7th October 2021
Ten years ago I got my first tattoo. At the time, I would have preferred to avoid it, but it was a rite of passage into an exciting career in art.
The majority of tattoos I’d seen where in the pages of Kerrang & Metal Hammer. I had friends who had got them, but I never wanted one, I knew they hurt.
Through my life I’ve fainted at injections and accidents involving my own blood. An operation I had at 16 created a strong anxiety around pain and blood through into adulthood. The ‘requirement’ to have a tattoo and tattoo myself was an overwhelming barrier.
At 27 I lived with my parents and worked in retail. By a chance meeting, I was given the opportunity by someone that had links to a new tattoo studio that may have space for an apprentice.
In July 2011 I quit my retail job to become an apprentice. It was a blind jump into the deep end.
I had no tattoos, drove 60 miles a day, putting fuel and food on a credit card in order to help turn a shell of a building into a studio. I don’t think I saw a machine or a tattoo being done until September when the studio opened.
As I watched clients get tattooed I felt the dread of the day when I needed to bite the bullet and become Initiated.
At least I could design my tattoo myself.
Starting with the logo of a band I was in, designed in 2000 when I left school, including initials of the members. The symbol I still use in the corner of my posts is my A R W portion of that.
Anxious as the stencil was applied and dried, I ate a chocolate bar and sipped Dr Pepper to raise my blood sugar. I couldn’t back out, It had to be done.
After 40 minutes I’d come through the other side, I had to lie down to stop me from passing out, I felt completely awful. The pain wasn’t terrible, but my mind and body didn’t help. Hot sweats, tingling fingers and nausea.
A few months later and it was looking more of a complete 1/2 sleeve. It didn’t become much easier. And I haven’t been tattooed since.
Drawing since 3 years old, 10 years tattooing. I’m really a geek who loves creating things, I have a busy mind and I love drawing.