He trained as an architect - but Conisbrough artist Johny D Matthews is achieving international fame with designs of a different kind.
Johny, 25, put his penning skills to work as an exclusive tattooist and after just three years he is achieving international recognition for his work.
The former Mexborough School pupil won the best tattoo of the week award, beating hundreds of established artists at the prestigious Milton Keynes Tattoo Convention, which was held over the weekend.
He told the Times: “I originally trained as an architect but found it difficult to get a job in that industry, so eventually I decided to take up tattooing because of my artistic skills.”
Since then he has never looked back and his talents have seen his work in demand all around the country with invitations to international tattoo events.
Johny, of Northcliffe Road, works for Conisbrough Tattoo Studio and Arm of Ink Prophecy Tattoos, Edlington.
He told the Times: “I was very surprised when I won the top tattoo prize, I was really chuffed.”
He works in the sophisticated “New skool” style, which includes contemporary and fantastical designs, with elaborate blending and shading.
Johny explained: “It is all bespoke, rather than off the shelf. If someone asks for a rose for example I could tattoo it photo-realistically, but also decorate it with artistic touches like ink splashes, or something meaningful to the individual I am working on.”
His prizewinning tattoo at Milton Keynes was a skull with wings superimposed on a stained glass window from York Minster on the thigh of customer Steve Kilcoyne of Skellow.
But he says his current favourite surpasses even that in its inventiveness: a 1980s cassette ghetto blaster surrounded by filigree flowers which he is currently working on in stages. He hopes to have it finished for the Manchester Tattoo Show in August.
Johny prefers not to have visible tattoos himself and always dresses sharply.
He said “If someone is going to have something done which will affect them for the rest of their lives I think you should be dressed smart for the occasion.”
Johny’s work will be on display at the Doncaster Tattoo Jam in October. Check his website out at: http://www.johnydmatthews.co.uk/