We talk to Angel Grace, one of the most iconic lettering and graffiti artists contributing to the London vibe.
Tattoos and graffiti have an underlying kindred spirit that co-exist between the artists that fit within these two genres. Rarely crossing over, there was one person who caught my eye.
Internationally recognised for her lettering skills, harnessed from working with henna tattoos at the age of 15, she now has a powerful Instagram following, amassing some 26,000 followers who have a growing interest in her talent.
A keen eye for attention to detail has seen her work displayed in some of London’s key focal points for graffiti, including Shoreditch. Her input in Graffiti, combined with her unique take on tattoos created at her studio, has evolved into a growing brand.
We all desire to leave a mark in our lifetime, remembered for something we have achieved or done. Angel’s story would appeal to those who perhaps can identify with creativity and develop a career.
By her admission, her influence came from watching a few guys doing temporary tattoos on a beach in Cabo Frio, Brazil, aged between 8 and 9 years of age.
That would later prove to be the spark that would forge a career from a passion and see her become a brand recognised for her work with lettering and her influence on graffiti.
Her story is one of overcoming resistance for her chosen professional path and how she has turned a social media following into a fan base that appreciates and embraces both her creative art forms.
My early memories of watching the Rock Steady Crew breakdancing to a backdrop of beautifully coloured tags certainly take me back to when Angel’s skill set was regarded as taboo, meeting resistance to those who believed that they had a negative influence on society.
Celebrities and influencers have made these forms of art embody culture worldwide. London is no exception, and it has now proudly accepted it, promoting creativity and diversity. Certainly sold on how it has impacted the vibe of London and all its splendour, I managed to catch up with Angel to talk about her journey.
“Don’t get down with difficult times, as sometimes, creatively speaking; it’s hard to maintain your best work or grow as an artist”.Angel Grace
Did you find your industry, or did it find you?
I’m originally from Cabo Frio in Brazil, a far cry from Camden. I could draw even before I could write; I must have been 8 or 9 years old when I was captivated by a few guys on the beach doing temporary tattoos. That was a defining moment in my life; even at such a young age, I instinctively knew that it was something that I wanted to do.
When did you realise that you had a talent?
At age 3, my mum said that paper and pencil would keep me quiet. I recall making a small stamp amplified bigger on a piece of paper using just my eye. My mum still has one of these first sketches. I was never great in academic-based subjects, but I excelled in arts and creative subjects.
Who was your influence?
Before the tattooing, my auntie introduced me to tattoos, piercings and hardcore bands, and I loved the way people expressed themselves in that industry. I remember checking magazines in my early days of tattooing, which was the only medium to see different tattoos and top artists’ work. Artists such as Becinho from Rio De Janeiro (@becinhotattoo), Shimada, who is half Japanese and half Brazilian (@shimadatattoobrasil), and my friend Jorge Santana (@jorgesantana13) all played a part in my story.
Did you meet with any resistance from family or friends?
Yes, I did, quite a lot. As much as I had support from my auntie, my mum was devastated when I told her that I wanted to pursue tattooing as a career. It was tough to get into, as I was a girl, young, no tattoos and at that time, the industry was almost entirely made up of men. From my memory, girls were more involved with piercings.
If I asked your best friend to describe you, what would they tell me?
Angel is strong, crazy, in a good way, bold in her approach to work, willing to try a number of different artistic mediums, and a great collaborator.
How has your industry changed over the last five years? Why?
Social media has allowed artists to reach a wider audience than ever before. It has also helped to reach out to different artists and shops, which has made a significant impact, especially for the self-employed, where promotion was solely done by the shops they worked in.
How do you think your industry will change in the next five years?
Maybe it would be nice to believe that there will be half-human, half cyborg tattooists who can read your mind before you walk into the shop, so gone are the days with consultations where people want a sleeve but have no idea how it will come together.
Name just one challenge of being well known.
More exposure means more customer enquiries, which can take you away from the actual work itself.
How important is social media to you both professionally and personally? Why?
It is absolutely fundamental to my work and career because of the networking. It provides exposure to different artists throughout the world was a game-changer for my career.
Name something you like doing to disconnect from work.
Graffiti is up there on my list as my preferred method to disconnect from everything and everyone.
Name something that makes you unique.
The grace of God in my life and that I’m a born again Christian.
Do you have regular working hours?
No, It depends on where I’m working and what is in my diary.
Do you think competition is a good thing? Why?
Yes, it can be, especially for stimulating creativity to whole new levels.
“Don’t listen to outside doubters or even self-doubts”.Angel Grace
How has the Pandemic affected your industry?
It has been challenging and completely sucks but gave me more time to realise how self-exposure through social media and creating your own brand is key to staying afloat in the industry.