Ink King

Tattoo artist Joe Bird ready to be a high flyer.

Tattoo artist Joe ‘Birdyy’ Bird is so popular his appointment diary is full months in advance.

What’s even more remarkable is that he bought his first tattoo machine about four years ago.

Joe has opened his own studio, High Flyers Tattoo Studio at Hoults Yard, and explained: “It’s been a whirlwind ride really, I still feel like I’m just starting out and to be opening my own studio is really exciting.”

Joe has had various jobs – working in a call centre, a supermarket, at Nissan, as a road worker and a personal trainer – but his passion has always been art.

Burgeoning career

“I’ve always enjoyed drawing and art was my best subject at school. It was a big thing for me when I was little – I suppose I could be a bit reclusive, but I got lost in drawing,” he explained.

It was his artistic talent that led to his burgeoning career.

“I’d gone with a friend to watch him get a tattoo at the Sakura Tattoo Studio in Gosforth. I was bored so started drawing. John Moscrop, one of the tattooists, saw what I’d drawn and asked if I’d be interested in learning how to tattoo people.

“I’d never really thought about it before, but said ‘yes,’ bought a machine and under John’s guidance learned how to use it. I practiced on fake skins and have just developed from there. I was running a gym at the time, but took the decision to close it down and concentrate on tattooing.

“John supervised me while I learned and worked at Sakura. I was still working for my uncle’s Tarmacking company, but after eight months, went full time as a tattoo artist. I moved to another shop in Heaton, TRW Tattoo, but now feel ready to start my own studio.

” Joe focuses on the ‘black and gray realism’ style of tattooing, creating life-like, almost photographic tattoos. The style is thought to have originated in prisons, where inmates had limited access to any other colours.

“I’m in the fortunate position to be able to do the type of tattoos I like. I have a style that I stick to, and I won’t just do any tattoo. I’m very focused on what I do, very professional. You’re changing the way someone looks so you have to do take it very seriously – and I do.

“Some people give me free rein, others are very specific. A client will message me with an idea of what they want and where they want the tattoo. I’ll draw something up and show them, but there’s a lot of back and forwards on Instagram, often before I actually meet the client.

“Say if they want an Oriental themed sleeve with a portrait, I’ll research imagery, collect reference photos and then show them the options on my iPad. Most people are happy with my suggestions, but until I actually start on the tattoo, the discussion continues. The final design process can sometimes be in the first session,” he explained.

Joe is very precise about what he wanted for High Flyers Tattoo Studio.

I looked around online, found the Yard and came to have a look – it was exactly what I wanted.”

Joe Bird High
Flying Tattoos

Ink King Art

A couple of examples of Joe’s ‘black and gray realism’ style of tattooing.

Creative feel

“It took me a while to find the right space, it had to be big enough and somewhere where I could create what I want, in an area with some energy and somewhere easy to get to. I looked around online, found the Yard and came to have a look – it was exactly what I wanted. It has become a cool area of Newcastle and is so diverse – there are bakeries, Ghetto Golf, a patisserie and a brewery – on top of a whole range of businesses. I also love the creative feel to the place and the Hush street art. I love the vibe here.”

Charlie Hoult added: “It’s been great to welcome Joe, and his new studio will further diversify the Yard. Our vibe is attracting an increasingly wide range of tenants – next door to The High Flyers studio is a patisserie, on the other side is a Greek street food specialist, while we also have trendy barbers and beauty studios, the region’s best doughnut maker, Full Circle Brewery, Ghetto Golf and 2Knives American diner.

Follow Joe’s work on Instagram – at @joebirdtattoo

Over the years, Hoults Yard has evolved into a great place to work and also a destination for relaxing and socialising too. With a great mix of places to eat, drink, relax and have fun, let us help you plan your perfect day out at Hoults Yard.