Inkoming - 161

Published: 01 June, 2008 - Featured in Skin Deep 161, June, 2008

Air your views or have a rant and we’ll give one letter a free, yes free, t-shirt! Aren’t we nice?

A Response


I’m so sorry if my interview offended you and your pseudo-intellectual, Daily Mail bashing, snobby ideals – welcome to the real world. Did you really think this didn’t go on in every major city in this country? There are some SERIOUSLY influential people controlling many of our cities with regards to tattooing and tattoo studios in the UK, deploying many different tactics to ensure their cash keeps rolling in. Do you think as a tattooist I wanna upset these guys? My, “Hi guys” comment was there for a reason and not for those you dreamt up and stated as fact. Who do you think you are, putting words into my mouth?

As for the rest of your long letter against me, single mothers everywhere and any sportsman or woman sponsored by Kappa; where do you get off judging the world according to what you think of as a good tattoo? You really prefer the Suicide Girls (getting tattooed to fit into their clique) to the average Joe in the street getting tattooed because they’re passionate about their team, children, or country? You sir, are the worst type of tattoo snob there is. All your friends got them have they? Are you always striving to go one better than them? First to get a sleeve were you? Typical L.A.M (LOOK AT ME!) syndrome. 

I’d also like to correct you on a few issues too. Quality cannot, should not and must not be allowed to be judged by the general public. As the various ‘Inks’ show, the public do not understand what a quality piece of work is. They all think these TV tattooists are great, when we all know they’re quite okay at what they do, but they’re not great for fuck’s sake. 

So when these crap scratchers (as is the popular name for the people, and of course Pat you’ve learned all the popular phrases around tattooing ‘cause it makes you oh so cool) are throwing shoddy work on people left, right and centre it reflects on ALL OF US, not just that idiot, and people will keep getting tattooed by these butchers because they too are idiots who want cheap work. As no one has the authority to close a studio based on quality of work, what should be done? I’ll let you decide, Pat. Maybe you could write them a letter?

One of your other points, regarding hygiene and its control by the local health authority is laughable. Those guys are so busy and they do a fantastic job on the whole, but they can’t be everywhere at once, so fuck your argument that it’s up to them. As my interview stated, the very first case of HIV, AIDS, or Hepatitis to be proven to have originated at a tattoo studio spells the end to all of us, not just that one studio. The media are already putting out ‘feelers’ to the tattooed community asking about this stuff, and should they ever find anything, they will screw us in the national press, something we’ll find it hard to recover from. This would mean an end to my lovely lifestyle, my missus’ upcoming boob job, my children’s private education, etc (you get the picture).

Finally (don’t I go on a bit?), I would suggest to you Patrick, enjoy your travels to find other quality artists in the UK - take your time choosing them, don’t rush. Do a background check to make sure they never wear Kappa, aren’t single parents (and there are a few!), and that they would never upset you by reading the Daily Mail. After that, have a private dick follow them around, tap their phones and pay careful attention to whoever they spend time with, because, Pat-the-oh-so-self-righteous, they all manage to keep their studios open and running by being friendly with (and not upsetting) those guys with the ability to close them down. 

Hi Guys!

Peace out, 

Gray (Pat, you may call me Mr. Silva)


Winning Letter

Where to Turn?

Hi Skin Deep,

I am just writing as I am now bewildered as to where to go for advice.

I am a youth worker in Surrey who is heavily tattooed, and the ages of the young people I work with are primarily 13-16. I do talk with young people about my mistakes with tattoos and suggest that if they want a tattoo:

a) They should definitely wait until they are 18 without question!

b) Find a really good shop where the artist is willing to discuss designs with them and take them step by step through the hygiene process of new needles, new inks, etc

c) They maybe find a design they like and then put it on the wall by their bed for at least 6 months. If they can still look at it and enjoy it after that time then it could be a possible tattoo in the future.

I also see a lot of self-body modification; scarification and surface peircings done with skewers! I realise that young people nowadays, along with ‘helpful’ guides on Youtube are going to try things out on themselves but this concerns someone with their own shop

Just recently I have had a lot of young people coming in with what I believe to be very poor quality tattoos, which were done at a local shop.

I know that the age for tattooing is 18, no ifs, buts, or maybes, but the guy who is doing the work is offering tattoos to minors as long as they have parental permission in the form of a letter!

My work doesn’t want to get involved for one reason or another, which confuses me as a big part of our remit is ‘safeguarding young people.’ I’m told if I want to complain then do it under my own steam and name.

The local police don’t seem interested unless the parent of a child complains and the health and safety are only interested in the health and safety of the shop and they tell me it seems all right. I cannot get parents involved as this then goes against the strict confidentiality agreement we have with the young people we work with.

What bugs me is the amount of complaints I receive about it; needles not being opened in front of the young person, dirty equipment...

I feel strongly about this as I know how hard the real professionals work and how they stick to the age old rules of cleanliness and cross contamination. This guy just appears to be a scratcher who doesn’t honestly give a fig about his clients or their age.

I know you don’t print details of ‘bad’ shops but I am not writing this letter particularly for publication, more to get advice about what I can do. It isn’t right that 15 years olds are being tattooed, never mind with really shoddy and bad tattoos.

Seriously, if someone can give me guidance as to how to tackle this, as everyone just keeps passing the buck, I would be extremely grateful.

Ness Watson,

Heavily Tattooed and Responsible Youth Worker


Hi Ness

Thank you very much for your letter and I must say I’m astonished that 

a; there is a registered tattooist happy to tattoo clearly underage people and

b; that there are parents stupid enough to sign their kid's skin away for some dodgy and by the sounds of it unhealthy ink work.

If prosecuted I’m certain that both the tattooist AND the parent of said child can be charged under the tattooing of minors act 1969.

Again I sit here agog in the fact that the police and your local health authority don’t seem to give a damn about this so-called ‘tattooist’ but also that the council or company that you work for who; as you say are: ‘safeguarding young people’. Really? It doesn’t sound like it to me.

It’s the lack of interest from these so-called ‘figures of authority’ that amaze me. Surely this is exactly the sort of thing that these organisations should be policing and hopefully educating our youngsters?

In this issue of Skin Deep we are providing a free guide to getting your first tattoo, which should reiterate many of the things you are quite rightly advocating the kids to look out for as well as many often asyed questions and some useful advice before you get your first tattoo.

Please give me a call and I’ll happily get some more of these guides out to you. 

All the best on your quest,


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Skin Deep 161 1 June 2008 161