Horror movie fan paints iconic scenes onto unusual objects in lockdown venture

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A tattoo artist wows thousands of fans on TikTok and Instagram by transforming random objects into highly sought-after paintings of iconic horror movies.

Layla Karis Balfour, who lives in Newcastle, decided to get creative after the tattoo studio that she works at was forced to close during lockdown.

The 24-year-old, who has spent years training in different aspects of the art industry, said she came up with the idea after she had noticed that some studios were signwriting on vintage saws.

So far she has recreated Beetlejuice, American Psycho, Scream, Friday the 13th and more on items including vintage tools, axes, machete, cleavers and mirrors.

Layla, who has been a tattoo artist for almost two years, told the Daily Star: "All of my free time was spent working on getting better as a tattoo artist until Covid hit.

"This meant our studio was shut for almost a year and I had no job. I had to think of other ways to make money and keep myself occupied."

The skilled artist went on to say that her first painting was The Lost Boys as it is her "favourite movie of all time."

"My influences started very early on in my childhood with a deep interest in horror, classic films and the nostalgia that comes with," she said.

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"I thought if I painted films from the past, people of all ages would relate to it, some way or another."

The 24-year-old, who has grown a large following of 18.6k on her Instagram, said she had "no idea" how popular her first saw creation would be.

"I had so many offers from people wanting to buy it, I knew it was something I needed to do more of," she said.

"Now, I try and associate the objects to the movies so they have an actual concept."

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She added: "One piece can take between 7 hours to 30 hours, it really depends on the size and complexity of the design.

"I have sold around 30 original paintings this year, but now I’m keeping them so I have a big collection. I’m hoping to have them exhibited one day."

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Layla said her work has gathered a large amount of support including from celebrities from the movies that she has painted.

"Keith lemon, Skeet Ulrich, Robert Englund, James Jude Courtney, Bill Moseley, Bill Johnson were just a few that took the time out of their day to compliment my work," she said.

"I’m so thankful for that."

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She doesn't just create horror movies and said she has had some" bizarre requests" since she started offering her Instagram followers the unique tools.

"For me, the more bizarre the better," she said.

"I painted Rocky Balboa and Ivan Drago on some boxing gloves. Supernatural on a vehicle hubcap and some England players on a euros football.

"These are one-off pieces that I probably won’t do again but it was nice to try something new."

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The talented artist said she is always on the hunt for random objects that she can paint on.

"I have over 300 objects stored in my loft that I know I will someday turn from rags to riches," she said.

"My imagination has always been an incredible driving force in my life.

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"I feel so lucky to have a passion that I have followed from being a young child, I encourage everyone to follow their dreams the way I have.

"You have no idea how many opportunities you will miss if you ignore your talents.

"If you have a passion go at it full speed! Life is too short. Lukewarm is no good."

To keep up to date with Layla's work visit her Instagram page @laylakaristattoo .

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  • Friday the 13th
  • Hollywood

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