LAYLA KARIS BALFOUR
My name is Layla Karis and I’ve always been crazy about art since I can remember. I spent my entire childhood drawing and painting pictures. My imagination has always been an incredible driving force in my life, it has a big influence in almost everything I do so from a young age, Art and Design was a creative way to express myself. The love of art has stayed with me, developed, and grown, now I cannot imagine myself doing anything else. Before my introduction into the tattoo world, I took a course in fine art at New College Durham where I received my extended diploma. From there I completed an honors degree in Visual Arts through Teeside university scoring a first. Getting these qualifications gave me the opportunity to explore, experiment and understand my strengths and weaknesses in the art sector. It was around that time I realised my interest in portraiture. For a long time I would create and sell portraits of people and pets as a side hustle while completing my assignments. I used to love when people came to me to record their life’s most precious moments. Creating personal gifts was such a rewarding feeling, wether it was drawing from a photograph or manipulating multiple separate photos because they didn’t have any material with that special someone. Seeing people’s faces was the highlight of selling portraits and reminded me of why I loved art so much. With an interest in body art, steady hand and eye for design, I decided to give tattooing a shot. I got a tattoo apprenticeship back in 2018 through a studio in Gateshead. It was scary being the beginner but I was eager and love to learn. I put my heart and soul into developing the essential skills, learnt all the health and safety, and designed unique tattoos any spare time I had. I built up a solid portfolio over a period of time, noticing small progressions from every tattoo I done. I recently transferred to Buzzin Guns in June after moving back to my childhood city. Buzzin Guns has always been my ideal dream studio. I always considered it being the most reputable studio in Durham. Growing up I always told myself I’d have a spot there if I worked hard enough. Everyone is so talented and so friendly, it’s clean, open and airy. It really felt like I was part of a family when I got my foot in the door. It really is home sweet home. After spending years training in different aspects of the art industry, I decided to tap into my spooky side creating one-of-a-kind commissioned collectibles on unusual objects to help pass the time. These include saws, blades, mirrors, boots, weapons, shields and more! All of my free time was spent working on getting better as a tattoo artist until Covid hit so I had to think of other ways to keep myself occupied. My dad lived next to blockbusters when I was growing up, so every weekend I would rent movie and movie. I’m obsessed with classic films and the nostalgia that comes with. I thought if I painted films from the past, people of all ages would relate to it, some way or another. I am always on the hunt for random objects that I can paint on. My idea was to try and associate the objects to the movies so the surfaces have an actual concept. I never realised how popular my paintings would be, but since the lockdown ended my hobby has stayed with me and I now continue to carry this through my career path. I’ve been tattooing for around 4 years now. My preferred style is black and grey, but I have a passion for all styles. I am open to any challenge. My main focus are portraits, horror, movies, erotic, animals, history and flowers. If I think something isn’t my particular strength or style I will point you to an artist who I think would be best for the job. Our studio is broadened with different unique artists. I’m super passionate about my work and my aim is to make my customers happy and comfortable. I love the feeling of ending the day knowing someone has walked away with something precious to them, and it’s all down to the job I do.