Tabloids, Tattoos and Tinfoil Hats: Hannah Mosley at TEDxManchester
Our columnist, tattoo artist Hannah Mosley, recently did a talk at TEDxManchester, and for someone who claims to have taken up illustration because they’re “not good with words” it is an eloquent, incredibly interesting and well-paced talk on tattoo culture and media misrepresentation.
If you missed it, don’t worry, it was caught on film, check it out below.
We asked her some questions about the talk and how she feels now…
> How did you feel when you were asked to do a TEDxManchester talk?
Pretty damn good! Some of the organisers had seen me speak before so it was a great vote of confidence that they wanted to include me in the program for TEDxManchester. I was a little awestruck by some of the other speakers.
> How did you decide what to talk about?
I knew I wanted to talk about something that the whole audience could relate to. This led to the main focus of my talk being more about how discerning we are about the media we consume, using my experience as a tattooist to illustrate how even fairly innocuous seeming articles can really be pushing an agenda, rather than talking exclusively about tattooing. I figured if you’re at a TED talk you’re certainly going to be affected in some way, shape or form by media, even if you aren’t into tattoos at all. Hopefully tackling the topic this way also gave people who aren’t into tattoos an interesting insight into our industry without making them feel totally alienated.
> Were you nervous? What did you focus on?
I was climbing the walls a little beforehand, but a fellow speaker, author Anthony Lishak really talked me down so I went out on stage really excited. The audience were very keen, and I had a couple of very close friends in the crowd too, so I felt pretty relaxed once I got going.
> How did you feel after? Also how do you feel about watching the recording?
Aside from kicking myself for going over time by about four minutes, I felt pretty good. It’s useful to see the recording – hindsight is always 20/20 and it’s allowed me to refine my views and delivery a bit more. For instance, I felt a point that didn’t really get across in the talk was that I don’t believe the shaming of tattoos, even when they *are* celebrity-inspired, is helping anyone either. It could be seen in the video that I’m making the case that all tattooed people are getting work done for academic or deeply personal reasons, and that the nasty media keeps saying we just like celebs. That’s patently not true, lots of clients are heavily influenced by the portrayal of tattooed celebrities. Regardless, I still don’t think these clients personal decisions about their bodies should be fodder for shock-docs and patronising lifestyle articles.
Artwork by Hannah