Tattoo London: Lal Hardy of New Wave Tattoo

By spetty on 4 Jan 2015

The museum’s upcoming exhibition, Tattoo London, will reveal four contemporary tattoo studios in the capital, as well as offering some insight into the history of professional tattooing in London. Over the next few weeks we will be introducing four tattooists from the studios featured in the exhibition. Today we introduce Lal Hardy of New Wave Tattoo.

Tattooist Lal Hardy © Kate Berry

Lal Hardy © Kate Berry

Lal Hardy was born in London in 1958. He started experimenting with tattooing as a teenager and was just 21 years old when he opened New Wave Tattoo in Muswell Hill. He was inspired by family members who had been tattooed during their time in the military, and the Teddy Boy revival of the 1970s. Lal’s work is traditional and often reflects London culture and he has tattooed footballers from north London clubs, as well as celebrities including Dave Grohl. Lal has been tattooed by over 70 artists from around the world.

When New Wave first opened, Lal had to make up his own needles as prepared kit wasn’t available. He taught himself how to solder and produced all his stencils by hand. New Wave began as a small back room shop with a flat above, but now covers two floors of the building, with work stations for eight artists.

Tattoo London is a free exhibition. It opens on 29 January. Meet Lal and the other artists and learn more about the cultural history of tattooing at our event: Tattoo London:Under the Skin on 22 February. Find out more and book tickets on our website.


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