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Cornwall. Creating Independence

Guest blogger Joanne Byrne talks about the Newquay art scene

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The independent spirit of the county of Cornwall runs deep. Look backwards to its battles, its unwillingness to concede, its language and even its flag, it is clear that the rules of life on British soil have not always translated this far south.

Look forward however and Cornwall’s uniqueness manifests in an altogether trend bucking way that enriches this diverse peninsular - Local independent retailers, tradespeople and creatives.

My journey to Cornwall was one way, having arrived here in 2017 from Liverpool. With an interest in realism tattoo styles, environmentally aware lifestyles and all things edible, I was searching for the art scene and quirky shopping opportunities I had come to love in my own city. I was surprised by my eventual choice of home. I shouldn’t have been, but I was.

After spending 2 months exploring Bude to Porthcurno and everywhere in between, I eventually settled in the one place I felt provided the independent future as reflected in Cornwall’s rich history. Newquay.

The past 10 years has seen efforts improve the town’s reputation and it’s working. Independent businesses thrive here and what’s left is a town of creatives with endless inspiration and an environment they can express themselves in. Whether they are painting, making and selling jewellery, designing clothes, developing unique menus or tattooing their own artwork, those who live and work in Newquay embody the genuine and authentic artisan vibe that shuns high street and mainstream.

With an art scene as progressive as it is vibrant, it seems fitting that Cornwall is establishing itself as the rising star in UK tattoo circles. 2017 saw Cornwall’s first tattoo convention. Returning in 2018, it promises to be the place to see and be seen for all tattoo art lovers and wearers.

This year however, there’s a new artist in town.

Lewis Sherlock ( arrived at Atlantic Coast Tattoo Newquay in April 2018 and is changing expectations of realism art and tattooing. This already vibrant studio has become the one to watch and tattoo devotees are travelling far and wide to be inked by Lewis. With so many wearing their art on their skin in this surfer town, and given the bold and spirited nature of Cornwall, it is little wonder he has chosen it as the home of his designs.

Yoga retreats, community orchards and cocktail bars growing their own ingredients. Intimate restaurants with innovative, vegan menus and dynamic dining with mindfully sourced, carnivorous delights. It seems those with a creative mind and artistic flair have found their place here and in Cornwall, individualism has become the standard.

Those arriving on these shores, lifted by the lush landscapes and azure waters frequently say they could be anywhere in the world. I disagree. Cornwall is resurgent. Distinctive. You are very definitely in Kernow, and why wouldn’t you be?

By Joanne Byrne

Jo is a beach loving camper van devotee. A freelance writer of all things tattoo, travel, and at risk of sounding random, of early years education.