WeNo Insiders Guide To…Studio Trap

Present­ing… Stu­dio Trap, West Norwood’s very own tat­too par­lour, just off Nor­wood Road on Chats­worth Way. The shop front­age is eye-catch­ing with a tall bill­board of Mar­ilyn Mon­roe, tat­tooed.


If your idea of a tat­too par­lour is a seedy, dark room, think again. Owner Don­nie has worked hard to cre­ate a bright, invit­ing space, includ­ing newly laid wooden floors and white­washed walls. Stand­ing on the pave­ment, you can see through to a light, uncluttered recep­tion area. It is more like enter­ing a hairdress­ers, albeit with a high con­cen­tra­tion of tat­tooed people inside. The main visu­al clues to the ser­vice being offered here… a line of brightly col­oured inks and reclin­ing chairs. So this is the place where people come to get inked. Or pierced.


Don­nie sat oppos­ite our intrep­id FEAST report­er and grinned. Our first ques­tion had to be “How did you get into this line of work?” He recoun­ted how from an early age he was into draw­ing, has an artist­ic back­ground, and has exhib­ited. In his thirties, he got his first tat­too from a home-based tat­too­ist in Streath­am. He recalls, “I came away think­ing I could do this”. So he star­ted prac­tising at home, on him­self, on friends — until he was ready to open a busi­ness. His self tat­toos are like line draw­ings — simple but strik­ing. Ini­tially, Stu­dio Trap was based on Knights Hill in the base­ment of Fash­ion Clicks. It moved to the cur­rent street-level premises on Chats­worth Way a couple of years ago. Now Don­nie has a team of freel­ance tat­too artists, each with their own area of expert­ise. He points at Marek, “He likes real­ism and work­ing in black and grey”. Don­nie explains that the needles have vary­ing thick­nesses, such as fine ones for detail, and then there are the batches of 14 plus needles that are used for shad­ing. He muses, “You always remem­ber your tat­too artist.”


Cus­tom­ers include reg­u­lars, but mainly are recom­mend­a­tions. People even travel from out­side Lon­don, hav­ing seen Stu­dio Trap work via social media. This is where Donnie’s digit­al mar­ket­ing seems to have paid off. The web­site has a small gal­lery of tat­toos, but on Ins­tagram Stu­dio Trap boasts over 16,000 fol­low­ers. In fact, busi­ness must be good, because Don­nie has recently opened a second shop, Tatu Soci­ety in Tower Bridge Road, and is train­ing appren­tices.


And what do people come for… well any­thing really, ran­ging from star trek logos to detailed pieces like the head of a nat­ive Amer­ic­an chief. And the longest amount of time Don­nie has taken on a tat­too — 20 hours on a full sleeve (‘whole arm’ to the unini­ti­ated). Not in one sit­ting! The most sur­pris­ing request – a 72-year-old who wanted a Kama Sutra tat­too on her calf.


Temp­ted? They sell gift vouch­ers…



2 Chats­worth Way

SE27 9DL



Mon to Fri 11 to 8pm

Sat & Sun 12 to 6pm