Interview: Hannah Pixie Snowdon Talks Energy in Tattooing and Finding Balance

The first thing you notice about England-based tattooer Hannah Pixie Snowdon is her striking beauty—a delicate and timeless face that looks like it was plucked out of a classic painting.

But it soon becomes obvious that her quest for beauty and positive energy is not just for a post on Instagram. Snowdon is a force of nature who strives to connect and create something meaningful by traveling, producing, collaborating and of course, tattooing. Her personality is reflected in her work—delicate but bold, ornamental but with a strong, purposeful meaning

Snowdon is constantly on the move, and with every adventure and experience something deeper reveals itself. I’ve been following her for some time, and her work and energy appear pure, positive and fascinating. She embodies art and love through charitable projects, like gathering funds to build an eco-community to help women in Nepal. For Snowdon, tattooing becomes the means that opens the doors to the world, 

I meet Snowdon in Brooklyn, at Saved Tattoo, to chat about her work and take some photographs. 

FemaleTattooers: Where were you born, and what was your upbringing like?

Hannah Pixie Snowdon: I was born in Doncaster (in the U.K.) and I grew up with my single mum in a relatively small town. She is an incredibly strong influence in my life and she was the first person to show me unconditional love, so I think that is important. 

We are either raised on love or survival. Adults choose love or fear, in all their interactions. We all do, ultimately. She worked hard at the hospital and always gave me everything. She showed me as much of the world as she could and would save to take me on the most interesting and educational trips, which opened my eyes to other cultures and ways of life at a young age. 

FemaleTattooers:How and when did you discover tattooing? 

Hannah Pixie Snowdon: Age 16, first through old friends, then working in a street shop in a small town in Yorkshire, England. I found it incredible that I could make a living doing something that I enjoyed so much—creating every day. I’ve always acknowledged how blessed I am for that. 

Hannah Pixie Snowdon tattooing

FemaleTattooers:Did you ever encounter prejudices being a woman? 

Hannah Pixie Snowdon: I think there are prejudices in every industry. I see that more the older I get. I’ve always been interested in being the alchemist, however, so I’ve made that my primary goal in all situations. 

FemaleTattooers: How do you see tattooing today? What’s your personal take? How do you see it developing in the future? 

Hannah Pixie Snowdon: I love the fact that people are waking back up to the ritualistic natures of our age-old traditions myself included. It’s a beautiful thing, and I think we had a lot right. We are so concerned with progress in our daily lives that we often forget the simple things that cultivate happiness, such as sharing experiences and meeting each other on a level. 

There are a million tattooers out there these days, especially with the rise of the internet age. Of course, skill is important, and having a basic level of hygiene, etc. But the experience overall, how you make someone feel about that experience, that’s the most important thing. What energy you are tattooing into them. 

FemaleTattooers: You use your social media popularity not only to promote your work but also to promote charitable purposes and causes you believe in. Can you tell us more about it? 

Hannah Pixie Snowdon: As privileged as I am to have been raised in the West (of this I’m acutely aware), I feel as though we’ve gotten it somewhat wrong. There are so many different options available to us at any one given opportunity. Yet, we still choose division. 

I’ve always been so lucky in that I’ve never had to truly struggle monetarily. I think a lot of people may take that for granted in our society. I saw different cultures when I was young and soon realized that happiness didn’t equate to money. I lived that life personally too…I had more than enough at one point in my life, yet everyone around me was so unhappy. Imbalance creates unhappiness, I believe, so it’s about regaining balance for me. That makes me happy. 

I started out raising funds via my online store, with super small sets of prints that I cut by hand, to help various causes that were important to me. Raksha Nepal is a humanitarian organization that aims to protect sexually exploited women and children. This is an organization that we have been able to support hugely over the last few years, with a huge thanks to the power of the internet, and thanks to the power of human connection. 

Hannah in Nepal. Photo via Instagram.

When I finally had the chance to visit the amazing women there, and visit Nepal in general, my heart was cracked open deeper than ever before. It felt like somewhere I could make some real positive change, and the land feels like home. I can’t really explain it. The women there have done equally as much for me as we have for them.

