Your Tribal Tattoo in West Sussex, UK, with Neil Bass

Polynesian style tattoo is getting more and more popular in UK. People like the bold powerful black line, and also the fact that they can tell their own life story through specific symbols. Neil Bass is one of the few artists who know how to do it in UK. We interviewed him for you.


Phil for Tatau Awards: What styles do you like the best?

Neil: I try to do more of a fusion of styles, but my favourite is Samoan and Marquesan.

Phil: How did your Polynesian interest come about?

Neil: I saw the 'Modern Primitives' book and that just sparked an interest, the black designs on skin. I was then influenced by Curly's blackwork and friends own tattoos. It awakened an inner spirit.

Phil: Have you visited any of the islands?


Sadly not, although we have a very good friend called Croc who comes to visit us from Rarotonga once a year bringing island life with him.

Phil: Is Polynesian work popular amongst customers?

Neil: Not as much as we'd like :) But people tend to understand more and more what a Polynesian tattoo looks like, and more people are able to see who is doing it right and who understands the construction of Polynesian work. 

Phil: What do customers usually request?


Neil: A lot of customers use existing tattoos as reference but we make it very clear we will not reproduce another persons tattoo no matter what. One of the most popular images brought into the studio is that of The Rock. The work here evolves over time, from Marquesan, to a fusion of island styles to now, Samoan is the most popular style.

Phil:  What is their main motivation?

Neil: Sometimes it is due to needing a cover up of old or irrelevant work, strong Polynesian work has a good visual image on the body and works better than most things; sometimes it is just due to that visual effect. Rarely is it due to heritage though, but we are in the UK after all. 

Phil: A last word to share?

Neil: I still feel like a rookie when it comes to Polynesian work despite the years of experience tattooing. My style has evolved from my initial interests and I am lucky to have good friends in the industry doing blackwork, like Chris Higgins and Croc; as they also inspire me. 

Address of Tattoo FX shop:

141 Lower Church Road
Burgess Hill
West Sussex
RH15 9AA
Phone: 01444 243330

Instagram: @_tattoofx

See some outstanding work by Neil Bass, in Maori, Marquesan, Samoan and Polymix styles:

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