Inkoming - 181

Published: 01 January, 2010 - Featured in Skin Deep 181, January, 2010

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

All Change For Preston

Hi Neil

Craig from Her Enemy here, just wanted to drop you an email and say how refreshing it was to see a bloke on the front of Skin Deep, as a warm blooded male, I love the ladies however it was great to see Preston on the front cover of Skin Deep recently.

Most tattoo magazines have women on the front, mostly in various states of undress, and in all the years I have bought the magazine it is usually the same, but bear it in mind, seeing guys on the front cover is a welcome change! Keep up the good work!

Also when can we apply to play next years Tattoo Jam? We had a great time last year!

All the best

Craigy Lee


Respect For The Industry

Hi Skin Deep

"Respect is something that takes time to earn in any industry and the tattoo business is no different. At some point in time someone thought enough of you to give you a wonderful gift that probably took them a long time to learn/earn. That knowledge should be held close to you and not just given away to some asshole whose probably just hanging out to infuse himself with your hard earned knowledge. Besides, how can you teach something if your are still learning yourself...  as for your so-called machine builders out there... There is know way you could possibly build a tool if you cant even use it. It’s because of all you newcomers out there that you can go on eBay at any given time a get a tattoo machine kit sent to your home for under $50.00. The more junk that’s cranked out; the lower the quality and prices are going to fall. The first thing you should do is become a well-rounded tattooist and that can take many years to accomplish in itself. 

By putting yourself out there before you are ready your just making yourself look like a fool and it’s just going to take longer to get to the place you want to be. Every machine that comes from my workshop is still made one at a time. I try not to outsource anything from frames to coil cores, just about everything is hand made in the great US state of Texas by one man. So the next time someone tells you a machine is hand made, you may want to look into it before you buy it. By buying machines from mass suppliers or less then knowledgeable builders you are just pushing this industry further and further into insignificance. Keep in mind a good machine can make you a better tattooist. On the other hand, shitty machines will definitely reflect in your work. Do the right thing and always make sure the person you are buying a machine from can not only build a nice looking machine but can do a well exceuted tattoo. If they can’t use it, then they should not be building it."

Jason Haney

Rings of Fire Tattoo studio, San Antonio, Texas.


Winning Letter

Don't Judge a Book...

Dear Skin Deep

Your correspondent, Steve Burge, has had two letters published (in consecutive issues 177-8) about his experiences with tattoos and the police, and both have been quite negative. It would be nice if you could publish a letter that perhaps redresses the situation somewhat.

In Steve's first letter, he wrote about how he thought the police recruitment policy was unfair to people with tattoos. Steve quoted an emailed reply from the recruitment department of the Met, without actually explaining what theme or coverage he has (or quoting the email he sent to the Met!).

It is worth pointing out that the police do accept applicants who have full sleeves - although this is judged on a case-by-case basis. The general police policy for tattoos is that "they must not be obscene, rude, racist, sexist, sectarian, homophobic, violent or intimidating”. To my mind, this is a perfectly acceptable policy.
Of course, these classifications are made by individuals in the recruiting process - so what the wearer may class as a perfectly acceptable cheesecake style pinup might easily be judged as sexist by the recruitment team of that police force. The policy also varies from force to force; if Steve did apply and was rejected by the Met due to his sleeves, he could try applying to a different force. It’s worth pointing out though that "public ink" on the face, neck and hands will almost always lead to rejection.

In Steve's second letter, he described an incident where a police officer told him he was a "high risk" due to the fact he was wearing an England shirt and had tattoos, and went on to say that police officers "must be told during training that all people with tattoos are thugs!"

I can assure Steve that police officers are not told during training that: "all people with tattoos are thugs". Indeed, many police officers have tattoos of their own, and in some instances will use tattoos as a way of breaking down barriers with people in conversation. There are plenty of police officers out there that can appreciate a well-done tattoo!

However, just like anyone else, a police officer will use visible ink to build up an impression of a person, and before we are to quick to judge, can anyone reading this honestly say that if, for example, they saw someone with a tattoo depicting an act of paedophilia that they would not form some kind of opinion of the wearer? I'm certainly not suggesting that Steve has this kind of tattoo, but even tattoos of daggers or flash style samurai swords through skulls can be seen as violent or aggressive.

It is impossible from Steve's letter to judge the police officer's tone - although we can tell that Steve responded to a perfectly polite greeting with "Not again" rather than acknowledging that this was a different police officer with which he had no previous dealings. If Steve doesn't like the idea that all people with tattoos are judged as thugs, perhaps he shouldn't judge all police officers as having the same views?

If Steve feels genuinely offended, he should contact the force concerned and ask to lodge a complaint so that the issue will be raised and the officer in question can be spoken to.

Thanks, Anon


Skin Deep 181 1 January 2010 181