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Awesome Merchandise Meets Jack Watts

We invited Jack Watts aka Tattoos For Your Enemies to Awesome HQ to see his custom foiled art prints in production. While he was here we sat down to pick his brains, discover how he became a tattoo artist and why it’s important to have merch at conventions.

For those people who don’t know you, can you introduce yourself?

I’m Jack Watts, tattoo at Sang Bleu in East London. Also known as Tattoos For Your Enemies. It was a name that I had through making zines way before I was tattooing. 

 

The idea was that the drawings were really scribbly and quick. The idea was that you wouldn’t really have them as tattoos, it would be on someone that you didn’t like. But then because I had made those zines consistently for years when I started tattooing and I refined the designs to make them tattooable, the name had already stuck. It’s hard to shift it. No one knows my real name. That’s why I put it on everything.

How did you go from creating zines to tattooing?

I was doing the zines for probably a few years. I think I had done Tattoos For You Enemies 1 and 2 and then I was at uni getting tattooed a load. The guy that was tattooing me… I became really friendly with him and one Saturday messaged me and was like oh can you come help me. His wife ran the desk and she had to look after the kids. I went in and it snowballed from there. I did that for probably two and a half years, helping him in the shop and doing all the apprentice jobs without actually realising that at the end of it that he was going to teach me to tattoo.

What’s the differences between drawing for art prints or zines and drawing designs for tattoos?

I think a popular misconception is that if you can draw then you can tattoo and it’s not the same because you need to draw for a tattoo and that’s what I was missing. I understood that I could draw. I could make marks and cool images but then they didn’t necessarily translate very well into tattoos for whatever reason, and that’s what I learnt going and working with Martin. That then gradually start to develop the whole thing. 

 

I would sit down with him he would break the drawings down and go ‘This is rubbish, that’s rubbish because of that, that and that.’ I would redraw them and redraw them and redraw them until I actually understood what made a tattoo. That’s how it came to where it is now.

Why do you create merch and what type of things do you make?

Usually, I do merch around the time of a convention because that’s when you’re seeing thousands of people coming through and not everyone wants to get tattooed. Not everyone has brought a couple of hundred quid to get tattooed off you but they want something they can take away and I want something they can take away too.

 

 I’ve done patches, stickers and sometimes I do prints. I’ve done a few different t-shirt designs but mainly it’s patches. They’re tiny, people can pick them up and they don’t feel like they really have to ask you about it and you can sell them for £4/£5 – it’s not really going to affect them that much. It’s got my name on it, they’re carrying it around and then they stick it on a jacket or a bag.

Tattoos For Your Enemies, Awesome Merchandise, Jack Watts, Foil, Art Prints

Have you enjoyed seeing your foiled art prints come to life today? 

 

The foiled art prints are a unique and interesting process, I’m very grateful to have the opportunity to use this technique to produce some new prints.

 

Why do they make such an awesome piece of merch?

 

They are a great  way for artists to see their work in a fresh light, the process alone is not simply a replication of the original but transforms it into something distinctive’

Get creative with hundreds of customisable products now or head to our ‘ideas for’ page to get some inspo.

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