Category: Photo inspiration

Alopecia, body confidence and tattoos, by Drew Beckett

Embrace the change, don’t deny it.

We chat to 31-year-old civil servant Drew Beckett (@drewjbeckett) who lives in London about alopecia, body confidence and tattoos…

Drew Beckett Drew Beckett

Can you tell us a little about your background, and what first attracted you to getting tattooed? I grew up in Hertfordshire in a very middle-class environment and enjoyed an extremely happy childhood. I went to an all-boys private school and had very little exposure to anything alternative beyond what I might see in films such as Bound and Run Lola Run.  Once I was old enough to establish a bit of independence, I began to commute to London a lot and fell madly, hopelessly in love with a city of infinite variety. I saw tattooed punks in Camden and realised that there was another world to explore, and more than one way to look and live your life. I also hit puberty about the time Angelina Jolie was emerging as an alternative figure in Hollywood, which certainly didn’t hurt my perception of tattoos! As soon as I was 18 I went with my best friend to a tattoo parlour in the basement of a Camden nail salon. As luck would have it, tattoo artists Thomas Hooper and Nica LeHead worked there. Forcing Thomas Hooper to tattoo a rubbish tribal dragon on my stomach remains a source of perverse pride. But even though the dragon is terribly dated, it began a fascination with tattooing and the culture of tattooing that I doubt will ever leave me. I have very fond memories of that basement!

Drew and his tattoos

When did you get alopecia? Can you tell us a little more about what alopecia is and how you got it? Alopecia is an auto-immune condition initiated when the body attacks itself. There are three types – areata, totalis and universalis. Universalis represents total hair loss, and that’s  the type I have. There are many theories as to what triggers alopecia – from genetics to lifestyle – but there’s been very little research and no cure. The general consensus is that my alopecia was triggered by stress, though I choose not to dwell on the cause too much. I began noticing the symptoms  in 2011. At first it manifested itself as a hole in my beard about the size of a 50p coin, before clumps of hair fell out until my head looked as if someone had shaved a map of the world onto it. I saw a specialist, but by this point my hair was falling out at such a rate that there was nothing they could suggest, and any suggestion probably wouldn’t have worked anyway. I remember crying in the back of my parent’s car for around one minute once I realised doctors couldn’t help me. That was the first and last time I’ve cried about it. Soon after my eyebrows fell out, then my eyelashes, then everything else. Be grateful for having nostril hair – I now have no idea when my nose is running!

Drew – Before
Drew’s alopecia was brought on by stress and began as a small patch in his beard.

What artists have tattooed you and how did you pick them? I consider myself extremely lucky with regards to the artists I’ve been tattooed by. 14 years later, and the shoulder caps Thomas Hooper did for me still look amazing. Being tattooed by Nica LeHead changed my life in ways I didn’t understand until I was considerably older, but gave me access to places like Into You and Divine Canvas. I have a sleeve by Duncan X and the genius Delphine Noiztoy from the Lacemaker’s Sweatshop has begun an epic front-piece that I can’t wait to continue. I collect hearts as well, to which Alex Binnie and Matty D’Arienzo have contributed. My hands were tattooed by L’ain Freefall, and I have some awesome work from Paupiette, who designed the sexiest bald pin-up for me. I’ve also got a sleeve of Frith Street designs, and a cool Godspeed You! Black Emperor tattoo from Dwam. A lot of thought went into my Duncan X sleeve, but beyond that everything else has come about fairly organically. Alopecia was strangely liberating; by removing a certain level of control over the way I look, I was forced to find ways to re-define my image and have been able to be a more experimental and carefree as a result. My time at Into You was integral to that process as they are such a nurturing family of artists. Since then, Delphine has been instrumental in helping me rebuild my confidence and reshape the way I feel I’m perceived. So tattoos have formed two functions; the aesthetic and the therapeutic.

What is your favourite tattoo? There is no way to answer that question as I don’t really think of my tattoos as distinct pieces, more as components of an ongoing whole. I’ve always been proud of Duncan’s script of a Frank O’Hara poem on my arm, as well as the fact I have an example of his actual handwriting permanently inked onto me. Sometime I have to pinch myself when I think about how lucky I’ve been.


