Thursday, 20 September 2012

Interview with NARidyard.

taken from
It’s been 4 years since Natalie Hanks (a.k.a NARidyard) created the specialist tattoo blog “I was searching the internet for inspirations for my first tattoo and realised it would be easier if i put everything I liked in one place.” Hanks decided on starting a tattoo blog in the beginnings of 2009. Having just started studying accounting at the University of York, Hanks progressed creatively towards the computerized collective of blogging when she decided the world needed a place for people to gain inspiration as well as share their experiences through their tattoos. “Even if you’re not after a tattoo, I like to think it’s still a nice blog to look at visually.” The lines between fashion and tattooing have blurred since the creation of and Hanks tends to call upon these inspirational styles and characters. “There are so many people that I look up to - Particular people in the industry who have never given up and those who are still humble even though they have reached success.” The blog itself is a spirited cascade of tattoo images, sent from donators around the world and filtered and formatted in the Tattoologist trademark style. “I generally go for discrete black and white tattoos but just because it doesn’t fit in with the style of the blog doesn't mean it’s a bad tattoo.” “Compared to other tattoo sites Tattoologist has a style that it sticks to.”Hanks favours word tattoos and has her trademark alias “Ridyard” tattooed on her wrist in a bright white. The word “Ridyard” is Hanks grandmothers’ maiden name. “Word tattoos are not necessarily more powerful than non word tattoos, but it can be easier to express things.” Hanks perspective on tattoos hasn’t altered since her blog began “the person defines the tattoo, since the tattoo represents yourself and therefore your style” her favourite placing is still the same – the wrist “easily covered up and easily shown.” As for the actual text, the language itself doesn’t have any bearing; it’s all about what it dictates and represents. “I love personal handwritten fonts, it makes the tattoo slightly more your own.”The creative buzz hit Hanks long before her adolescent years “I think everyone is a creative person, just in different ways.” Tattoos became a steady evolution from writing and drawing, “I was originally interested in tattoos because I saw it as a form of expression. A way of marking your body with things that are important to you.”

Aside from the busy blog of body art, Hanks spends her hours as the editor in chief of No Cigar magazine. No Cigar is a ‘new to 2012’ magazine that envisages all the best features of Hanks favourite publications. The tag line “Close but no cigar” is an idiom for falling just short of success, it simply signifies Hanks’ struggle to get satisfaction from the newsstands. At a time when publications are under certain scrutiny for their worth, Hanks gets a sense of pride every time the team finishes an issue “It is constantly growing.” Within the magazine there is a bounty of opportunity to meet and encounter creative talent, “Alot of people I’ve come in contact with have been a joy to work with.” Moving to London at the end of summer, No Cigar magazine can currently be found online for those who know where to look for it.
As if juggling anything with an accounting degree doesn’t already sound like a challenge, Hanks has also birthed a T-shirt brand, aptly named: Ridyard London.  “I have no idea why I decided to do it; it must have been a thought that stuck.” The brand was well ahead of the game by the tail-end of 2011 as Hanks decided to feature the now emblematic Ridyard London logo “RDYRD” on each garment. The end goal for Hanks is to develop the T-shirts into a fully UK created collection, “I want the pieces to be seen as investment pieces, not in terms of unreachable prices but pieces that will last long and are made of good quality workmanship.” The T-shirts are available online and scattered around Shoreditch but Hanks would rather a fellow blogger to wear her brand than a young East London hipster. “There are so many stylish bloggers I follow, I would love to one day see them wearing my T-shirts.”

The blogging community has revolutionised over the last few years, it’s a notoriously competitive environment, but Hanks doesn’t seem at all disconcerted. “I don’t think any blog is competing with another. All blogs are different even if the difference is small.” “I’ve received some really good feedback; I think people see my blog as more of a place to share.”Aside from the blogging, editing and the ‘nose to the grind’ schedule that Hanks describes, York University life sounds relatively composed. “It isn’t as busy as London but it still has a lot to offer. It has unique boutiques, amazing restaurants and it’s only a short drive to multi beaches and national trust parks.” When Hanks isn’t consumed by the office or her accountancy course, the Yorkshire coast’s Filey beach is the next best available thing. “Mini golf, long walks, hot dogs and it’s not a massive tourist area.”Hanks has cracked the success of breaking into London without being in London.
The self inflicted stress levels have its occasional perks. “I feel sorry for my managing director; he has to put up with my song choices in the office. When I find a song that I like, it is on replay for weeks.” Currently the office playlist consists of Dragonette, Jet and Kanye West; a heady mix of rap and rock on a continual loop. It’s the bursts of frivolity that seem to thwart the stress “We once covered our office window with Kanye west lyrics for passer –bys.” Simultaneous to the office antics, the T-shirt brand Ridyard London has its stress- busters. “Getting an email from a customer saying she loved the T-shirt she bought including a photo!”
The blogging scene shows no signs of coming to a standstill,” Keep blogging! Try and find a unique way of looking at things” says Hanks. With models such as Anja Konstantinova featuring tattoos in their shoots, and Chanel releasing their transfers back in 2010, Hanks is predicting a collision between fashion and tattoos in the near future. “There are now so many celebrities that are covered in them, and designers are more accepting of models having tattoos, a lot of them don’t even get covered up on the catwalk.”Tattoos are becoming continuously more popular “I think it’s going to continue to develop, I don’t think it’s a trend that is going to go away.” Now, still powering through all three of her new posts Hanks is preparing for a steady future ahead. “I always knew it was a hard nut to crack, Ive learnt a lot more about simple things.” We can hope to expect the Tattoologist book late this summer, which aims to be teeming with stylistic tattoo photographs. “It’s proven to take a lot longer than I initially thought it would, but I want it to be perfect. Fingers Crossed.”

Check out Natalie's site here:TATTOOLOGIST
and her magazine here: NO CIGAR