A STUDENT is turning his love of art into a career by combining his work as a tattooist with university research.

University of Sunderland PhD student, Adam McDade, has been tattooing people professionally for the past 14 months as coursework for his PhD design degree.

He said: "I have always been interested in all types of visual medium, I used to draw quite a lot. It just so happens that tattooing is the form I am now working on.

“I really enjoy the physical process of the work and I get to utilise it as part of my research.

“I also like the fact that it’s not just me who gets something out of this – it’s a collaborative process with someone else. You can see instant reactions to your work, the response they give is automatic.

"The brief is dictated by the client and the requirements change from person to person.

“I like the way every tattooing job is different, the way each individual comes with a separate set of requirements, different budgets, and different skin types. It’s all fascinating."

Tattooing is a form of body modification where a design is made by inserting ink, dyes and pigments, either indelible or temporary, into the dermis layer of the skin to change the pigment.

The 29-year-old is no stranger to the art form, having much of his own body covered with ink.

His love for tattooing flourished after he received his first tattoo on his bicep at just 14.

It was the horoscope sign of the Scorpio which has since been covered by other artwork.

The former St Aidan’s School pupil now works at Triplesix studios in Fawcett Street, Sunderland.

It is an established tattoo and piercing shop with over 15,000 Instagram followers.

Alongside building a name for himself in the tattooing world, he is currently in his second year of the six year PhD course.

The degree has been funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the National Productivity Investment Fund (NPIF).

Prior to the degree Mr McDade enrolled on a foundation year in Art and Design at the University of Sunderland before going on to successfully complete both an undergraduate and masters degree in illustration and design.

It has allowed Mr McDade to work in his area of research, which he said is very demanding.

He said: “I’m working seven days a week and it’s quite hard to support yourself financially through all of this research.

“But I have always been very creative, whether it be through music or literature or tattooing.

“I’ve now got tattoos on my feet, ankles, legs, calves, thighs, chest, arms, hands and fingers.

"My research is about enriching both academic understanding and professional practice of contemporary western tattooing.

"While tattooing has been studied within an academic context from a social sciences and historical perspective, very little is understood of the discipline from the perspective of design."

For information about the Triplesix Tattoo Studio visit triplesixstudios.com