What tattoos are you working on at the moment? The main project is my front-piece, and I don’t think poor Delphine quite realises how much I’ve got planned. She is the only person I trust to tattoo my head and neck, which I think will be an extremely exciting project.

Drew was a model at an ‘Art Macabre’ life drawing evening at Somerset House last year. Photo by Heather Shuker

What next? What tattoos do you have planned? Beyond my work with Delphine, I haven’t got any concrete plans. I have a ‘party’ leg of random designs which I’d like to add too, particularly as everything on it so far has been done by artists I’m close to. I have saved my left leg for Paupiette, and one day I look forward to starting that – which will hopefully be a design that’s planned in advance!

Does alopecia make tattoos hurt more or less? Or does it make no difference The only difference alopecia makes is that you don’t need to shave the area getting tattooed, but after that the pain is just the same for everyone!

Do you think that getting tattooed is an important part of body acceptance? For me, yes. I was able to take control of how I presented myself to the world. If I was given the opportunity to have my hair back, I wouldn’t take it. But this is a personal and subjective decision. I certainly don’t think body acceptance is predicated on body modification. Tattoos aren’t for everyone, and I think there are other ways for someone with alopecia to mitigate their loss without the need to black in their nipples. Thanks to the democratisation of the internet, there is a lot of inspiration online for anyone wanting to own a condition they didn’t choose. Once you get your agency back – by whatever means – alopecia becomes much easier to handle. My outlet was tattoos, but I have seen some sufferers find all sorts of creative outlets to embrace the baldness, and that’s incredibly inspiring.

What do you enjoy about the aesthetic of your tattooed body? First and foremost, I enjoy wearing my friend’s work and their love on my skin forms a permanent armour that I carry with me every day. Aesthetically there is something incredibly empowering about having a giant skull on my chest, and I enjoy the heightened feeling of otherness the combination of my tattoos and baldness give me. I hope to continue to explore that union and harmony, and eventually perfect a look somewhere between androgynous alien and Mad Max War Boy. There is nothing better than wearing a well-fitting suit with tattooed hands though!

Any advice to others who have alopecia? Alopecia is a deeply traumatic experience which no-one can fully empathise with until they’ve experienced it. As a result, it’s rare that people will accept how emotionally difficult the loss of control over your body is. So firstly, I would reassure anyone that it’s OK to grieve for what you’ve lost. Secondly, I would suggest (though this is a matter of choice) not fighting it. When my hair began falling out, Duncan tattooed ‘Adapt and Overcome’ on my neck. Embrace the change and style it out. Alopecia gave me a modelling contract, left me better dressed and – most importantly – forced me to become a kinder person. The process of change is wrenching, but once it’s over you have the opportunity to be reborn, to reshape your identity both spiritually and physically. Alopecia can grind you down, but it can’t kill you. You’ll still be hot without hair, you’ll still be charismatic and you’ll still be an amazing human. Embrace the change, don’t deny it.

Ilaria Pozzi – tattooed model and muse

Ilaria Pozzi is a model, a muse and so much more. In photographs we see her portrayed as a woman, who is obviously tattooed, but that it not what stands out the most. The way that she can show her audience more than one person, more than just one facet in a two dimensional photo, is inspiring. The emotions that Ilaria can project hits the observer in so many different ways, meaning that she can be numerous people at any one time. 

Our Italian contributor Ilaria chatted to her about the tattoos on her body and the emotions connected to her photo shoots…

Which photo would you choose to introduce yourself to those who do not know you? The one above. Titled ‘Almost Blue’ by Francesco Tretto. 

Was your first love tattoos or photography? What is the relationship/connection you see between the one and the other? They both are two forms of art expressed through images, the mean of communication with which I have always had more affinity. They are often linked artistically but in my opinion their relationship is, above all, a huge historical and cultural value. The first memories I have are about photography. I remember that my grandfather took pictures of me in his garden.

