Things Not To Say To Someone with Tattoos

The full title to this blog post should have been "Things Not To Say To Someone with Tattoos (i.e me) - Especially if You Don't Know Them" - but that seemed a bit unnecessarily long-winded. Not that that usually stop me. Also you can see me in the picture above (I'm the one in the middle, wearing a shirt). Anyway, you might have noticed that I have one or two subtle tattoos - not that I make a big deal about it or anything. And speaking as someone who has been under the inky needle a couple of times - these are questions that tend to get on your nerves afterwards (which usually come from complete strangers as well). What is it? How could I ever answer that if you've got the nerve to ask? I actually pinched this line from overrated folk singer, Bob Dylan, although he wasn't referencing tattoos at the time. And besides, it's clearly a tattoo of a blue tiger with horns on my knee. Anyone could see that. Why? Is that an existential question? I have absolutely no idea (or motivation) to answer this one. Ever. What is the meaning behind it? Why would you expect a ludicrous activity such as poking ink under your skin with a needle to make an indelible mark on your flesh, have any meaning whatsoever attached to it? Did it hurt? Yes, it fucking hurt. But not so bad that I didn't do it again after the first time. Ahem. Don't you worry about it being permanent? Unlike my hair - tattoos ARE permanent, it's an integral part of what tattooing is. If I was worried about it lasting forever I wouldn't have done it, and opted to doodle on my body with a biro instead. Silly bollocks. Are you addicted? On most days I put trousers on, does this mean I must be addicted to wearing trousers too? Don't you worry about what they will look like when you get old? No, because even without the tattoos I'd still be old, and have an old body. But hopefully I'll be more interesting than you. How much money have you spent on it? I've no idea. But I've no idea how much I've spent on other things I enjoy either - like going on holiday, or boozing down the pub. You'll never find work... Ok, this isn't a question - but it's still an annoying statement that gets said often (usually when I'm at the job centre, scratching on). You'll never find a partner (unless they have tattoos as well) Again, not a question, but people always seem to think that because I like tattoos on me - I must only like girls with tattoos too. Which is a ridiculous assumption to make; for example, I like to grow a moustache - but that doesn't mean I'd date a bird who had one. Did you get it to rebel/look hard? No! (i.e yes, yes I did) Oh and by the way - don't think you can randomly grab my arms to look at them either!

Tattoo Stats

One of my most popular blog posts was back in 2010 where I listed out all my tattoos and the meanings behind them. Needless to say, I've had quite a few more since then so that list is now well out of date - but you can view it here if you wish. These days one of the questions I get asked often is "how many tattoos do you actually have then?", to which my stock answer has been "I've lost count...". Taking this into account, I've decided to write a new blog post with an updated list of my inkage along with some photos for you lot to wank over. But not today. In the meantime, here is a list of random tattoos stats following a count-up I did last night when I was bored. 34 is the number of tattoos I currently have. 32 of these were done professionally in a shop and 2 of these were DIY jobbies at home (I had 6 other homemade tattoos that I've since had covered up, and 1 on my heal that faded away to nothing). 1 tattoo is currently still in progress; this is a full backpiece by Calypso Saga. Calypso previously did my full left leg which took 8+ sessions in total. I will blog separately about this later, but for now take a look at her website. 19 people in total have tattooed me, including Chad Koeplinger, Melissa Szeto, Liam Sparkes, Mil Martinez - plus myself and 2 friends from the pub. 2 of my tattoos were done abroad in Amsterdam and on the island of Koh Samui in Thailand. 0 of my tattoos are on my chest, neck, left arm, belly or cock! (This might change in the future...) 5 tattoos are on my ribs. 9 of my tattoos feature animals; mainly tigers/cats and snakes. 3 of my tattoos depict genitals: 2 willies and 1 minge. I'm planning on getting some nude ladies etched onto the gaps on my leg to readdress this balance. 6 are paying homage to heroes: GG Allin, Sebastian Horsley, Tom Fogerty, Michael Jackson, Vlad the Impaler and Voltaire. 12 of them feature skulls or dead things. This includes the the grim reaper, the voodoo symbol for death, the Russian criminal symbol for murder, a zombie, Medusa's severed head, a coffin, a ghost, a slain wolf etcetera. And that's your lot for now!

Friday the 13th Tattoo

http://youtu.be/i7ICm55JpLk
About a year or so ago, one of the tattoo shops around the corner from where I work in Soho were doing a special Friday 13th offer: get a "13" tattoo for just £13. Anyone who knows me well (which is probably only about three people and my mum's cat), would know that this is exactly the kind of opportunity I would jump at. I went along after work (and a couple of pints) and took a couple of my colleagues along with me to film it. It was originally the idea that the Video Department at work would edit the footage into something cool, but sadly that never came to fruition. Probably because they were busy doing real work or something. I might try and edit the video myself one day - although this is highly unlikely - but in the meantime you can view this short clip from YouTube (I basically just took out all the bits of me talking to the camera and grimacing in pain).

