As I sat down on my seat in Bath’s Assembly Rooms waiting for the Embellishing Bodies talk, I knew that the subject was heavily focused on tattoos, but I was unaware of just how far the subject could span across a two-hour conversation.
Before we were introduced to tattoo artist Mo Coppoletta, Lizzie Heffer, the director of marketing at Thrings law firm and the sponsor for the evening, quoted Miss Coco Chanel: ‘Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.’ With this in mind, we were then presented with an intense video that briefly highlighted Mo’s world before we were introduced to the man that’s spent the past twenty years developing and perfecting his art into a prestigious business.
Mo first became interested in tattoos simply because ‘they were cool’. He admitted that he never drew in school and wasn’t very interested in art until he discovered the popularity of tattooing. Born in Italy, Mo followed the craze to London where punk and grunge influences meant that tattoos were seen as a taboo statement. So, when Mo opened his parlour – The Family Business – in 2003, his focus was to show the world that tattoos are a part of formal expression and therefore an art form – one that he believes will never die out.
Mo talked much about the bespoke service that The Family Business provides and the serious manner in which all 25 artists work. Each customer is directed to the artist most suited to their specific idea. It then takes two consultations for the artist to design a unique piece. Mo refuses to do walk-in appointments at The Family Business; he wants to ensure that each customer is in the right mind-set and each artist is happy with what they’ve created.
Conversation moved on to how the media and those in the limelight have ensured that the business of tattooing stays alive. Although Mo did not comment on any celebrities that he has worked with, it is believed he may have tattooed singer Paloma Faith, designing three birds on her back. Mo stated that all clients are treated equally and The Family Business prides themselves on their confidentiality and non-bias mentality to improve business.
Outside of The Family Business, Mo has a large list of brands he has collaborated with, including Liberty, Ralph Lauren, Romain Jerome and Damien Hirst. Mo explains that working on skin and working on silk, for example with Liberty, requires a completely different mind-set. He expressed his appreciation to be able to collaborate with such different industries, as they enable him to explore many different medias, from fashion to modern art.
I left filled with excitement and knowledge, my mind processing everything Mo had said. Who better to learn from than one of the world’s most famous tattoo artists? And one with a two-year waiting list! Mo is the real deal and left us with his top tip for anyone thinking about getting a tattoo: avoid impulse decisions – wait and research!