter, Barcelona and Leeds before the end of the year. I am also bringing out more t shirts and clothes and posters but mostly chilling with my rabbit.


Any words of wisdom to leave with our readers…
/ I’m going to win the Turner Prize in the next 10 years.

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Follow Patrick on Instagram, European Son,
Check out his T-shirts here.