North London's Cultural Guide

Ich Bin Kentishtowner: Jesse & Susanna, tattoo parlour owners

"My secret? I don't care if you don't like tattoos."

Scratchline 1Jesse Singleton and Susanna Widmann set up Scratchline Tattoo on Kentish Town Road a little over a year ago. Susanna studied as an illustrator and after many years of interest in tattooing changed her career. Jesse has always had an interest in traditional arts, particularly body adornment, and has worked in the industry for over fifteen years.

“We have both worked in other London studios but always dreamt of opening our own shop,” he says. “Kentish Town was Susanna’s idea as a location and it’s proved to be a brilliant choice. We’ve been made to feel very welcomed by everybody, we love the villagey feel and the fact that – it seems, anyway! – all Kentishtowners know each other.”



When were you happiest?
Actually I’m very happy at the moment. A job I love and a beautiful family.


What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
It’s still trying to teach me patience.

What is your guilty pleasure?
Popping out to buy a cake from Earth in the afternoon when I’m drawing.

Scratchline 2

Where do you hang out?
I like The Lion and Unicorn, the Oxford, the Assembly House and the Grafton mostly, so I try to rotate.

What has your career taught you?
Working with the public is amazing. Understanding people, it’s a never-ending learning curve.

Where would you like to live in NW5?
Leverton Street is one of my favourites. Like a quiet and beautiful little town.

What makes you unhappy?
Narrow-minded people.

What simple thing would improve my quality of life?
Definitely more sleep.

Most unappealing habit?
I speak over the top of others if I get frustrated.

What do you most dislike about your appearance?
The bits without tattoos.

What’s the worst thing someone has ever said to you?

This tattoo was done by a mate in the kitchen, can you fix it?

Tell us a secret.
I don’t care if you don’t like tattoos.



What is your earliest K-Town memory?
Buying my first pair of skates from Norm at Skate Attack.

Tell us a secret.
You don’t have to have any more reason than ‘liking them’ for getting a tattoo.

What has your career taught you?
There are no stupid questions. You may be an expert in your own field but that doesn’t mean other people have to be.

What is your greatest life achievement?

Getting to this point. Balancing the shop and the family is hard work but I wouldn’t change it.

What is your favourite sound or smell?
The perfect pitch of a properly tuned tattoo machine.

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
That any country which produces something like Homeland Security’s ‘Run, Hide, Fight’ is deeply troubled.

What makes you unhappy?
The blank look you sometimes get when trying to explain why getting a tattoo in someone’s kitchen is not a great idea.

What is your most unappealing habit?
Not realising when I’m far more interested in the idea I’m describing than the person I’m talking to.

What is your guilty pleasure?
Getting to work before opening, leaving the shutters closed and going to sleep for a half hour.

What do you most dislike about your appearance?
The blank spaces. And why are they always in the places that hurt most?

What’s the worst thing anyone’s said to you?
“I’ve got a great idea for a tattoo! I want an arm full of stars. Different sizes, some with a thick line, some with thin lines, some all black.”

What is your favourite dish and why?

Calçots (Google it). They give you gloves and a bib to eat them, what’s not to like?


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About Kentishtowner

The award-winning print and online title Kentishtowner was founded in 2010 and is part of London Belongs To Me, a citywide network of travel guides for locals. For more info on what we write about and why, see our About section.