Design: Girls Don’t Cry – Niamh Gannon


Posted 8 months ago in Design

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A new tattoo parlour in the city has a quarter of women at the helm. We hear from each of them as to how their business and partnership came about. 

Niamh Gannon

How long have you all been tattooing?

I’ve been tattooing professionally for just under 3 years now.

How long does it take to learn the skills needed to do it professionally?

It’s definitely a journey and the learning is a constant process. Everyone learns at a different pace, so there’s no definitive answer, but work-wise, you definitely get out of it what you put in.

Where did you hone your craft?

I learned from a lot of different artists along the way but I credit the vast majority of what I learned to Iain, Antone & Maja. They picked up my confidence when it had been knocked and taught me so much from each of their styles which has all been beneficial in developing my own way of tattooing today.

How did Girls Don’t Cry come about? Had you all worked together before?

The four of us had all worked together and knew we all got along really well. One day we just decided we wanted a quieter life and it was time to make the jump to the next chapter, and hence a private studio was formed. We threw a lot of names out and Girls Don’t Cry was the one that felt right.

How would you describe your individual styles?

One of the main things I love is how different all our styles are. I’ve always loved American traditional tattooing, and from the start that’s where I knew I wanted to end up. Now I get to do bold, bright, timeless tattoos every day. It’s important to me that my tattoos heal well and look good in 20+ years time so I’m always trying to ensure that’s the case.

Tattooing has blown up globally in the last few years and that has created a lot of competition and opportunity in the market. What’s your approach for Girls Don’t Cry and making sure you stand out from all the others?

Honestly, I don’t think we have any particular approach. We all work seamlessly together and everything just kind of flows naturally. We’re all just there to do some good tattoos, work hard and just have the laughs while creating a comfortable atmosphere for our clients. I’ve never seen anybody as my competition. All I want is for each tattoo I do to be better than the last and to constantly push myself outside of my comfort zone. If we continue to do that, I hope the work will speak for itself and that GDC will be somewhere that people automatically gravitate to.

How has it been setting up a new studio in the middle of this global challenge?

It’s been crazy throwing your life savings into something while there’s always another potential lockdown around the corner, but there’s no doubt in my mind that we will sacrifice what we have to to make it work.

Any advice you would give to others considering carving their own paths and creating their own luck.

Work hard, and when you think you’re working hard enough, push harder. Every late night and panic attack will be worth it in the end.

Who are your tattoo heroes here in Dublin and globally?

There are so many artists who inspire me. I’ve always felt it particularly important to support other female artists. We’ve been the underdogs, but the industry is changing and, through hard work, female artists are garnering the respect they deserve. I am hugely inspired by the work of Claudia DeSabe, Valerie Vargas and Gaia Leone as well as other artists like Robert Ryan, (work below) Sway and Kojo Ichimaru.

What are the main tracks blasting the GDC stereo at the moment?

We all have very different music tastes but they all mash together! Right now we’re listening to the new Deftones album, some Phoebe Bridgers, Fontaines DC and any emo that came out in 2005 which was hands down the best year for music ever.

If you were to boil down the Girls Don’t Cry ethos, attitude and energy into one statement, what would it be?

Play hard, work harder.

18 Eustace Street, Dublin 2 (currently closed under level 5 lockdown restrictions)

words: Richard Seabrooke

photos: Gary Cullen

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