To understand my art you must understand my background.

I grew up in a working class family, in the hard industrial town of Middlesbrough. Growing up in Middlesbrough you have to be tough. It’s a place that will eat you up if you let it.

I spent my childhood getting into trouble, trying to fit in. I tried to put up walls and wear a mask. Pretending I had this hard exterior. It was a way to survive, to make sure nobody came close or hurt me.

It was very toxic place. You couldn’t trust people. 

It wasn’t until I left Middlesbrough and joined the navy when I was 20 that I realised that not all people are bad and out to get you. It was an eye opener. 

I met my husband not long after joining and we married after only knowing each other 6 months! We’ve been married 18 years now. He has saved me in so many ways. 

I left the navy not long after having my son. I had severe post natal depression. It was an awful time. But we got though it.

I had a love for drawing when I was younger but getting married and having a baby, you forget the things you used to do in your spare time as spare time is extremely scare! I started drawing again when my son was about 6/7. I spent every night drawing realistic portraits. Some of which where shockingly shit to begin with. I gradually got better. 

This led me into tattooing. That was in 2015, cut to 2016 and I have my own studio on the seafront in Helensburgh. 

I never in a million years thought I’d have the life I have now. The business I have, my husband and son. 

I have spent the last few years in therapy trying to make sense of my past. It’s been hard but an amazing experience that has helped me so much. 

I have suffered with body dysmorphic disorder for over 16 years. Since having therapy and finding ways to manage my thoughts, for the first time in my life I’m starting to feel comfortable in my own skin. Im no longer bullying myself. I feel like I’m enough. 

My artwork has played a massive part in this. 

I started painting seriously during the first lockdown, starting with expressive, abstract paintings of musicians I love. 

These paintings where so well received by people, it opened me up to exhibitions and galleries. Whic don’t get me wrong was amazing, most artists dream of this but after painting the few paintings i did in that style I wasn’t feeling fulfilled. I stopped painting. It completely stressed me out trying to think of who to paint next. 

I’d stopped painting for me, I was thinking too much about external validation. 

I really enjoyed these paintings but I wanted to start expressing my own life and experiences in my artwork. 

The most freeing thing about my new work is I don’t care if people like it. 

It’s me and my life and what I’ve been through. If people don’t like it that’s fine, it’s for me to express. Some of the things I want to paint are things I’ve never been able to express properly. If people like my artwork, good, if they understand great, if it makes them feel something even better!

I have no idea where my painting will go in the future, all I know is that it’s now an integral part of who I am. I have always been a deep, sensitive, emotional person and i feel that I finally have an outlet for all of that 💞


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Leanne Sinclair 
Black Sails Tattoo Studio,
43 west Clyde street,
G84 8AW

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