Inkoming - 202

Published: 23 August, 2011 - Featured in Skin Deep 202, August, 2011

Let us know what you think about anything at all… so long as it's vaguely tattoo related, bring it on. We've got free t-shirts for the letter of the month but occasionally, the Gods shine down on us and we have other good stuff kicking around to send out.

Would that be a regular or large... 

As quite a heavily tattooed beautiful woman with a full sleeve of British butterfly’s, I feel I haved to write and tell you about my awful experience. I have just been working for a franchise of a well known coffee shop (Starbucks) at Welcome Break on the M5. After employing me and saying it was fine to show my tattoos, given a short sleeved top to wear and working there for a week, I was then bought a fleece jacket and told to cover up! 

After turning up to work in a smart black skirt, I was told to go home and change or buy tights to cover the tattoos on my legs. I felt very discriminated against as my beautiful tattoos have no effect on the way I work and the only comments I had from customers were how amazing my tattoos are. 

Walking out after eight weeks, I took legal advice but as I hadn’t been there long enough, there is nothing  I can do! I would love to name and shame these people as all I wanted to do was earn a crust. They really need to get in the real world! Most of their customers walking through the door have tattoos! 

Yours, a very disappointed 

Cath Toms

Thanks for the mail Cath - you’re not alone out there. From a sensible point of view, if they really knew it was a problem, they probably shouldn’t have given you the job in the first place and been honest with you. Sadly, that’s not the way of the world these days. Always happy to point a finger at a big corporation with ideas below its station. To be fair though, there are some out there (including a couple of big banks which surprised me) who do appear to have their heads screwed on right. I think a lot of the time, its just people throwing their weight around in a pointless power-play because they have nothing better to do. Sad, but true...


Teacher training

In summer 2010 I picked up my first issue of Skin Deep, Issue 187, and instantly became obsessed. Since then I’ve bought the magazine religiously; swapping The Times
Educational Supplement (I’m a trainee maths teacher) for the more colourful pages of Skin Deep to pass some time in between lectures and maths classes. The ‘Think Before You Ink’ supplement in that first issue really helped me understand what I should be looking for in studios and artists before letting them loose on my tattoo virgin skin. Within three months, I found Leigh Dale at Studio Odyssey Ormskirk who is friendly and professional and produced my first tattoo, my family crest on my shoulder blade, and since then I have been back to the studio for another piece on my back by Leigh and a gorgeous piece on my upper arm by Abbie France who also works at Studio Odyssey.

Until I started reading the magazine I was worried that being a teacher with tattoos would be a disadvantage when going for interviews, meeting employers, and having to constantly worry about keeping my skin completely covered up; but seeing the number of professionals and people from different walks of life that appear in your pages I’m no longer worried about what people will think of ‘that young teacher with the tattoos’ and I’m more focussed on my being a good teacher who happens to have tattoos, and not letting the profession stop me being myself.

It’s safe to say I’m always thinking about new pieces and body parts to test my pain threshold with and just thought I would drop you guys an email to say thanx for the help settling my first timers nerves last summer and for being there in double statistics to bring some much needed escape time! The latest issue, Issue 200, has taken me almost all month to read cover to cover and had the ‘Think Before You Ink’ supplement in it again so I thought it was about time I wrote in to tell you guys how hooked I am and hopefully there will be a few more people like me after this issue!


 Danni Brophy

P.S. As giveaways and promos go you guys are spot on, but I wouldn’t complain if you auctioned off Jim Smallman in the next issue, I’d happily clean some room out of my wardrobe for him to live in it!

I’m afraid Mr Smallman is busy for the next few weeks, but give him a chance to have a cup of tea and plaster some more Bepanthen on himself and we’ll shove him in a box and ship him out. Don’t feed him after midnight and don’t get him wet though. We’ve all seen the movie...


Does the man have a point?

I have recently read on a forum, a lot of negative comments regarding 'scratchers' and whilst I understand some comments are valid I also see the other side - especially since there is such a shortage of a) apprenticeships and b) help from established artists.

Admittedly I have started 'scratching' at home on pigskin and myself - due to the difficulty of locating the all important apprenticeship.

I have walked the length of my town and neighbouring towns and followed up with emails of my artwork, and whilst some reply with great enthusiasm (thanks 'Inkredibles' Bolton) and apologies for no current opportunities, many don’t reply at all!

Whilst I (loosely) use the word 'scratcher' to describe myself in this letter, I would also like to note that I believe I have followed all correct procedures: The first piece of equipment I ever bought was an autoclave and read up on all sterilization steps, I have read 'The Ultimate Tattoo Guide' numerous times, read all 7 issues of 'Machine Gun Magazine', upped my TV package to enable me to watch 'The Inks' religiously... it has taken me over 18 months to buy my equipment, I have struggled with the machine set up and still not thrown the towel in!  Which leads me to my question: “Is it such a bad thing for someone dedicated and passionate about the profession to teach themselves after failing to first seek an apprenticeship?”

'Scratcher' or not I will succeed and be damn good at what I want to do. I would love nothing more than to work alongside a pro, clean, answer the phone, sweep floors etc, and after teaching myself all I can, I will continue to find that apprenticeship to not only gain more knowledge but for the respect of the industry.  I cant help but feel that unless you know someone personally in this field (whether you’re talented or not) that you don’t stand a chance. So please give us a break - we don’t all charge for work from our bedrooms!  I feel as though I have been forced to 'scratch' as I refuse to give up on my dream.

Should anyone wish to offer me an apprenticeship, I would gladly hand over all of my equipment until you’re ready to hand it back!

Mark, Lancashire.


We are beautiful, no matter what they say...

I got my first tattoo on turning 40 after my husband of twelve years put me in hospital (yawn, we all have drama to tell!). I've had therapy, abused alcohol, took meeds and cried for a long time trying to heal. I had my ankle and knee tattooed to block life out. Chris (Hughes of Baby Boy in Bishops Stortford, Herts) carried on up my thing and at 42, he did my arm and shoulder.

He is a legend and for all the preconceptions of who gets tattooed in my quaint funny little village, doing the school run has never been so much fun thanks to him! 

Above all, with tattoos suddenly becoming fashionable, chic or whatever, it doesn't matter if you can find a way to express what's going on inside you. Having my work has changed my life and Chris deserves a pat on the back for turning me around. I remembered I was beautiful when I stopped looking in a mirror and started living again.

Thanks so much for taking the time to read this. I might sound like a kid, but I love the mag! 

JoJo, Essex.

Thanks Jo - always cool to get letters in which tattoos have played a big part in turning a life around. Nice work too…


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snailmail: LETTERS: Skin Deep Magazine, The Old School, Higher Kinnerton, Chester CH4 9AJ