AS South Woodford's first tattoo parlour prepares to open, tattooist Chris Howells talks to CLAIRE HACK about his work.

Viper Studio already has a presence in Ilford but is soon to open up shop in Chigwell Road, introducing South Woodford residents to the world of ink.

Tattooist and part-owner Chris Howells has been in the business for about six years and offers one-off designs to customers.

He said: “It's all art-orientated. A customer might come in with a specific piece they want and we draw everything up.

“We do everything from scratch.”

Mr Howells will be finishing off a sleeve, or full arm, tattoo for reality TV personality Jodie Marsh when she comes into the new store to open it officially tomorrow.

“It's things that are meaningful to her,” he said.

“She's got a portrait of Michael Jackson and a pair of fluffy handcuffs on there.”

He added that the shop gets a wide variety of customers of every nationality ranging from the youngest at 18 to the oldest at 76.

Mr Howells said: “We wanted to branch out into South Woodford as there isn't another studio around here for a good few miles.”

Viper Studio will also be opening a “tattoo academy” for budding tattooists and body piercers to come in and learn the trade.

Mr Howells said: “People will be able to come in for a couple of weeks to learn the basics and then go away to get a certificate of competence.

“They can then go off and start tattooing.”

Viper Studio will have its grand opening in Chigwell Road at 12pm tomorrow.