I’m at a point in my life where I feel very ready to ground down, and I believe that should be somewhere I can imagine raising a child to thrive in harmony with nature. That’s what’s most important to me. My mum gave me everything she believed most important for me, so I could have a life of thriving. I want to offer my own child my own version of the same thing, one day. If that truth aligns with anyone else, there is always room for those people in our circle.

FemaleTattooers: You are open to using recreational drugs like marijuana. How does this affect your life and creativity? In this perspective, how is living in the U.K.? Is smoking weed tolerated there?  

Hannah Pixie Snowdon: It’s not the same as Canada, that’s for sure! But I do believe the world is changing and shifting, elevating constantly. I find it crazy how in one country something can be utilized and revered as medicine, and in another it is considered completely illegal. In another you could receive the death sentence for being in possession of it. Even disregarding the psychoactive properties of various plant medicines, the other numerous uses for these things and the ways in which they have been proved to undoubtedly heal are too much to simply disregard.

Where we are going to be living there is an absolute abundance of Hemp. So whether it be for its use in sustainable textiles and building materials or for medicinal tinctures, we plan to utilize all the beautiful resources the relatively untainted landscape has to offer, with a deep respect for our surroundings. That goes for all our building materials too. There are always alternatives. We just have to cultivate the energy to find them. 

FemaleTattooers: How would you describe your style in tattooing? How would you like to develop it? 

Hannah Pixie Snowdon: Floral, ornate and freehand. I also love anything a little bit Eastern or esoteric. As long as I feel I can make a good job of it, I’m happy to do it for someone. A tattoo is a collaboration to me and I want to make sure we are both beaming about the result, equally. Otherwise I feel it’s unfair to mark someone for life with a less than enthused energy. No matter what it is, it’s the energy and intention behind it that matters. That person after all, will forever tie that tattoo to a visual reminder to that physical experience, to that time in their life.

FemaleTattooers: Who are some of your favorite tattoo artists? Who have you been tattooed by? 

Hannah Pixie Snowdon: My friends are my favorite artists. The woman who just finished my legs is amazing. Her name is Sarah Schor and she’s really helping me pull the latter half of my bodysuit together. I used her work as a reference in my GCSE coursework, and I got people coming to me now who have done the same. That full circle is really cool to me. Sarah is incredibly talented anyway, and she’s also just a super cool human being and mother. So that’s very good energy to connect to for a few hours while you’re performing a blood ritual! Haha. The rest of my legs are also all by my friends, some who tattoo and some who don’t. 

FemaleTattooersNot only the tattoo industry has opened up to women but also to LGBTQ artists. Are there any LGBT or queer artists out there that you really respect?

Hannah Pixie Snowdon: My beautiful friend Guik (@misanthropie666) is the first person who springs to mind here.  He changed a lot for people in the community, and all with a simple list. 

He set up the Queer Bod Mod Compass because he had so many (LGBTQ) friends who didn’t feel comfortable going to studios and would rather have gotten tattooed at home. Some studios are not the most comfortable place for queer people, especially when you are getting naked and often talking about negative past experiences. Tattooing is healing for a lot of people, myself included, and you want to know that you are in a safe space to express. 

Lots of people who go to regular studios, have traumatic experiences, and never go back. The person tattooing you definitely has the power—if they make a bad comment, it can be traumatic. I’ve heard of innumerable comments about someone’s physique. If you feel uncomfortable in that situation it’s difficult to get away. When you’re half-naked and lying on the table, what are you going to do? We all deserve to feel safe and supported during that exchange. 

The Queer Bod Mod Compass helps LGBTQ people connect with tattooers in their area that they can feel safer around. 

FemaleTattooersWhat are your passions apart from tattooing? And what should people know about you?

Hannah Pixie Snowdon: I like to create in general. and I am addicted to learning. In any respect. I like to grow, I think it’s an undeniable part of this existence, so I want to see how much magic can be made. I’d like to build a temple of love—true, honest love and healing. I think the world needs more of that right now. 

You can follow Hannah Pixie Snowdon on Instagram at @hannahpixiesnow.

Elvia Iannaccone Gezlev is a published tattoo and portrait photographer and a tattoo artist. She is the publisher of Ladies of Tattooing NYC and curator of LadiesLadies Art Show. Photos courtesy Elvia Iannaccone Gezlev. 

All tattoo images are property of Hannah Pixie Snowdon.

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