Prison Tattoo Video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tejce7senR0
Someone sent me this video via YouTube (@splattermac) because it made them "think of me". It's about 6 minutes long, but is well worth watching - it shows New York tattoo artist, Scott Campbell, making a prison-style tattoo machine and tattooing his friend in the park. Keep it real!

3 Tattoos in 3 Days

I was very bored this weekend and at a bit of a loose end, so I ended up getting 3 new tattoos. Two of them were by Liam Sparkes at Shangri-la and the other one was by Ben Nuthink at Kids Love Ink. You can't see what they are here, but I'll post better pictures when they're healed. I'm really happy with the results, but it's a bit of a worry that I only seem to get tattoos done when I'm in a really bad mood... [gallery]

List Mania 5: Tattoo Artists

It's been a while, but I thought it was time for another Monday Night List Mania. I've not blogged much lately because I've been doing long hours at work, which has pretty much made me hate computers in my spare time. I decided to make a list of the tattooists I need to get tattooed by (including links to their websites where possible). Duncan X - one of my all time heroes. Was in the band Sheep on Drugs. Works in London but has a very big waiting list and doesn't come cheap. Alan Graves - does colourful comic-style horror tattoos. I want a zombie off him. Calypso Saga Moore - works at Into You. Does amazing bold Japanese pieces. Thomas Hooper - does some very dark stuff. Coool. Tomas Tomas - does abstract tribal stuff. Adam Sage - does hand-poked stuff. Jondix - from Barcelona, Spain. Tas - does dark satanic stuff. Plays in the band Electric Wizard. Crystal Willis - this is a personal one. She doesn't work in a shop anymore... Melissa Szet0 - does some good realistic shit. Anu La Luna - does really good black and grey demons. Fergus - tattoos from home. Was on the cover of Home Made Tattoos Rule.

Tattoo Help Needed!

Warning: this will be a bit of a peculiar blog post. Just for change. I've not had much sleep lately - tonight was meant to be an early night - but instead I find myself at 1am, tipsy on Scotch, listening to The Damned and posting gibberish (again). Righto. Down to business: this is an appeal for help. Not in an" intervention - take me to the hospital/psychiatric ward" - kind of way... but I genuinely would like readers' input on this (and it's a tattoo question). I don't really like tattoos with text/lettering (unless it's ironic) - but for some obscure reason I need to get some wordy ink (in red) pretty soon. So I'm asking for suggestions please. My first ideas were: Arbeit macht frei The end is nigh His beard was grizzled, no? See you next Wednesday Happiness is a warm gun Dog will hunt Fire walk with me Common sense isn't all that common Garbage Pail Kids Neil, your bedroom's on fire I am happy Or any other suggestions that're really cool, stupid or brutal...

How Not To Tattoo Yourself

So anyone reading this probably knows I'm a fan of the odd tattoo here and there, and that recently I've been doing a few of my own. The results have been mixed at best, but if you need a quick recap: Tom Fogarty - Tattoos More Dog Bites GG Allin Tattoo I was quite pleased with my last attempt (the GG Allin tribute) , but alas, it didn't last long. After just a few weeks it began to fade fast. This left me with 3 options: 1) Leave it to fade 2) Get a professional to sort it out 3) Have a second attempt myself. Anyone who knows me well, will know that I had to choose option 3 - even if I would end up making a total mess of it... I decided to try a coverup - a simple bomb design. My reasons were thus: 1) It reminded me of the Danger Mouse cartoon from my childhood 2) It reminded me of the Bob Ombs from Super Mario Bros. 3) It has significance in Russian criminal tattoo parlance 4) It would be easy to do. Well, I can say with certitude that it was a magnificent failure. Rather than improving my technique, this turned out to be a lesson in "how not to tattoo". If you can imagine an episode of Mr Bean, in which Mr Bean attempts to tattoo his heal, that would be pretty near the mark. At first my stool was too tall; I could only reach the pedal at a stretch. This made me knee jig up and down (and this was to be the surface on which I rested my heal while tattooing). I decided to sit on the floor instead. I then had to contort my body into a yoga-like pose to reach the spot. The kind of pose you'd have to get in to if you were to try and suck your own dick (not that I've tried of course - I wouldn't do that, honest...). Then the needle kept snagging in my skin. I shortened the length of the needle and changed the angle at which I was holding it. Then I ran out of ink. After refilling my cap, the tattoo machine stopped working altogether. The coil seemed to stop conducting electricity. Or something. I'll have to buy another bloody one now. So here are the (half-finished) results. If I could retract my actions  and have an unmarked foot - would I? No way! With the benefit of hindsight I can now say that my earlier attempts stayed in due to beginner's luck rather than raw ability. In my defence, however, I've since read this information: Yahoo Answers

Tattoo Me, Tattoo You…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gEY8gJt4YH0
Just a short one tonight/this morning. A random one. I love this clip. Blokes male-bonding. Not in a Jackass kind of way; no buggery involved here. Not tonight anyway. Bought a tattoo gun on ebay and away they go! They make tattooing look so easy, but in reality it's very difficult; maybe it's just beginner's luck. The best way I can describe it is that tattooing is a bit like trying to paint a watercolour with an electric toothbrush. Obviously, where I went wrong was not tattooing penises on bananas first... Watch and be inspired!

