Skin Deep 175

You may or not have seen in the news the story about a young Belgian girl who, having asked for a three small stars to be tattooed on her face, promptly fell asleep and ended up with fifty-three extra stars across the right side of her face and nose. Apparently she fell asleep and the tattooist just carried on tattooing until she woke up.

Hmm, this just sounded like another piece of media hype, but delving deeper, the tattooist defended his work saying the eighteen year-old asked for all of the stars. 

As you can imagine, the press jumped all over this news worthy story with headlines saying “scarred for life!” and others.

The truth only came out after yet another interview with the girl in question by a local TV company. After the TV guy had finished the interview, the girl admitted that she fabricated the story after her dad went ballistic at her. Unfortunately for her, the cameras and recorders were still rolling so the truth came out that she had actually asked for all the stars to be done.

This poses the question should all tattooists make their clients fill in a waiver or tattoo consent form prior to getting the tattoo done? Obviously there are many tattooists out there that do this as a matter of course and I believe that in Scotland it is mandatory to do so. (This includes health issues and the understanding of what a tattoo is).

But, as usual, the rest of the UK is sadly lacking in this simple but often overlooked piece of legislation.

Just imagine if the ‘star girl’ had not been found out about her ‘fabrication’, she and her family could have happily gone ahead with a big law suit and sued the unfortunate tattooist for a great deal of money.

So what about that one-off custom piece? How does your tattooist complete a freehand tattoo? And if you don’t like the tattoo, does this give the customer the right to sue said tattooist?

Should each tattooist offering a freehand/custom service have to do a design on paper and produce a finished picture for the customer to sign off before they even pick up a tattoo machine and will the customers then have to sign a waiver form?

This could a be double-edged sword because the waiver could allow bad tattooists to get away with shoddy and less than perfect work and wave their magic ‘get out of jail free’ piece of paper should the customer not be happy with the work.

Alternatively, you could have a good and very talented tattooist sued and have the possibility of losing his business because of a customer suing because a degree of ‘artistic license’ was used or if they are unhappy with the tattoo. (A good friend of mine is having this very same situation going on at the moment, where a customer is convinced that a single line in her tattoo is wrong. I have seen the line in question – as have many other tattooists - and all agree that there is nothing wrong at all - so she is suing him.) Sad, but true.

I fear this situation could result in another insurance policy needed for tattooists and cases going through the law courts. Yep, here we go again with yet another situation where the insurance people and solicitors get rich and there is yet another piece of red tape bureaucracy that could be used as an excuse for not opening or working in a proper, registered shop/studio by the ever-increasing numbers of ‘Kitchen wizards’.

Hopefully, common sense will prevail as the majority of tattoo clients do their homework and choose a tattooist that they trust and will have done some research as to who will be tattooing them in the first place, but sadly, there will be those who don’t.

On a happier note, by the time you read this it will only be a few weeks before Tattoo Jam is upon us. The TJ team have worked tirelessly to bring you a top tattoo event to showcase the world’s best tattooing talent. We have an unrivalled artist list with two hundred and twenty tattooists all working over the weekend of 7th- 9th August, all housed in a superb venue – Doncaster racecourse.

The racecourse is a HUGE venue, which is perfect for showcasing the tattooing talent that weekend.

As well as the top tattooists there will be plenty of stalls selling everything from handmade jewellery to t-shirts and everything in between.

Like live music? We have that covered with thirty live acts playing all styles of music over the weekend to keep you entertained. 

Hungry and thirsty? There is a massive food court on site and Doncaster racecourse’s motto of ‘you are never far from a bar’ rings true with lots of room to have a beer and relax over the course of the weekend.

We will be having a charity auction on the Saturday evening with some fantastic lots including a signed guitar from the tattooed rocker – PiNK, as well as many other unique items with all the proceeds going the Papyrus Trust – a charity that helps teenagers cope with suicidal tendencies.

If you are a tattooist coming for the weekend you can stock up on the latest inks, machines and anything else that you might need in the trade area (don’t forget to bring your health registration forms or you won’t get in!)

The whole show kicks off with the artist friDAY, this is a day designed for tattooists with lots of FREE oh yes, FREE seminars, workshops and more as well as a chance to get to meet other tattooists, swap ideas and generally have a day for yourselves before we open the doors to the public on the Saturday.

All of the attending tattooists will be available for work so if you feel the need for some ink, artist friDAY will be the day to get some.

You don’t have to be an artist working the
show to attend the artist friDAY. If you are a registered tattooist, you are more than welcome to attend the day. (Again, just bring your health reg forms with you)

Doncaster is pretty much smack in the middle of the country with superb access route either by road, rail or air so it couldn’t be easier to come and enjoy the experience that is Tattoo Jam. For tickets and more information go to: or

See you there!


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