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Inspired by 1920’s style photographs, the kiwi artist Rose Hardy has become one of the most popular Traditional American tattooists in the world.

Coming from an artistic family, Rose was always encouraged to draw, paint, color and sculpt for as long as she can remember. She was influenced by her father, who was mainly a wood sculptor though he painted in watercolor, oils and acrylic. With that kind of upbringing and having tattooed parents, she was encouraged to pursue tattooing, which she did (good for us!).

Rose Hardy

The Beginning of It all

At age 19, one of Rose’s friends was getting a back piece by Adam Craft and he asked Adam if she could come to the session to watch and do some of the tattoo (crazy, right?). She met Adam for the first time and he handed her the machine so she could do some black whip shading on her friend’s back.

Rose Hardy doing tattoo

Rose has done artwork for a few advertising companies. The first was three portrait paintings of the finalists for best female vocalist for the Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards. Another one was composition and working drawings for the latest Fisherman’s Friend campaign. Besides tattooing, Rose also paints, and has been involved in many group exhibitions over the years. She had her first sell out, solo show ‘Midnight Ocean’ at Outr’e Gallery in Melbourne in 2013.

Living in the Big Apple

After some years of apprenticeship Down Under, Rose moved between Auckland, Melbourne, Brisbane and London every few months for years. She met and learned from so many great people all over the world. Eventually found a new home in New York City and also a shop to work at, the Kings Avenue Tattoo.

Rose Hardy tattoo of face

Rose says the New York City tattoo scene isn’t too different than Melbourne’s. However, she points out the main difference with tattooing in New York is the lifestyle – and not just with tattooing. People work very hard and very long hours. They work hard in New Zealand or Australia. But there is a bigger emphasis in New York to work, work, work. “In Melbourne it’s like, “I’ve made enough money today, I’m going to knock off at 6pm and go have a cocktail.” In New York, if there is money to be made you make it” she says.

Rose Hardy full back tattoo

Feminine Power

You can see on Rose’s style that she focus on adding a soft yet impactful feminine touch to her drawings. When she started,  most tattooers she worked with or looked up to were guys. And she wanted to tattoo like no one else. With a focus on Traditional Americana meets Realism, Rose Hardy has made a name for herself. Her style developed over the years and is definitely one of the most recognizable ones out there.

You can see Rose on E4’s Tattoo Artist of The Year, along side Jay Hutton or as guest judge of Spike TV Ink Master. We’ve selected some of her best work.

Rose Hardy hand tattoos

Rose Hardy butterfly tattoo

Rose Hardy eye and owl tattoo

Rose Hardy owl tattoo

Rose Hardy woman tattoo

Rose Hardy clown tattoo

Rose Hardy bird and flowers

Rose Hardy female

Rose Hardy woman face

Rose Hardy woman with roses

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