26 July 2012

My love for tattoos


A picture of Vicky Morgan tattooing
Today I got my newest tattoo. A birthday present from my lovely boyfriend. And it has inspired me to write a much requested post. Almost on a daily basis I get asked on either here or Twitter about my tattoos, whether I will do a post about them, tips, advice, etc. So I thought now was as good'a'time as any. 


Today's tattoo was done by the very talented Vicky Morgan. Vicky has been my tattooist for a long time and does custom work at her studio in Derby. The studio, Ghost House, is co-owned by herself, her partner Lee LWB, their friend Justin Burnout and the guy who owned it previously. All produce exquisite work, all custom designed, and all done with the up-most passion towards their work. The studio is situated in the center of Derby and is one of the most beautiful studios I have ever been in. 

One question I get asked a lot, which I suppose I should answer first off, is how many tattoos I have. This is actually now an impossible question to answer. I have various pieces all over my body, with the intention to be fully covered in my later years, minus my face, head, palms of hands and soles of feet (and my lady bits, ouch) I have pretty much my whole body planned out. But here is what I do have...

A chest piece 
Swallow on each collar bone
An almost complete sleeve (right arm) themed around tea, owls and books
A large anchor piece on left hand side of my back
A large buoy piece on the right hand side of my back
Three Egyptian symbols down my spine
A tribal at the bottom of my back (tramp stamp!)
A crow in flight on the right bottom side of my back
A Great white shark on my left ribs
Scissors on my right foot
A ribbon going up my right lower leg
Cherries on my left foot
A peacock on my left ankle
A pincushion on my left thigh
Three stars on my left arm
Script on my left wrist
Script on the side of my left hand
And today's piece, a shark and anchor piece on my left forearm. 

A picture of Vicky Morgan tattooing
I got my first tattoo two months before my 18th birthday and since then they have been a pretty constant occurrence in my life. I adore being a tattooed lady. It makes me feel so much more happier within myself and far more confident than I ever was without them. I love my tattoos. Yes, some are of poorer quality than others due to poor choices I used to make with tattooists. But all of the work over the past couple of years, predominantly by Vicky, has been of an amazing quality and I wouldn't change any of them for the World; even the ones which aren't as good. 

To me, body modification is a personal choice. I get my fair share of negative remarks due to them. I get told they make me look masculine, I get asked if I am a lesbian (because obviously if you have tattoos, you're a lesbian.... the mind boggles) I get told I look ugly, that they don't suit me, that I've ruined my body, that I'll regret them. And I say the same thing to every single person that makes these comments.

Tattoos make me happy. When I am older, I will be the coolest, most colourful, wrinkly old granny around. 

A picture of a Shark Anchor Tattoo by Vicky Morgan
After the first half of tattooing today; line work and shading

Quite often I am asked for advice on tattoos. So here it is. Sorry if it sounds a little ranty; I get so frustrated when I see people get tattoos on a whim, don't make an effort to do their research and don't pick a decent artist. Tattoos are forever, they take so much more thought than walking in to a random studio on a whim and picking a design off of the wall/Google images.

Design.
Don’t settle for a design that has already been tattooed on God knows how many people around the World. Most tattoo shops do have flash available to look at but don’t be lazy. Don’t just look at some flash, pick out a piece and decide to get it on your body forever more. If you like a piece on flash, then use that as a basis for your own piece. Get it altered/changed to suit you personally. Make it individual. Make it your own.
Never steal an artists piece. A proper tattooist, is an artist. If you see a piece drawn by a tattooist, do not just decide to steal that artists work and have it tattooed by someone else. Talk to the artist, ask them if they would be willing to tattoo it on you, or even sell you the piece. If not, ask them if you can use their design as a basis for your own. Do. Not. Steal. An. Artists. Work. Common courtesy, respect and common sense, really.

Six month rule
I don’t do this so much anymore but a few years back with some of the bigger pieces, I did. A tattoo is going to be on you forever, so spending a few months thinking about it isn’t going to hurt. Patience really is a virtue where tattoos are concerned. Get it designed, then think about it. Have it somewhere you can see it on a daily basis. If you still want it done after a considerable amount of time and thought, you know you won’t regret it. Tattoos on the spur of the moment can sometimes be fun, good memories. But most of the time all they are is one huge mistake! Think about it carefully. 

Choosing your tattooist.
Don’t just jump into the first tattoo shop you come across. Do some research. Decide the style you want, then find an artist that is good at that particular style. Internet sites can be misleading on the quality of tattoos and often you’ll find you find an artist you adore, but they live on the other side of the World! There are some easy ways to find the right artist for you and there are so many astounding tattoo artists out there! Instagram (however much people hate the app) is a great way to find tattooists. A lot of really talented tattooists use Instagram to share their work. Magazines; Total Tattoo and Skindeep, both brilliant magazines for design ideas, artists and finding the right place for you. Tattoo conventions are also a great way to find the right artist for you, so check a few conventions out if you can!

Do it for the right reasons.
Don’t get a tattoo for the wrong reasons. Sorry to state the obvious, but a tattoo really is permanent. Don’t get a tattoo because of anyone else; what they will think, peer pressure, to fit into certain social groups. Think it through carefully, be sure it’s what you really want. Don’t follow a trend. It does nothing but make you look a fool.

Don’t be an utter fucking twat.
If you do not have a considerable amount of tattoo coverage, do NOT get your fingers, hands or neck tattooed. I don’t care what anyone says; if you do not have considerable coverage, or work in the industry yourself, you are nothing but a twat if you get your fingers, hands or neck tattooed. 

Aftercare.
Look after your tattoo properly. A tattooist can do an impeccable job, but you can still fuck it up royally if you do not look after it properly. Listen to your tattooists advice. Keep it clean. Keep it out of direct sunlight whilst healing. Do not use perfumes/body sprays/etc on the area until it is healed. Do not drown it in bepanthen - Less is more. Some tattoos scab, some peel, some don't do anything at all. Do not itch a new tattoo, do not pick at any scabs or peeling flesh.

How I look after my tattoos.
When you leave the studio, your tattoos ~should have~ been cleaned and wrapped in cling film by the tattooist. Keep this on for a couple of hours. Then take off the cling film, wash the tattoo and surrounding area in cool, clean water and use Carex sensitive liquid hand soap. Pat it dry with a soft, non-abrasive towel. Leave it to cool down/dry for a good ten minutes, then re-apply cling film. Ensure you do not wrap this too tightly - It will cause the tattoo to be even more sore, unnecessarily so. Do this several times over the first 24 hours (yes, even at night) After 24 hours, keep cleaning it as stated above, but instead of applying cling film, add a thin layer of bepanthen to the tattoo and surrounding area. You then need to wash the tattoo 2-3 times a day and continuous the process of applying bepanthen, until the tattoo seems moderately healed.

Don’t be afraid to ask.
Your tattooist isn’t just there to tattoo you. If you have any questions, ask them. That’s what they are they for.

A picture of a Shark Anchor Tattoo by Vicky Morgan
I hope this answers the many questions I get about tattoos. Sorry I haven't included photos of my other tattoos; I actually don't photograph my tattoos very often!
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