 Mira Nedyalkova

Beauty is fragility. Beauty, however, is also strength. What is your concept of beauty?  For me, it’s uniqueness. I usually find beautiful what is outside the box, that is not how it should be or as you do not expect.

What emotional impact does getting a new tattoo have for you? How do you feel after a photo shoot? I choose to get tattooed because it makes me feel good. I am happy after every tattoo. After a photo shoot I feel different emotions, depending on the type of work and the team. I can be excited, stressed, calm, etc.

Ilaria’s favourite photo by Mira Nedyalkova

In many of your works we see you are almost or completely naked. What is your idea of intimacy? To me the moments of my private life are intimate, my thoughts and my feelings. As those who wear a uniform at work, I can be naked or I wear clothes that I will not use in my private life.

You cannot separate the body from the soul. True or false? False. There are two distinct realities: the physical one, which has a structure inherently mathematical, determines every physical process, chemical or biological. And there is psychic reality, that generates feelings and thoughts and that transcends the laws of physics.

Share Your Air by Mira Nedyalkova

A photo, a memory, can often become a tattoo. Those who photograph you also capture your life and your memories. How does this make you feel? I believe that, whenever you portray a tattooed or not tattooed person, you always capture their history, life and memories, etched on the face, the body or in the eyes. Yes, I can feel vulnerable, but if I have faith in who is behind the camera, that doesn’t happen.

Which are the tattoos you are more connected with? And the artists you admire the most? I am attached to all of them, because they were made by friends who are also artists I really admire. Here are some: Stefano Prestileo (who also tattooed my back piece) Carlo FastColors, Krooked Ken to name just a few.

Share Your Air by Mira Nedyalkova

How do you feel when it’s you behind the camera? I like to be able to observe and capture what I see as I see it. In a simple yet direct way, I can create an image from my point of view, always having a lot of respect for who or what I’m observing.

Do you have any ideas for your next tattoo? I should colour the snakes on my head, done by Stefano Prestileo, and I was also thinking to get a duck on my left foot!

Share Your Air by Mira Nedyalkova

Cross-Stitch Tattoos by Eva Krbdk

Turkish tattoo artist Eva Krbdk from Daft Art Tattoo creates beautifully crafty cross-stitch tattoos. From up close the designs are made up of tiny crosses, the tiny brightly coloured stitches also look like pixels, but look at the image from a far and you will see a colourful design, much like any cross-stitch embroidery.

Follow her on Instagram for more amazing tattoos

The Bearded Lady

This is an article and photo shoot called The Bearded Lady that was originally published in issue 10 of Things&Ink magazine (February 2015).

Meet an inspirational woman called Harnaam Kaur… She is a 24-year-old teaching assistant who has hopes of becoming a body confidence activist. Here she shares her story of overcoming bullies, taking control of her own journey and learning to love her body…

Photographs by Heather Shuker / Assisted by Maisie Jo Manning / Hair and make-up by Keely Reichardt using MAC Cosmetics / Styled by Olivia Snape / Gold earrings and head pieces by Gypsy East / Editorial by Alice Snape / Photo editing by Lydia Rayner

I am a British-born Sikh female living in Slough in the UK. I had a fairly “normal” upbringing, my parents gave me a lot of love, and we had a lot of fun on numerous family holidays and days out. But on the other side of happy families, I also remember being severely bullied in primary school – starting from as far back as nursery – and even getting beaten up, the bullying lasted until late secondary school. Being bullied day in, day out, led me to become very suicidal and I also used to self harm to release some of the hurt I was suffering. But I managed to stop myself as I realised that I was just causing myself more emotional and physical pain.

Over the years, I feel like I have gone through a rough time with my body. I have always been a chubby child, but then I was diagnosed with polycystic ovaries – it was around the time I hit puberty. Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a condition in which there is an imbalance in hormones within the female body, this has led me to have more male hormones than female hormones, and it is also the reason why I have a beard. I used to remove my facial hair every other day by travelling to beauty salons. I had to have my face waxed two to three times a week, and on the days I couldn’t bare the pain I would simply shave. Having this medical condition also made me to put on a lot of weight, and losing weight with a hormonal imbalance is really tough for me. Now I have come to realise that this body is mine, I own it, and I do not have any other body to live in, so I may as well love it unconditionally. I have now fallen in love with the elements on my body that people may call flaws. I adore my beard, my stretch marks, my scars, these elements make me who I am now, and they make me whole.

