Radical Beauty

VAMP caught up with London based Sara, to discuss her love for body modifications and her tattooing vocation.

How far would you go with your body? 

Words by Dayna Clarke

Originally from Poland, renowned tattoo artist and body modifications fan, Sara Night moved to Britain when she was 22 years old. Having quit University where she studied Architecture, she describes a deep feeling candidly there was much more to be had from life, and the leap to leaving her country to pursue her creative career was the right step to take. Not just a tattoo artist, Sara is an alternative model, with over 70% of body tattooed, she also has her tongue separated into two, and undertook a dangerous procedure to have her eyeballs inked blue. 

When did your artistic journey begin?

I loved drawing since I was a child. It moved my imagination and provided a way to relax. Drawing was always around in one form or another, and the idea of studying architecture seemed an excellent way to take the passion into adulthood and work. The romantic aspect of architecture was a bubble that burst very quickly, but I always felt there’s more to be had. Moving to the UK was that drastic move that I hoped would help me learn more about myself. 

Tattooing people for a living wasn’t my first thought. Believe it or not, I was never actually a fan of tattoos! When I arrived in the UK, I started working as a beautician. It was a good job, but for me, I felt it lacked the creativity I craved. Luckily, my brother had started his journey with tattooing a while back. I was intrigued, and he didn’t need much encouragement to teach me the trade! Fast forward nine years and 70% of my body is tattooed, plus I finally get to do what I enjoy and get paid for it. 

How would you describe your creative process and modifications journey?

There’s a surprisingly fine line between body modifications and beauty treatment. In my opinion, the difference is that one is accepted by society, and the other is approached with curiosity. For me, it started with the socially accepted plastic surgery. Breasts and nose were first. Then I started taking an interest in what other things could be ‘changed’. Not everything was done to be ‘beautiful’. Some of the work was done for ‘fun’ or shock value like having my tongue split and getting an eyeball tattoo. The latter is pretty radical, but I still like it. It’s a mixture of ink colours, and I love how it shifts tones depending on the light. 

The journey of body modifications, tattoos and beauty treatment is certainly not over. I’m not a stranger to derma-fillers to shape the face or liposuction, and I certainly don’t think my curiosity will stop there. 

Do you face much stigma daily, and how do you deal with it?

Over the years, I discovered that people, in all their curiosity, do approach me with good intentions. A bit of fear but mostly an open heart and kindness. The UK is very open to body modification and tattoo trade, but every country is different. In France, some people cross the road when they see me, in Eastern Europe, older ladies cross themselves religiously when passing me on the street. Most of the time I find it amusing.

People quickly understand that my tattoos are simply an expression of the freedoms we enjoy in the 21st century. My way is to decide on the design of my body.

How would you describe your style?

I don’t think I have a style. My work evolves with time as I do as a person. I try to stay away from templates of tattoos done to death over the years. Frequently I’ll ask a customer to help me create something individual, something that goes with the story that has a piece of them in it. Sometimes, when the customers give me free-range, I try to compensate for this trust with an individual to formulate something very special. In these situations, I frequently let my imagination loose, but I do have a rich library of my designs, either done by hand or an iPad. The process of drawing and designing the next piece of work calms me like drawing always has. There’s no specific time when I feel particularly creative. I draw when emotion compels me. 

Do you have a favourite piece?

I have managed to bring quite a few designs of mine to life, and I don’t discriminate between them. I do, however, have tattoos that I still love, and these are the two sleeves done by Kris Wlodarski and few pieces done by my brother.

What has been your proudest career highlight to date?

Being a tattoo artist is not a conventional career choice, and so the development path or the career highs don’t tend to be predictable. I’ve been lucky enough to meet amazing people along the way, join a great tattoo family at Adrenalin Park Tattoos in Luton and change minds and perspectives of people that would never conceive of expressing themselves with body art. The work I do helps me connect with people and their lives. Some want to remember; some want to forget. Every tattoo has a story, and that’s uniform across the world.

What does 2020 have in store?

The year 2020 will hopefully continue on the path of discovery. Discovery of others and myself. I have always wanted to start sculpting classes or oil painting, and I feel I’ve been putting this away for too long. Luckily, it’s never too late to grow.