Tattoo artist and activist Grace Neutral explores how younger generations are challenging traditional views of beauty standards around the world.
Grace Neutral uses social media to represent her work very well. This is the message that welcomes us at her Facebook page. With more than half a million followers, she is one of the most popular hand-poke tattoo artists today.
Who is Grace Neutral
Grace Neutral was born in Dubai on 29 March 1989 as Grace Walker. She is an aspiring tattoo artist, specializing in hand poke tattoos based in the United Kingdom. She is also a TV presenter, model, and body modification advocate. One of her most notable television appearances is the 2016 I-D magazine (Vice Media) documentary “Beyond Beauty”.
Grace spent most of her childhood traveling around the world with her family. Eventually, she settled in the UK. There she attended the Plymouth College – an independent school based in southwest England.
At 20 years of age, she relocated to London, where she lives and works until the present day.
From ballerina to a tattoo artist
Grace Neutral is a trained ballerina, dancing since a very young age. She was training with the Royal Ballet, but a serious injury ends her ballet career. Following the injury, she became interested in body modifications and culture. Later on, this interest became her main life and career focus.
She has numerous body modifications. Most of them are considered pretty extreme. A bifurcated (split) tongue, eyeball tattoos, structurally altered earlobes, a completely removed navel, extensive facial scarification as well as lots of tattoos and various piercings.
Neutral entered the body modification industry as a piercer. She got into freehand and hand-poke tattooing in early 2012. Grace used to work at Good Times Tattoo. She attended the 2014 London Tattoo Convention with them. After that, she relocated to Kids Love Ink East. Grace is currently working at Old Habits tattoo studio, based in Haggerston, London.
Tattoos and Body Modifications
Grace says she decided to modify her body to reflect her inner self. She was only 21 when she had her tongue bifurcation – a procedure she admits was painful, but also cathartic.
“I had to learn to speak again… Your tongue is actually two separate muscles. That’s why the split works so well,” Grace explained in a recent interview with The Debrief. “You can individually control each part. It’s literally the funniest thing ever.”
Neutral also has numerous facial scarifications and also had her belly button removed. Her pointy ears mod that makes her “look like a pixie” took the longest time to fix and heal, but she admits that her eyeball tattoos were the scariest of her mods.
She has been praised by her thousands of followers, but she was also criticized for her choice of self-expression. However, Grace believes that most people have been very accepting of her unique appearance. This includes her parents:
“My folks got a bit freaked out about it but they realized it wasn’t a phase, it was part of my identity,” she recently told Sang Bleu Magazine. “They get it and accept me for who I am.”
TV and video appearances
Besides her career in tattooing, Grace Neutral has taken part in various television series, as well as other appearances. She is featured in the 2015 Phaze What music video “Tokyo”.
In 2016 she was also the presenter of I-D Magazine’s documentary “Beyond Beauty” aired on Viceland in 2016. Neutral is currently the presenter of another Viceland series – “Needles and Pins” – which documents tattoo culture around the world.