But I haven’t always been so positive. When I was diagnosed I hit my biggest low. I hid myself away, I didn’t want to venture out into the public. My bedroom was my home, it was my heaven and it was my tomb – my safe haven. I was hugely depressed. I remember sitting on my bed and thinking about my life. It takes a lot of guts, strength and energy for someone to actually end their life. So I sat on my bed and counselled myself. I told myself “the energy you are putting into thinking about ending your life, put all that energy into turning your life around and doing something better.” At that point I was 16 years old, I decided I wanted to be me, I decided to keep my beard and step forward against society’s expectations of what a woman should look like. Today I am not suicidal and I do not self harm. Today I am happy living as a young, beautiful bearded woman.

Going out into the public for the first time with a beard was a horrifying experience. I remember going out in London with a group of friends, there was about 15 of us altogether. When I arrived in London, it seemed like the whole world had come out to look and point at me. I was stared at everywhere I went, by everyone. I remember being very miserable, but my friends were there to help me and try to keep me happy. After that experience, I started going out more and started to enjoy myself. I do get the odd looks from people, young and old, but I am used to them now. I mean I have been a bearded lady for seven and a half years, if I am not used to it now when will I ever be?

I want people to realise that each and every one of us is different. We are all imperfectly perfect. I want to show society that beauty isn’t just about looking a certain way, we should all celebrate individuality. I used to keep my beard for religious reasons, as Sikhs we are not supposed to remove our hair, but now I keep my hair to show the world a different, confident, strong image of a woman. I love my beard, it has become a part of my body and I do not want to remove it – it is the source of my strength and confidence. People just see the beard as hair, but my beard is much more than that. My beard gives me comfort as a woman, when I look at it I am reminded that we are all different and none of us are born the same. I adore my lady beard and I will forever cherish it. I do not trim my beard at all, I love how it freely curls and flows. People do make comments about it looking messy, but I love how it carelessly twangs in different directions. I love how my beard has body, that my beard has clean lineage on my cheeks and I guess I love the big volume that my beard has.

Now things have changed for me a little, as people have read about my story online and in magazines, they sort of understand who I am. I am currently working in a nursery as a teaching assistant, I love my job and it’s great for the children to see a bearded lady, they love my beard nearly as much as I do. People tend to be genuinely very intrigued and inquisitive about my beard, I do have a lot of people approach me about it and ask me questions – some people even want pictures with me, and I happily pose for them. Many women, who are going through the same medical condition as I am, also contact me for comfort, support and inspiration – I do try and help as much as I can.

In the future, my dream is to become a full-time body confidence activist. I would love to share my story more and help women empower themselves. I want nothing more than to see women fall completely in love with their bodies. I always say to both men and women that they need to love themselves and accept any quirks that they have. We all deserve to celebrate our bodies – we are all beautiful. Growing my beard has taught me that as humans we are all so different in our own wonderful ways. Every person living on this earth right now is different from the next. I have learnt that there is no such thing as being “normal”. I have learnt to accept my body for the way that it has grown. I have learnt to love myself unconditionally. Life is too precious not to.

As far as relationships go, I am not in one, but I would love to be. I want to meet someone who sees me for who I am. I believe that there is someone special out there who will see me for the beautiful, sparkling soul that I carry. I feel that a lot of people tend to judge me just by looking at my face. Only that special someone will realise that I am a woman with feelings, a heart, a soul, an aura and a personality. I shall always keep hold of the hope that I will find love one day, just one day.

My tattoos are also another part of my mind, body and soul, I love each and every one of them. I find peace just looking at them. Every tattoo symbolises a specific event in my life. My phoenix/peacock with the words “strength is beauty” around the wings was tattooed on me a few months after I came out of hospital after an operation. In my life I have been forced to face and battle with awful things and every time I have had to jump back up. I feel that I am a very resilient woman, I face my problems head on and I won’t stop tackling issues in this way. This past year has been the real turning point for me, when I metaphorically killed my old self and gave birth to a more powerful, confident and happier self and that to me is beauty. Strength is beauty. The phoenix to me represents birth, death, and rebirth, and the peacock feathers represent beauty.

