Guy Aitchison was only 16 when his sister Hannah asked him – completely out of the blue – “Hey, you wanna get a tattoo?”
This would be only the beginning of a beautiful journey in the world of ink for both of them. Guy admits he never put much thought into the topic before his older sister approached him. However, the idea appealed to him – immediately and strongly. The siblings didn’t lose much time. By the following week, both of them had an appointment at a small local shop.
Guy spent the week doodling and playing around with drawings and also his own designs for his first piece. He got himself so excited, it must’ve meant something. Little did he know that he has found his calling. His sister also would indulge in the amazing world of tattoos, and become one of the best.
Who Are They
Hannah and Guy Aitchison are siblings that got into the tattooing world almost by accident. Later they become some of the best and most renowned artists in the United States. Hannah is also famous for her appearance on the first two seasons of the TLC reality television tattoo show LA Ink.
Modern vs. Classical: Hannah Aitchison
Hannah Aitchison (born 1966) is Guy’s older sister. She is also among the best American tattoo artist in the past two decades. She is currently located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Most of all, she is an internationally-recognized, multi-award-winning artist. Hannah has lived and worked in many cities, Chicago, Los Angeles, London, and Pittsburgh to name a few. Also, her creative background includes 20 years of tattooing.
Most noteworthy, her style embraces both classical and modern-day illustration techniques. Hannah’s career has given her many wonderful opportunities to represent the tattoo trade in various media, including several seasons on successful reality TV shows.
In her early days, Hannah was also based in Chicago. Her main outlet was at Deluxe Tattoo for many years. Later she relocated to Pittsburgh, PA and opened her own studio – Curiosity Shop. There she worked in various mediums and curated a collection of antiques and oddities.
Hannah had interest in art since an early age and established a good name within the tattoo community in Chicago. Her original designs are very appreciated and often copied. Today she continues to travel the world and working at tattoo conventions and artist collectives. She loves to incorporate a rich variety of visual and cultural influences in her vivid and colourful tattoo work.
She is also well known for her amazing appearance on Seasons 1-2 of the TLC reality television show LA Ink, as well as 3 Seasons as a Judge on Oxygen Network’s Best Ink.
Guy Aitchison: Fast Forward
In 1988, after several years struggling as a freelance illustrator, Guy Aitchison finally landed a tattoo apprenticeship. His first job as an apprentice is at Bob Olson’s Custom Tattooing Shop. Right before that Guy was mainly helping young punk and metal bands. He was painting low-budget cover designs for their posters, flyers, and records for bands. Most noteworthy he works with artists such as Vinnie Moore, David Chastain, Apocrypha, Hex, Skatenigs, but mostly for California-based label Shrapnel Records.
Work & Fame
Late 80’s weren’t exactly a great time for tattooing. The profession was still very closed at the period. Only a small handful of shops operated in the entire Chicago metropolitan area. Sporadic ads for tattoo equipment were to be found in a few magazines. Bob Olson’s offer for apprenticeship felt like being accepted into Harvard. Young Guy embraced the opportunity with all of his energy.
He quickly found that tattooing is an artistic medium with a great deal of flexibility. He tried a lot of technical experimentation and personal expression, on the contrary to what he’d been told by most established tattoo artists.
Luckily, Guy wasn’t the only one to feel the need of new approaches in tattooing. At the time many young artists and newcomers were exploring newer variations to the more traditional approach of tattooing.
Aitchison’s fame came in quick, but not without a lot of work involved. After a year at Bob Olson’s, Guy was on to his first magazine article. After that, he was steady in front of the public eye, and more people got interested in his work. Rob Zombie got his first tattoo by Guy in 1989. Aitchison was only 21.
Tattooing & Painting
In two and a half decades he has countless feedback: magazine features (Outlaw Biker, Tattoo Review, Skin Art), appearances in fine art books, a handful of TV and radio appearances.
As of today, most of Guy Aitchison’s efforts are focusing online, as well as in publishing educational and fine art books for the tattoo industry. Among the most important editions are Scratch Art, Organica, and Innerstate.
After leaving Olson, Guy opened his own tattoo shop. He named his studio Guilty & Innocent Productions and it remained a top standing shop until 1998. After that Guy shut it down and moved to the countryside, focusing on painting.