In September, Derm-Ink partnered up with Sarah & Lee, tattooer and barber from Brighton England during their guest spot in Paris at The Ground Control. The couple have been traveling around the World, and we’ve been following them through their random encounters to share their passion for tattooing and barbering. Now, they are staying in Australia and will soon come back to Europe…
Lee has been a barber for 18 years. When he met Sarah, she was a graphic designer. He soon discovers her secret hobby : the hand poke tattoo. With only a needle and a chopstick, she inks tattoos onto people’s skin : an ancient method, which takes slightly longer but is surprisingly less painful.
Together, they opened their own parlor HMP Tattoo & Barbers but, after two years of intensive work Lee & Sarah started to feel cramped. They dreamt about traveling and pictured themselves exploring the exotic lands of South America and Africa. On the spur of the moment, they finally buy one way plane tickets to Peru, sell the shop and return their apartment keys. Thus, starting their new adventure…
With just their scissors and needles, Lee & Sarah spend a month experiencing Peruvian life – mixing with the people and participating in everyday village life, offering haircuts or tattoos to the local folks.
Straight after their adventures in Peru and cutting hair in the Amazon Rainforest – In September, they arrive in Paris. During the whole month, they put up their « pop-up » parlor by the river La Seine, at The Ground Control underneath the « Cité de la Mode et du Design ».
Blown away by the technique and the beautiful texture of Sarah’s tattoos, Derm-Ink, the french tattoo after-care, decided to partner up with the artist. After we learned about Lee & Sarah’s project to travel the World on a mission to explore the diversity of cultures and to exchange skills around the world – We decided to maintain the partnership beyond the french frontiers and follow them through their journey.
In October, the barber and the tattooer left Paris for Portugal where they spent two weeks in Lagos. A friend tells them about a tattoo parlor in Australia which might welcome them as guest artists. Sarah’s aunt lives in Brisbane in Australia, but they had not had any contact in 15 years… Never mind, it’s a start! So the nomadic couple took off.
On the spot, they buy a van and cross over 5000 km of desert to reach the studio Stay True Tattoo, the only tattoo shop in Alice Springs, a small town right in the middle of this huge country.
The tattoo parlor’s team and the locals are really welcoming. Luckily, « Stay True Tattoo » had just opened a barber shop within their studio called « Stay Trimmed Barbershop » – Perfect for the duo to work side by side. With Lee being the ONLY barber in Alice Springs, he shares his knowledge of cutting and shaving to a « home taught » barber, while Sarah tattoos with her « needles and chopsticks », giving the place the chance to experience a tattooing technique that has never been seen before.
To further understand the way of life in the remote areas of this « middle of nowhere » town, Lee volunteers at a community center and offers fresh hair cuts and cut throat shaves to the senior indigenous men who come to this center, « The purple house« .
After another epic road trip totally a further 5000km, they arrive back in Brisbane to spend the New Year Eve celebrations in Byron Bay. Just a two hours drive down the east coast, the eastern headland of Australia is a popular destination for surfers and backpackers. A very drastic change of atmosphere, in comparison to the dessert land of Alice Springs! On the campsite, they open their « pop-up » studio once again and offer their barber an tattoo services to all the young surfers who are spending their vacation on the coast.
The last step of the trip is Melbourne. After a 3 day drive to this amazing city, within 24 hours of being here, they decide that the city isn’t really for them. They want to further experience the way of life in remote rural areas of Australia, so they immediately vacate the coastline city, and head straight back into a 3000km road trip into the desert plains of the Northern Territory.
« We miss the outback. We miss the desert landscapes, we miss seeing the kangaroos jumping freely across the dirt tracks, and we miss the people… We now know that we want to experience and learn more about these remote communities and the people that live there. Going to a modern city would just be like home and that’s too comfortable for us – We want to experience and explore.«
They will be back in England in mid February to visit the family and after 2 weeks, they will take to the road again! Leaving it to chance to decide, they do not know what their next plan will be…
Lee & Sarah travel around the world, feel free to contact them to know what their next stop!
January 13 to 31 – guest at Stay True Tattoo – Alice Spring – Australia