Skin Deep 226

Skin Deep 226 25 June 2013 226

Last night, somebody broke into my car. I say ‘broke in’, but I’d actually left it unlocked which is a slightly different kettle of fish. The two front doors were pushed ‘not quite’ closed but not properly; the boot was the same. Inside, all the sun visors were down, the centre console and glove box were wide open. Whoever it was had taken great care to do whatever they were doing very quietly. I don’t actually think anything was taken though…

There was an old phone in the glovebox, along with about maybe ten compact discs of no value to anybody (I had even forgotten they were there). In the pocket of my door, there was a scruffy paperback, a few pens and a notebook. The only other stuff in there was a bunch of tangled charging leads and a pair of gloves under the seat. I know – gloves belong in the glove box, right? I’m pretty pissed at the invasion, but it could have been a lot worse than the loss of the 80-odd pence that I’d left in there.

I’m also pissed off because… well, what’s wrong with my stuff? That four-disc Kiss box set is a classic. That old Sony Cybershot still takes pretty good pictures, don’t you know? That’s the problem with thieves these days. There’s no honour and no taste – it’s just for the sake of it, not because you actually want something out of it.

And whilst I don’t want to draw parallels with tattooing, fact of the matter is, there are far too many. I get tons of mail every week asking my advice – and as a lot of you will know, I’m pretty good with that sort of thing – but when I ask to see portfolios, far too large a percentage mail in drawings that look like a school project. In some cases, I think they are school projects. Life has a way of keeping you from things that you’re not ready for. You can try and steal your way in but somehow, the honest cream will be the only thing left in the bottle. The world is pretty amazing about being its own spirit level.

I thought that might be a bit harsh, but last week, I was introduced to somebody that has just been taken under the wing of an artist that has become a really good friend. All day long, she draws. All day long she is never happy with the end result. The work flows out of her like a soul-machine and it’s beautiful. I don’t know how long this will go on for, but whatever their plan is, it works. She will go very, very far.

Conversely, last week, I got an email about a tattoo that had been ripped off from an original piece. What’s a man supposed to do? It happens… it shouldn’t but it does. And the only thing you can ever say about it is that a) the guy who did the original piece can kick back feeling good about himself and his work, but b) the guy who ripped it off (and it was hook, line and sinker) has nothing but a few quid in his pocket. If that’s what you want, fine. Knock yourself out. Chances are, if you never post on Facebook or anywhere else, nobody would ever know. I simply don’t get what possible satisfaction there is in it for the tattooist – and certainly not the bearer of the work who can now show off the inked-up equivalent of going out with your best friend’s girlfriend.

Your tattoo should be ‘your’ tattoo – just as your car should be your car. Is nothing sacred anymore? Probably not…


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