A local tattoo artist has made the hallowed pages of international Skin Deep magazine and rubbed shoulders with real ink royalty.
Murray Robertson of Grangemouth’s Studio IX has been a busy boy of late. Not only has some of his work graced the pages of the UK’s leading tattoo magazine, he has also had the joy of seeing his beloved tattoo studio top a special poll carried out by the famous mag.
Murray said: “They did a double page spread on us and had a lot of good things to say about the studio. This is a big deal for a small studio from Grangemouth - especially one that has only been open for two years.
“They had a special supplement called ‘40 Supercool Tattoo Studios You Should Know About’ and they put us at number one - number one in the UK. A studio from Grangemouth number one in the UK?
“That takes your breath away when you consider just how many top studios this country has. The magazine’s editor wrote to me and said we were definitely a studio they wanted to keep their eye on, so it seems the magazine is confident we are going places.”
When Murray, who runs Studio IX with wife Gayle, is not busy creating mini-masterpieces on various body parts he hits the convention circuit to help build up Studio IX’s reputation.
He said: “We have been attending some very large tattoo conventions where we have banners printed up with our shop logo and Grangemouth written on it, just so everyone knows where we come from.
“At one convention we did a tattoo for a precious gem dealer in exchange for a diamond and sapphire ring, which was a good deal for Gayle. We also met Louis Malloy, who tattooed David Beckham and was the star of ‘London Ink’.
Murray will be heading for London’s “Great British Tattoo Show” and then driving to Doncaster for the UK’s largest tattoo convention, which features over 300 artists from all over the UK and beyond.
There’s still time for the talented illustrator, who only turned his hand to tattoos relatively recently, to add new techniques to his craft and discover more about the history of the art.
“I’m going to learn the art of Bamboo Tattooing from a Thai master I met at a convention. This is a very rare thing to happen and, as far as I am aware, the first time he has ever shown anyone how to do it.
“This is part of an ongoing personal project I have to revive ancient Scottish, Pictish and Celtic tattooing. Using bamboo to tattoo is the closest I can get to the historic technique’s used in Scotland’s past.
“We’re going to Russia later in the year to study some ancient Scythian tattooed mummies at a museum in St.Petersburg. These are the oldest known tattoos found intact and are around 3500 years old.
“I think I’ve found links between their art and our own Pictish traditions.”