I also have a lotus flower surrounded by a henna-style design located on my upper back. The lotus flower sits on top of murky ponds and rivers, which is really symbolic of why I chose this tattoo. I feel that even after all the bad that has happened in my life, and all the bad that I have to face daily, I have stayed afloat and carried on living in this world. The henna design represents those murky waters, even these are beautiful for having created such a stunning flower. I also have the word “love” on my left wrist and “faith” written on my right wrist, just to remind me to always live in love, to forever have faith in what ever I do and in what ever path I choose to take. The butterfly on my right foot reminds me to always spread my wings, to fly happily and beautifully to my next destination.

My bearded lady tattoo is very important to me, she represents me and I love her. The whole design has a story to tell. The tear drops on the roses are there to show the tears that I have shed, and the single petals represent the times I have fallen and hit my lows. The roses remind me of life and how beautiful it is. I also have the words “The Dame” written underneath, this was a title given to me by Brock Elbank and Jimmy Niggles. I am a part of their Project60 portrait series to help show awareness for melanoma cancer. Out of 60 men, I am the only female who is a part of this beard project.

In the future, I really want to have two half sleeves, I am hoping to have a Medusa piece started soon, she is such a beautifully powerful woman. I would love to have my spine tattooed, one more bearded lady tattoo and my left foot done to match my right. I would love to be heavily tattooed, and I am sure that each tattoo will represent me in some way or form. My body is a blank canvas and I am ready to cover it in beautiful art that tells my life story. ❦

Interview with a Tattoo Artist: Claudia Ottaviani

Italian tattoo artist Claudia Ottaviani is currently backpacking around the world and guesting at different studios. 

Our Italian contributor Ilaria chatted to her about her love for the power of tattooing, here is an insight into her karmic journey through life.  


Portrait by Esther Galvan




How would you describe your style and how did you choose it? Even if the subjects are not always inspired by traditional style, I would say it belongs to old school, both for the technique and for the colours. Last year I also approached  ornamental and dotwork style. I can not tell which one I would choose, this profession is constantly evolving, but in the end I definitely remain a colour lover!

An Italian girl around the world. Tell me about your experiences abroad. Do you find any difference between Italian and Central European customers? My work experience abroad began more than one year ago, when I moved to Barcelona to work at LTW. This year, in February, I started to organise a small tour in Europe which led me to work in many  studios: Admiraal Tattoo Studio, True Love Madrid, The Bunker and many more! When invited to do guest spots, most of the customers will choose you because they trust your work.  There is no need to convince the customer to get something less commercial, let’s just say I’ve had better luck abroad.

Can you tell me about the feelings your travels gave you, both as a person and as an artist? I started travelling when I was 19, and at 23 I found myself as a backpacker in South America, an experience that has definitely changed my outlook of life.
I’ve realised that, as much as the tattoo itself, even the travel is fundamental and should be a goal to pursue. And here I am today. New places, new tattoos, new cities, landscapes, cultures and languages. It’s very stimulating and it opens your mind.

Have you ever met obstacles along your way? How important is the support from family and friends? Obviously I found obstacles, as everyone does in their life. Rome was not that easy for me. That’s why I decided to leave it more than once, but I have never felt like an unfortunate victim. It’s life, everyone makes their path!
My family is a good one, I am really proud of them. They have always helped me and believed in me, even though my mother still does not talk to me for three days after I get each new tattoo. Friend are also a huge source of energy.

