Television fame beckons as Luke makes his mark on tattoo world

Date: Tuesday 4th April 2017
Luke Sayer at work in episode one of the TV series.
Luke Sayer at work in episode one of the TV series.

A TATTOO artist who grew up in Penrith has beaten hundreds of other applicants to feature on E4 show Tattoo Artist of the Year.

Luke Sayer, aged 24, is one of 10 professional tattoo artists on the program, which aims to find the nation’s best all-round tattooist.

The series, which starts today, will be judged by acclaimed tattoo artists Rose Hardy and Jay Hutton.

In each episode, tattoo artists will compete against the clock in challenges designed to push them to their limits. A contender will be eliminated in each episode until only one remains and is crowned champion.

Luke, who attended Beaconside Primary School and Ullswater Community College in the town, applied for the show after friends told him about it. After sending photographs of his work in his application, he was interviewed by video.

Luke, who specialises in realistic “black and grey” tattoos, soon found out he would be one of the contestants. “I really didn’t know what to expect. It doesn’t feel real until you are doing it,” he said.

The series was filmed over several weeks at the Rivoli Ballroom, London. It is the last intact 1950s ballroom in the capital and has featured in films including Legend, the movie based around gangsters Ronnie and Reggie Kray.

“I think it’s the whole experience of doing something like that,” said Luke. “It’s a once in a lifetime for me, totally different to what I would do normally.”

He has always enjoyed art, and went to Kendal College to study fine art after finishing school. While there, he also worked part-time to be able to afford tattoo supplies, practising on close friends and family.

He then began working at Samsara Custom Tattoo, Kendal, where he is still employed.

People are now coming from all over the world to be inked by Luke, and his books have already been closed for the remainder of the year as he has a five-year backlog. He also recently tattooed Gaz Beadle, of reality TV series Geordie Shore.

Luke, whose mother, Linda Richardson, and brother Ben, aged 16, live in Penrith, said the support from friends and family had been “overwhelming”.