A Blackpool tattoo artist has made history as the first English artist ever to come out on top at a famous New York tattoo competition.
Nathan Heywood, 24, who works at Revival Tattoos in Blackpool, won third place in the convention’s ‘best colour’ and ‘best neo traditional’ categories at the Westchester Tattoo Convention on October 16.
The convention is the second biggest in the world and attracts seasoned artists from all over the globe to try their skills in a range of tattoo competitions.
Nathan, who lives at Easington Crescent in Normoss, said: “Winning was indescribable. I was in shock - I don’t think it sank in until I was on the flight home!”
The father-of-two fought off 15 other artists to become the first ever English person to win the coveted third prize.
The winning tattoo depicted a silver lantern in front of a red and yellow rose.
Nathan said: “It was a memorial tattoo. The lady I did it on wanted something in memory of her mother who had died of cancer.
“It was supposed to symbolise ‘never losing your flame’ no matter what.
“It was a really humbling experience.”
Nathan made his first mark as a tattoo artist seven years ago after completing an art course at Blackpool and The Fylde College.
He said: “I got into tattooing because I wanted to make a permanent mark.
“When you make a print you can lose it or throw it away.
“When you make a tattoo its there forever.”
He joined the Revival Tattoo team as an artist two years ago.
Since then he has gone on to become the Whitegate Drive studio’s top specialist in covering up old and faded tattoos with bold ‘neo traditional’ style patterns.
He said: “Neo traditional tattoos are all about bright colours. When you get a realistic tattoo it’s always soft and fades over time.
“Neo traditional tattoos are made to last, so they will still look good in 10 years time.”
He added that he hoped his recent win would help boost the popularity of neo traditional artwork.
He said: “I already have a two-month waiting list - but now I think its going to get even longer.”
Revival Tattoos manager Mark ‘Geordie’ Stephenson said: “We’re so proud of Nathan. We hope it’s going to raise the profile of the studio.
“We want to raise the profile of the whole of Blackpool.
“Nathan being the first English person to win an award at the convention is amazing and hopefully next year we can go back and maybe win second or even first prize.”