What do you like best about being a tattoo artist? How deeply can you feel your subjects while preparing them and how important is your state of mind as you create them? Being a fundamental part of the process of creation of indelible marks that people decide to carry forever on their skin is always a great honour. While travelling, the drawing part is physically more difficult, but a lot easier mentally. I will try to explain it better: in the beginning, I sometimes had to force myself to find inspiration and then start creating. Today everything is much more spontaneous and instinctive, there is no need for a particular state of mind, maybe just a general wellness.
What are your favourite subjects? Women, flowers, hands, Kama Sutra positions, everything I see as classic and elegant. This oriental inspiration reached me thanks to a friend and colleague of Barcelona, Alexis Jofre, who one day took me to a nice library. We were right in the centre of the Asian art department. My mouth was wide open in front of those beautiful books! So I had to buy one, it was about musical paintings of ancient India. I could already see a thousand new ideas in my mind. Thank you Alexis!


Are you also interested in religious and sacred images? Is it a choice linked to your beliefs or purely aesthetic? I am not a believer, or rather not in the strict sense of the term. I believe in many things and my vision of life is certainly closer to eastern philosophies than to western religions. That said, there are symbols like crosses, svastike, tao, om that are to me simply fascinating. I like to see the power that these simple cultural lines have, if only put together.

What do you think of the tattoo culture today?  People I’m encountering in my path and the experiences I’m having are extremely positive. Regarding the negative side, there is always karma!

Which artists do you admire and give you inspiration? Whether in the world of tattoo art or art in general. Inspiration comes from many people, and the list of names would be infinite. I admire some artists I have personally met, or with whom I had the pleasure to work with. Rodrigo DC, Alexis Camburn, Angelique Houtkamp, Lina Stiggson and many, many more!

Is there a particular subject you would like to tattoo or one you would you never tattoo? I do not like politician tattoos. I think I would love to start tattooing more animals and oriental religious figures.

What tattoos are on your skin and by who would you get a tattoo in the future? On me I have amazing pieces by: Diego Brandi, Alessandro Turcio, Cassandra Frances and many more! I really hope to get something by Tony Nilsson, Guy le Tatooer, Jaclyn Rèhe, the list could never end!


Summer Flowers: Peony Tattoos

Summer is upon us and the world is in bloom, what better way to celebrate the sunshine than our pick of peony tattoos?










Have you got a peony tattoo you’d like to share with us?


Eva Laflamme, editor of The Tattoo Tourist, invites you to take our tattoo collector quiz.

tattoo by Jeff Gogue


“Tattoos can say a lot about a person. Having a tattoo or tattoos, subject matter and placement all form an impression of an individual whether it is accurate or not. If you are reading this you probably have a tattoo or are thinking of getting one. What will your tattoo say about you? What do you want it to say? Ask yourself, “How will my tattoo/s represent me? ”

“Or don’t. Seriously – Do. Not. Get tattoos because they are cool as shit and you like them and you had some time and a hundred bucks to kill while you were getting your tires rotated and that is how you got your latest ink. I’m not making fun here – that is a completely legitimate way to ink up and the chosen method for a majority of tattoo enthusiasts. The sheer number of tattoo shops in the USA and abroad allows for a free-wheeling approach to acquiring ink that is unprecedented,

Twenty plus years ago when I got my first tattoo I was living in Utah. (Don’t judge. It could happen to anyone.) I decided to get my first tattoo and choosing a shop was very easy. There was only one in a hundred mile radius. My choice of artist? Limited to the sketchy metal head with the tattoo machine and a terrifying case of the shakes. Now you can find shops in the most unlikely of places including some very tiny locations and upscale towns. Where you used to have to go to the sketchier areas to find a shop you can now go to a fancy mall and get tattooed right in the display window. Times have changed but what about the way people get tattooed?

“Back in the early 70s when tattooing started to emerge from the docks and honky tonks and into “polite society” the first tattoo conventions were held. These were serious-minded collectives of tattoo artists looking to share information, check out each others equipment (basically all hand crafted) and compare work. The non-artists in attendance were mostly wives and girlfriends of the artists (precious few women tattooing at this time) and a sprinkling of die-hard fans. Now  many tattoo conventions are  full-scale lifestyle events with bands, car shows, beauty pagents, acres of branding and merchandise, celebrity artists, fans and collectors. So what is a tattoo collector exactly and what is the difference between a person who loves tattoos and has a bunch and a tattoo collector who also loves tattoos and has a bunch. Welllll – it’s subtle.

