There have been some pretty exciting rumblings coming from the America Ground area of Hastings New Town recently: news of the redevelopment of The Observer Building and Rock House circulates around Claremont, Robertson Street and Trinity Street – aka the Trinity Triangle – which is becoming an increasingly popular part of town and home to the likes of Dyke & Dean homewares, Trinity Wholefoods and Goodman Apparel and Barbers.
Set back slightly from the seafront, the America Ground plays host to listed buildings such as Hastings Library and the Holy Trinity Church; impressive structures that overlook what is rapidly becoming Hastings’ newest cultural hotspot.
One of the contributing factors behind this recent New Town buzz (sorry) is Two Snakes Tattoo. Nestled in Trinity Studios, Two Snakes Tattoo not only showcases some of the finest homegrown Hastings tattoo artists, but regularly books world famous tattoo artists to ‘guest’ in their studio and, in turn, attract their followers to the town.
Get Hastings spoke to owners Alexis Camburn-Cox and James Cox, plus resident artists Cassandra Frances and Caleb Kilby about how it’s been opening a business like Two Snakes Tattoo in Hastings, the attention they’re getting and what they love most about the town.
GH: Hello Two Snakes Tattoo! We’ve heard good things about you, what brings you to Hastings?
ACC: Well, I’m from Hastings originally and so is Caleb…
CK: Yes, I’m from Hastings originally and have been working in London at Shangri-La tattoo; I’ve known Alexis for years and have been waiting for a grounded reason to move back.
CF: I’m here because I met Alexis at Liverpool Convention and then she did a she did a guest spot at the studio I was working at in Leeds. I came to visit her in Hastings when I was living in London and then decided to move here to work with her.
JC: Alexis and I would travel a lot to get tattooed and we wanted to bring a world-class studio closer to home and give the town the chance of being tattooed by some top international artists. Hastings is Alexis’s home town, and the area is getting more and more popular, so we thought that now would be the perfect place and time.
GH: How’s business been so far since you opened in early 2015?
ACC: Really good. I knew that most of my client base was near here and that I’d be busy straight away. Our business is complimented by the BMX scene too: Hastings has a famous BMX community, which James and Caleb are both linked to from their past occupations. Caleb was a professional BMX rider and James was a full-time BMX videographer. They even used to travel together on BMX trips back in the day. Many of the BMX trips that pass through the town nowadays bring new teams wanting tattoos, and when the new skatepark opens thanks to our long-time friends Marc & Rich at SourceBMX (GH: Hastings will soon be home to the biggest covered BMX park in Europe) I think we’ll see that alliance growing stronger.
GH: What style of tattoos do you do at the studio?
CF: We do all styles really, but I would say the majority of what we do here has its roots in traditional tattooing. My personal style is very feminine.
ACC: My work is a lot more traditional, but I also like to do Japanese and ornamental tattooing.
CF: We have guests very frequently too which means we can offer more styles.
GH: What guests have you got coming up?
ACC: We’ve also got Claudia Ottaviani from Milan Italy, Simon Erl from London, Ed Staples from Scotland, the list goes on and on. We are adding new guests all the time to our events page on the website.
GH: People travel all over the world to get tattooed, where do your customers travel from?
CF: Well, I’m from the North of England and was most recently working in central London so I get a lot of people travelling down, but we get people from all over really…I’m currently working on a large piece on a client from Estonia who is travelling over and have a few people booked in from various European countries. I feel really proud to show them Hastings.
JC: We meet a lot of new customers when we’re doing conventions too; we’re doing Bristol, Liverpool and Leeds this year.
CF: Also people who are visiting London are now making a stop in Hastings to get tattooed here. We always recommend other things for them to do during their stay too as a lot of them make a weekend of it.
GH: Can you give us some examples?
CF: We often send them to wander around old town; so we point them in the direction of George Street, The Crown, The Standard, the arcades and all the good places to eat and drink in the surrounding areas. Also the fishing huts, as they’re unique to Hastings. We seem to attract a fair few vegan clients so it’s really handy to have Trinity Wholefoods a few doors down too.
ACC: It will be so good in the summer when the redevelopment of the Trinity area will have really kicked in, we can send them closer to the studio
JC: It’s a really exciting time to be here. Hastings seems to be getting better and better every day, there are so many new businesses starting up, I’m proud to live here.
GH: Great recommendations! Sounds like you love Hastings just as much as us…thank you Two Snakes Tattoo, here’s to a busy summer!
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