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Mo Coppoletta: "If you want to succeed in tattooing, you need to breathe, eat, drink and smell tattooing."

One of the world’s most respected tattoo artists shares his inspiration and an insight into his work in the new book ‘Tattooed By The Family Business’.

He established his tattoo parlour in 2003 in the heart of London with the aim of creating a new setting for tattoo enthusiasts. Having built an enviable reputation within the industry, he’s now revealed images of his work and studio, as well as testimonials from clients.

Singer Paloma Faith said “I've known Mo for a while, actually, my friend worked as a receptionist at the Family Business, so I knew his work, knew how good he is. When I decided to get a tattoo I wanted only him to do it, even though he's in such a huge demand that it is a long really long wait, because of the fact that it is forever, and I wanted something that could age with me.”

"The Master Tattooist" is a new exhibition by Jack Vettriano which contains imagery from the book created by Italian photographer Fredi Marcarini. The two met during a magazine shoot for Italian magazine, Monsieur, and have since collaborated on several projects, including pieces which inspired the work in Vettriano’s exhibition, Days of Wine and Roses.

Vettriano said “I’ve always been attracted to the retro appeal of tattoos. To me there’s something so romantic about the commitment a person makes in having the name of a loved one, a place or even an idea inscribed, forever, on their bodies. We literally wear our heart on our sleeves.”

“A tattoo is a poetic and artistic creation and a truly great tattoo can only be created by a true artist. It was a great privilege for me to have mine created by Mo Coppoletta, who is first of all an artist and then a master tattooist.”

“Wander into The Family Business and you have entered an artist’s studio; the walls adorned with drawings and paintings; memorabilia and found objects scattered around; the music playing only partially masking the incessant buzzing of the tattoo machines, a soundtrack that just adds to the experience. It’s a melting pot of creativity in there; sights, sounds and smells all around you, stimulating all your senses but the moment you surrender to your artist, the experience becomes oddly private, calm and intimate between just the two of you. Choose your artist with care.”

Photographer Marcarini also commented on the precision of Coppoletta’s work:

“Unusually for a tattoo artist, Mo looks like a “regular” guy, he could be an architect, or a tax lawyer, one would never bet his real profession. But when he wears his glasses and his gloves and start carving a skin, he has that look of seriousness and attention of the artist for the work he is attending to. I studied his expression on the many pictures I shot of him while he was working, the movement of his hand, the marvel of the colours of the drawing, the satisfied look on his face when cleaning the finished job, and I could see the different faces of the artist, the manager, the business man, and the interesting and amusing man when outside the parlour.”

Their aim is to reflect the status of the tattoo as a truly twenty-first century art form, and the exhibition will be displayed at Heartbreak, a new gallery opening in Marylebone, London from the 16th September.

Click here or on the image to view a selection of the images from the exhibition