Taking your gaze off Grace Neutral sounds easier than done. Each and every bit of her body has something different to showcase from countless tattoos and piercings to scars in the shape of crescent moons and not to mention her hypnotising purple eyes and elf-like ears. Her body modifications have transformed her into an alien mythical creature with magical powers and some 280k followers on Instagram alone. While taking a break off her work as a tattoo artist specialising in hand poking, Grace sat down with us for an exclusive chat about redefining beauty standards, dealing with pain and becoming an influencer, while letting us in on some little secrets about herself.
Hi Grace. What have you been up to since the beginning of the new season?
Settling back into London life, because I’ve been travelling a lot recently, tattooing loads, and planning all the final details for my Motel Collaboration.
We love your hand poked tattoos. What took you into that direction and how would you explain its benefits to a person who is unaware of the whole process?
I got into hand poking through working in tattoo and piercing shops as a piercer for years, and it’s just something I fell in love with. For anyone who doesn’t know what hand poke is, it’s just tattooing without a machine, so I just simply attach a tattoo needle to a chopstick, and poke the skin. As far as benefits, a majority of people say it is far less painful than being tattooed by a machine and the whole technique just complements my style of tattooing.
Do you view your work as art or something far too deeper in nature?
My art is essentially me, and I’m a pretty complex person so I’d say my work is definitely deeper in
Body modifications and tattoos don’t come free of pain. After everything you’ve done, has your perception of it, changed at all? How do you choose to deal with pain nowadays?
I guess I’ve always been pretty good with physical pain, which has helped a lot. But because of all the things I have been into since I was young I’ve had to get over the physical element of pain and realise that it’s all in your mind. If my perception of pain has changed in any sense, it would be that through every modification I’ve gone through I have become more mentally strong and have realised more and more that I can deal with anything physically or mentally painful.
What’s the last body modification you had?
The last thing I had done was my eyes tattooed purple, it was the last thing on my list if you like. It was essentially the modification that tied all my other modifications together and made me feel way more complete.
Do you believe that life in East London has played any role in the development of your style?
Of course. I have lived here the better part of a decade. I love East London because for me the energy is crazy and everyone is so different. East London has been a home to me and it has always made me feel at home. The fact so many creatives live and work in this area helps a lot with feeling at ease with
Most of us would agree that your purple eyes are your most striking feature. Considering how you always refer to yourself as an ‘otherworldly’ creature- do any cool powers come with them?
Well my magical powers have always been there, it wasn’t anything to do with the eyes but sometimes I get the odd person who is almost hypnotised by them, like they are so confused but they can’t break my gaze. It’s pretty cool.
While we all have the freedom to choose how to treat/change our bodies, do you think there can ever be wrong reasons for it? What would you tell those who might think the same for you?
I definitely think there is a difference between body modification and body mutilation. I don’t think any of the things I have done to my body are mutilation because I have been of sound mind and body when making these decisions and I didn’t do them in a self destructive way. I’m sure there are lots of people who think what I have done to myself is mutilation. I have gotten a lot of “Oh, but you’re such a pretty girl why would you do that to yourself?” in the past, but again I think it’s just down to taste and what you personally perceive as beautiful. As long as you’re changing your body with a mentally positive outlook and you’re not on any self destructive paths then there are no ‘wrong reasons’ to change your body.
You seem to have a pretty healthy relationship with social media, judging from your weekly updates and huge following. Is it important for you to be an influencer when it comes to younger people?
I never really thought about it to be honest, until everyone started asking that question. I guess I’m just flattered people are interested in my day to day life in addition to my art work. I think it’s really beautiful that people think I am an inspiring person. My mum always said “treat people how you want to be treated” and it’s just a blessing that it’s working.
Would you like to share any future plans of yours?
My main aim is to travel. I want to see a lot more of the world and keep tattooing so I can continue to create art with awesome people. I have some more plans with the fashion world but I’m not going to say what because I don’t want to jinx it.
Does Grace Neutral follow a beauty routine?
Not really, I just try and use as little chemicals as possible. I’m a big Lush fan when it comes to my personal beauty routine.
We know you love Japanese culture. Last anime that made you emotional?
The other night when I watched Howl’s Moving Castle.. makes me cry every time because I love Howl so much!
Weirdest tattoo request?
Mainly strange requests are involving the genital area, but other than that I don’t get many. I’m very blessed with amazing customers.
Worst pick-up line you’ve ever heard?
I don’t know about the worst pick-up line, I don’t get many.. but once a guy came up out of nowhere and told me I looked like the woodland elf from the Zelda game. That was pretty fucking awesome and left me with a big smile!
What planet are you from?
A planet far far away where purple pixies and other mythical creatures reside and play all day.
No way! No regrets ever!
As featured in Chasseur issue #11 – YOURS WAS THE BODY (AW15)
Grace Neutral was photographed exclusively for Chasseur in London
Photography | Vic Lentaigne
Photo Assistant | Jon Payne
Hair | Adam Garland
Make Up | Lucy Pearson