My Tattoos

I've always been a big fan of tattoos. I enjoy the juxtaposition of art and seediness. I got my first tattoo when I was 18, my second at 22, but only recently have I started getting them regularly. I currently have 12, and they're all quite random. They're also pretty stupid but I don't regret any of them. You can try to rationalise tattoos - to justify your choices with personal significance ("I got an angel to represent my dead aunt who watches over me" etcetera); but at the end of the day, tattoos are impulsive, reckless foolery. And I love that. Here's a picture of each of them, with a brief description. I didn't know whether to list them in chronolgical order, or reverse chronological order etcetera... so in the end I decided to listy them in random order. This is a piece of Liam Sparkes' flash. I really like the image and it looks like the pub signpost, The Slaughtered Lamb, from the film An American Werewolf in London. My favourite song from the film's soundtrack is Bad Moon Rising by Creedence Clearwater Revival, hence the tattoo text. The song was written by Tom Fogerty, so it seemed like fate to get the tattoo. It's underneath my right bicep. This is a Russian criminal tattoo of a black widow, by Liam Sparkes. In Russian prisons, tattoos have deep symbolic meaning, and have to be earned (tattoos = status). If you are found to have a tattoo that have not earned - they will kill you. This one either means "murderer" or "thief" (I can't remember which). I got it for shit and giggles. If I go to Russia and remove my trousers I'm a dead man! It's on the front of my right thigh. Smiley acid face. This is my second tattoo - I had it done when I was 22. I've always liked this symbol and I used to be a fan of acid during my university years. People still think this is a transfer when they see it (and I still love that reaction).  It was done by some bloke in Greenwich. The yellow is fading fast... This was an "X" inside my lip - I had it done done for a girlfriend at the London Tattoo Convention in 2008. After about 2 years it turned into a "Y". I guess that's the power of chromosomes for you. We've since split up but it's still a funny story of whim and folly. This tattoo was visible in the last photo so I might as well list it here. It's a moustache on my finger. It was done in the middle of the night - a work night I should add - by Liam Sparkes. I had it done after I shaved off my handlebar moustache. I'm not a huge Ghostbusters fan or anything, but I've always been a fan of this image. It's on my inner thigh, next to the black widow spider (quite a sore place to get done). People usually think this is the most stupid of all my tattoos.  This was also done by Liam Sparkes. A lot of the red ink fell out after it healed, needs touching up (ooh er, missus...). I did this one myself! It's very crude but I'm still proud of it. It says "CRIPS", a Los Angeles street gang. Again, it means I'm a dead man if I go there and remove my trousers. My first tattoo when I was 18 (12 years ago now!). It's a sun on my hip. I don't even notice it's there anymore - I've had it so long it feels like a birth mark I've learned to live with. Done by a big fat man in Nunhead while I was still at school. Happy days... This is taken from an old wood-cut of Vlad the Impaler (i.e Dracula). It was done by Liam Sparkes as a part barter for me setting up his website (it's sort of his trademark piece). It's on my right bicep and might be my favourite tattoo... I did this one on myself with a needle, thread and Indian ink - prison-style-eee. Took bloody ages to do and it's wonky, but I love it just the same. Nothing else to say really... This is a cat on my knee by Liam Sparkes. I love cats, me, so I had to get a cat tattoo. Because it's on my knee it gets distorted quite a bit, and it seems to have bat/rabbit ears. This one hurt. A lot. Last one (so far). Also by me, not finished yet - another Russian prison tattoo. I messed up the crown, and it needs lots of shading added. Front of left thigh. Work in progress...

www.liamsparkes.com – Live This Week

I've just finished this website for Shangri-la tattooist, Liam Sparkes. The site was made entirely with HTML, CSS and JavaScript, and I'm really pleased with the results. Check out the website and get some ink done: www.liamsparkes.com  

www.liamsparkes.com – COMING SOON!

I'm currently designing a website for talented tattoo artist, Liam Sparkes. There's only a holding page there at the moment, but have a look and keep checking back for updates. www.liamsparkes.com
Liam does some really cool and unusual tattoo work, and has recently done quite a few tattoos on me, no less.
Go and see him at his studio:
Monday-Wednesday (12-noon till late) Shangri-la Tattoo Parlour 52 Kingsland Road Shoreditch London E28DP

I Went To Prison and All I Got Was This Lousy Tattoo…

Having signed up to every social networking site possible in order to shamelessly plug my websites, I thought maybe some hot male nudity might help... Actually, I've been arsing around with Photoshop. All tattoos taken from duncanx.com PS. My new year's resolution is to smile more..