Skin Deep 165

Whilst reading the interview with Ade from Nine in this month’s issue (Page 36) he hit on a subject that I’ve been thinking about the for quite a while now. Ade mentioned that he often forms a long lasting relationship with many of his customers. I have often wondered what other professions have the pleasure of meeting so many diverse groups and individuals? Not many that I can think of. I can only put this down to tattooists having very close relationships with total strangers and quite often for extended periods of time; after all, tattooists are actually wounding folk and we put a great deal of faith in our chosen artists to tattoo us. Many tattooists I have spoken to – and indeed had the pleasure of being under their needles for hours on end - express the same feelings.

On the one hand you are basically stuck on a chair or table not able to move too much so you generally end up talking and that’s when friendships can be born. I have formed some great friendships with the artists who have worked on my body. I personally won’t get tattooed by somebody I don’t feel I have an affinity with. They could be the world’s best tattooist but if I feel that that person isn’t genuine then it’s no tattoo for me. 

So I got to thinking about other professions that can form these sometimes-lifelong friendships. Take plastic surgeons for instance; they have to work very closely with their clients and like tattooists, they are changing a person’s body shape, usually permanently. So after operating on somebody, do they then invite them out
for a drink or meet up at a later date for a social gathering? Possibly not.

That’s the wonderful thing about tattooing; it really breaks down not only people’s misconceptions but also boundaries and helps bring folk closer together. 

Which has to be a good thing. On a more worrying note I have just read about an ‘amateur’ tattooist who is being hunted by the South Wales Police after fears that he may have infected teenagers with HIV or Hepatitis. This buffoon tattooed up to a dozen young people at a ‘tattoo party’ in Dyfed, South Wales.

Most of us know that the tattoo industry is pretty much self-regulated by the artists themselves, many of whom are very strict about their sterility and health issues. Sadly there many ‘home tattooists’ who don’t give a fig about other people’s health and are willing to tattoo underage folk and really couldn’t care less about re-using equipment without the proper sterilisation techniques – hence the latest scare.

With the current proliferation of ‘home tattooists’, I’m sure the industry has been waiting for something like this to happen and this will only help those with the necessary powers to clamp down on the tattooing industry as a whole, bringing in unenforceable and badly thought out rules and regulations. This will make life very difficult for those professional and responsible tattooists to go about their daily business. The government or health authorities can bring in as many laws as they like but not one of them will make a blind bit of difference to the ‘scratchers’ as they flout the laws of this land anyway. The only ones to suffer will be the good guys – yet again.


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