by Leigh Morley
Since I can remember, I have always wanted to be heavily tattooed. I’ve always seen my skin as a blank canvas that needs to be painted with beautiful pictures. However other people, such as my grandparents and some employers, don’t exactly see tattoo culture the way I do and have opinions based on tattoos they see on the guests of The Jeremy Kyle Show.
Tattoo culture is not someone’s name on your face when you’ve known them for three months. It’s not a flower decorated in tribal on the top of your arm. It isn’t names of your children or some swirls on your foot, or a daffodil exploding into birds on your back. These are just some examples of clichéd, contrived and simply awful tattoos that are etched onto people randomly by a greedy tattoo artist who probably spent less than half an hour designing for their client.
By all means, have your children’s name tattooed on you, but please, get the names tattooed the right way, by someone who actually took the time to get to know your skin. The point is, people are starting to lose sight of what tattooing actually means. These days anybody can open up a studio with the right money and buy a tattoo gun.
Which brings me to my point. The tattoo industry is starting to fall apart, leading people to believe that anyone who makes the commitment to decorate their body is a bit of an idiot.
With Cheryl Cole’s multiple tattoo cover ups on her lower back and ‘that’ hand tattoo that millions have tried and failed miserably to imitate.
Leading tattooist of Loaded Forty Four tattoo studio Danielle Mills explains: “Celebrities like Cheryl Cole, Rihanna and Harry Styles have a lot to answer for.” The celebrities in question constantly make headlines for their poor, mismatched tattoos which people seem to admire. “It kills me because celebrities have the access and the funds to the best tattooists in the world and they come out with the worst. Rihanna and Cheryl’s hand tattoos are abysmal and Harry Styles just gets random bits of crap everywhere that aren’t even placed properly. This leads people to want to copy them, not knowing what a good tattoo even is.”
So how do you know that you’re getting a good tattoo? “Normally any studio who designs the tattoo specifically for your body and has a portfolio to back up their work,” 26 year old Danielle explains. “Anyone charging under a certain amount shouldn’t be worth going to. Normal studios charge a minimum of £25 for any tattoo.”
Adding to that, any studio willing to tattoo hands and fingers without any other part of your body being tattooed is another sin that adds to falling of the tattoo industry. It dates back to tribes where your face and hands are the last parts of your body to be tattooed. These days, those serious about tattooing start their journey with ink in hidden places, then slowly move onto more visible parts, eventually ending in their hands, fingers and knuckles being the final parts of your body to get inked. However, more and more people are taking to getting these body parts tattooed first, without being aware of the implications it may cause. People often turn to scratchers for these tattoos, who are people tattooing from their own home without gloves, a studio and a gun they purchased from the internet.
“Scratchers need to have their fingers cut off,” laughs Danielle, who has been professionally tattooing for over two years. “They have completely ruined the tattoo industry, leading people to believe that if they go to a cheaper alternative, it’ll be easier, but that’s not the case. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a case where someone has gone to a scratcher and gotten a good tattoo. I know this because I spend a lot of time covering them up.”
So with celebrities setting bad examples, scratchers and people losing sight of where is appropriate to begin your tattoo journey, it’s perfectly easy to sum up why it’s giving heavily tattooed people a bad name.
So how can we stop this? “There’s no way we can completely make it stop. People just need to realise that tattoos cost money,” Danielle explains. “Don’t go to scratchers, and work closely with your tattooist for a tattoo that’s best for you.”
If it’s just the one tattoo you’re after, then hopefully this article will still speak to you. Hopefully it will help you get your wrist tattoo pointing the right way (the bottom of your tattoo should always face the floor) or will inspire you to go to a studio, and not your friend who recently decided to open up a business from their kitchen.
As for me, I hope to continue my tattoo journey until a lot of my body is covered, but I won’t be touching my fingers or hands until I’m established in a career. Tattooing is a part of my life, it’s who I am, and if you tell me I’ll regret them when I’m older, I won’t. My skin will sag and wrinkle like everyone else’s, but my skin will at least be colourful and have pretty pictures on it.