ACT was established in 1984 by H Stewart (Ben and Sam’s dad) in its original location in Bank street. The studio quickly acquired the nickname H’s, even though it was never the shops name, and is still used today – much to Ben and Sam’s annoyance!
H’s tattoo style was original old school, a traditional biker Tattooist in the 80’s and 90’s, this was reflected in his work, manner and language.
Ben began his apprenticeship under his dad’s guidance after the shop relocated to its current position in 1994. After many years becoming an expert tea maker, Ben completed his Piercing apprenticeship, followed by his Tattooing apprenticeship.
Sam joined the business part time in 2001 to take over the tea making so Ben could do some actual work. Sam took the plunge to go full time and begin his apprenticeship under Ben’s guidance in 2006, and in 2010 the boys bought out their dad and became business partners.
In 2009 loyal customer and friend Dan began his tea making training before he was allowed to begin his Piercer training and joined the ACT crew. Working alongside the boys as a professional Piercer, leaving the tattooing to Ben and Sam.
Chris completed the ACT family by joining as their only tattoo apprentice outside of the Stewarts in 2013. Having achieved a BA in Fine Art as well as being a loyal customer and friend he had all the necessary credentials to make tea and Dan finally had someone to mock. Chris adds another dimension through specialising in realism and portraits. Chris completed his apprenticeship in the spring 2016 and is now building his own client base. Occasionally he makes the tea.
As you will see in the biogs, the guys have many mutual interests and philosophies, possibly down to spending too much time together! This makes the shop a unique place to go. There’s always plenty of discussion and banter, you feel immediately comfortable around these four who could easily be one family (and yes it gets loud sometimes).