“A tattoo fan will get a tattoo as the mood strikes based on proximity to a tattoo artist, cash in pocket and whatever looks good on the flash wall or idea they have swimming around in their head. A tattoo collector will get a tattoo based on extensive research of favourite artists, email stalking of said artists, long waiting periods of anywhere from six months to two years and an investment in their ink that would shock a lot of people who have tattoos.”

tattoo by Teresa Sharpe


Here is a check list to see if you are a Tattoo Collector

(If you answer “yes” to more than two you have got the bug)

1. You have a list of artists you would like to work with

2. Those artists have waiting lists or their “books are closed”

3. This fact causes you angst to varying degrees.

4. You are willing to let an artist dictate partially or completely what they will tattoo on you and where and how big

5. This causes you no angst – you are totally game

6. You are willing to travel more than a couple of hours from your home – even fly and even go out of country for a tattoo (If you answered yes to this one you have the bug – period. – no cure in sight!)

7. You don’t have as many tattoos as you want because you are waiting for that particular artist to agree to work with you

8. You can identify more than five tattoos artists’ work at a glance

9. Your friends and family think you are a little nuts about the whole tattoo thing. You sort of agree with them

10. You know most people “don’t get it” but that is fine. Some people collect Beanie Babies or schnauzers and you don’t get that but it’s their thing and that is cool with you. Serious tattoo collecting is YOUR thing. You are approaching your body like a curated tattoo exhibit and it is a fascinating, exasperating, thrilling and expensive ride. Buckle Up!

tattoo by Erin Chance


“How did you do? I said “yes” to all ten so I am definitely up to my neck in it. And does it matter if you said no to all of them? Does that make your tattoos “less than”? Oh hell no. Part of me wishes I could tap the brakes on my tattoo mania and just get some ink without having to move heaven and earth first. I chatted about Rock and Roller Andy Biersack’s “random” ink collection last week and I wasn’t kidding when I said I thought it was cool as hell.

“That is one of the many things I love about tattoos and tattoo culture – it truly does embrace all types. From the middle age housewife with a serious tattoo collection to the young 20 somethings inking up on the fly with no plan and no worries.  At the end of the day it all looks pretty damn cool. Unless you get a crap tattoo. That is not cool.

“So maybe you are not a “collector” but at the very least be a good tattoo consumer. Go to a professional tattoo artist who employs proper safety standards and knows how to handle a tattoo machine. Scratchers are called that largely because their line work is shaky as shit due to their lack of know-how. Tattooing well takes serious practice and skill to do it right. Don’t offer up your skin to a half-assed amateur. Make sure you are getting inked by a professional who takes pride in their craft – whether it is an elaborate full back piece or a simple word tattoo – then your ink will always be cool to the only person whose opinion on it truly matters – Your Own.

tattoo by Kelly Doty


all tattoos in this post are done by my short list of “dream” artists. If you help me get an appointment with one of them I will bake you your favorite cookies and Fed Ex them to you – I promise!

Trainers and tats…who can resist?

In honour of Nike’s #airmaxday last week, we got a few of our readers to send in photos of themselves rocking their favourite pair of Air Max alongside some cheeky leg tattoos. Who doesn’t love rocking a subtle slice of tattooed skin above a pair of Nikes?

Photo by @floraamalie

Ophelia by Tracy D from Kings Cross Tattoo in London and lady head by Matty D’Arienzo from Into You London

Pussy toad by Dan Sinnes from Luxembourg Electric Avenue and snake by Emerson Ventura from LTW in Barcelona

 Rose tattoo by Bunk Ink

Rugger Tats. We’re loving spotting tattoos at the Six Nations Rugby

We’ve loved watching the Six Nations Rugby this weekend… but more for the tattoo spotting than anything else…

Courtney Lawes Courtney Lawes


Jim Hamilton Jim Hamilton


Romain Taofifenua Romain Taofifenua


George Ford and Joe Marler George Ford and Joe Marler


Mathieu Bastareaud Mathieu Bastareaud


Images from BBC