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Eat Work Art SPOTLIGHT: Rita Nouvelle

Rita Nouvelle is a Portuguese queer tattoo artist recognised for their distinctive line-work.

Having started tattooing in 2013, Rita has since travelled the world with their craft, with a particular passion for bringing organic objects - especially animals - to life through their work.

Rita Nouvelle portrait

Would you mind introducing yourself and telling us a bit about your work?

Hi, I’m Rita aka Nouvelle Rita.

I’m a Portuguese queer tattoo artist, I’ve been tattooing since 2013 and been lucky enough that my work has taken me all over the world doing guest spots and meeting incredible people.

I’ve been living in London for 4 years now and moved my studio (Nouvelle Studio) to EWA in December 2021.

My work is very minimalist in that I mostly use lines to give all sense of shape, light, and volume to my pieces. It was a style born of necessity as when I started tattooing I wanted to practice line-work before I introduced any other techniques and in the process ended up developing something that doesn’t need anything else to work other than lines, so I stuck with it. It’s a very challenging medium and style so it has kept me interested all these years.

I prefer using organic objects as my main subject, like animals, plants, or people.

Can you tell us what your day-to-day looks like as a tattoo artist?

I’m not a morning person, so I usually only start working around 12pm. I have a very long morning routine which helps me get ready (mentally and emotionally) to be around people since that’s a big part of my job, and as an introvert, it doesn’t come as naturally to me.

If I’m tattooing, then I come into the studio, put some nice music on and get the space ready to receive my client. Then I’ll do their tattoo, making sure throughout the appointment that they are as comfortable as possible. Depending on how long the tattoo takes (sometimes only a couple of hours, sometimes 6 hours straight) I’ll then have something to eat and hang out for a bit in the studio or I’ll head home for the night.

If I’m not tattooing I’ll be home drawing for appointments, and taking care of other admin work like bookings, emails, and merchandise. It’s not as glamorous or cool as people might think!

I do pottery as a hobby and have recently started embroidering, I feel the need to have other artistic outlets that don’t involve drawing, for fun.

In the evenings I’ll either go to the gym, see friends or stay home and snuggle up.

Rita in the studio

A piece of advice or something you've learned along the way to make it in your industry?

I’ve learned that you’re allowed to carve the path you want to take. You can live the life you want to live, there isn’t a specific path that everyone needs to follow to be able to be a tattoo artist.

I think doing something that brings you joy and that you’re passionate about will ultimately bring you people who like what you are doing, so it’s best to do what you love rather than try to fill some kind of “gap” in the industry.

I’ve built my routine in a way that works best for my rhythm, and I’ve finally found a good balance between life and work that keeps me from burning out and being in physical pain all the time.

It hasn’t been easy or smooth getting to where I am now but it has been worth it.

I think you also need to be quite an empathetic person, to be aware of your client's needs even if sometimes they don’t want to “bother” you with them. You need to be able to put your client’s comfort and happiness above your expectations and that takes sensibility, time, and practice too.

Anything exciting coming up?

Very recently I’ve hosted the first couple of international guest artists at the studio and I’m excited about continuing to offer my space to talented people from around the world and giving people in the UK the opportunity to get tattoos from great artists.

At the beginning of this month, I also started sharing the space with my friend and colleague Yuki Zerkjad. She’s an amazing artist and person, and I’m excited for this new chapter of expanding and sharing.

Studio close up

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