Tagged: tattooed

Fashion Pearls of Wisdom: Got Sleeves

Our columnist Natalie McCreesh aka Pearl, is a fashion lecturer, freelance writer and creator of Fashion Pearls of Wisdom. In this post she’ll be talking about how getting her arms tattooed was a big deal…

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I never thought I’d get my arms tattooed. It had never been in my plan. But then again when I first started getting tattooed I never thought I’d be even close to heavily tattooed, even when I started to get large scale pieces I never foresaw the next. For me getting tattooed has been a process, my tattoos are something which evolve- a collaboration between my own ideas and those of the artists I work with. Even now I don’t have a final vision in mind, I still don’t know if I will end up with a full body suit or not. I have a very wait-and-see attitude I guess. I know I will get two half sleeves and my sides tattooed to connect my back piece into more of a traditional style Japanese half-body suit. But my legs are a random mix of different styles, do I keep them looking separate or do I sleeve them?  I’m going off the point; the point of having my arms tattooed being a big deal for me.

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I think it’s a huge deal as even though over half my body is tattooed I still don’t feel that I look that heavily tattooed, not from the front anyway. Clothed most people wouldn’t even know I was tattooed. The arms are so visible though, there is no hiding. I have over thought my arms a lot, possibly too much which is why it took me until the age of 34 to have them done. I had also decided that I wanted them to stop at the top of the arm and not go over onto the shoulder and certainly not the chest. So now I have the outline down of my first sleeve, it stops at the elbow and creeps over my shoulder onto my chest. Yeah about that, once my artist had drawn it on, we tried a few different ways of laying it out; it’s just what looked best. I didn’t give it a second thought. Now it’s done it just feels right and I’ve no idea why I was stressing out about it so much in the first place. When I first started to get large tattoos it would take me a while to get used to them, suddenly having something alien on my skin. Now with each tattoo I feel a little bit more like myself with each addition. My sleeve is only half done but it feels like it has always been there.

Fashion Pearls of Wisdom: Completion

Our guest blogger is Natalie McCreesh aka Pearl, a fashion lecturer, freelance writer and creator of Fashion Pearls of Wisdom. In this post she’ll be talking about her tattooed body being complete… 

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‘It’s the end of an era!’ My artist exclaimed as we completed the final session on my back piece. Over 18 months we had put in 30 hours to completely cover my back and thighs in ink. That’s a lot of blood, sweat and tears – literally and on numerous occasions. It didn’t feel like the end of anything though, months of eagerly awaiting to be finished and… And well nothing really.

I don’t feel any different. I don’t know if I expected to really? Perhaps I expected to feel more complete in some way. I am extremely happy it’s finished, it looks beautiful and I can’t wait for summer to show it off. The thing is it’s not really finished-finished. Next we will add sleeves, after that extend around my ribs. Will it be finished then? Is there ever a finite finishing point when we begin to get tattooed?

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For me I don’t think there will be. There may come a time when I no longer feel like getting tattooed any more but I expect that to be because I’ve found something else to become obsessed with rather than ever feeling ‘finished’. I don’t have an idealised image of my tattooed body that I am on a mission to achieve. I do have a small list of artists I would like to tattoo me and an idea of what and where the tattoos would be.

I think the biggest question I have for myself is whether I want to achieve a full body suit or just continue with some more large pieces and keep those empty spaces. If I get one leg finished into a sleeve then I’ve really got to do the other, one Japanese style and one traditional, would that work? I feel a body suit, for myself at least, would need to have a coherent design – but then I look at where my two different styles meet and for some reason it just works. Perhaps it’s like fashion, how we string together old jeans and beaten up trainers, those well worn and much loved items that when combined are ‘just us’. For no other reason that that simply we like them and choose to live our lives in them.

Interview with Céline

We first interviewed Céline in 2014 (read the post here) since then she has had many more tattoos and is currently working on a body suit with Guy Le Tatooer. We caught up with Céline to find out more about her tattoo journey and what inspires the project… 


What inspired you to work so closely with one tattooist to create your body suit? I’ve had different approaches since I started my journey. For a long time I collected tattoos from a lot of different artists: Jondix, Gotch, Cokney, Sway, Burton, Mikael de Poissy, Rodrigo Souto, to name a few. But I don’t see the point anymore. I think meeting Guy le Tatooer certainly changed my whole perspective on tattoos and on how I wanted to be tattooed. I never thought I would get that much work from Guy but after spending time with him my vision evolved and in the end it just made sense to give him full freedom with my body suit.

How did you decide to create such a huge project with Guy? Who approached who? Well, it just happened. Things were not supposed to be that way,  I approached him in the first place to get a full back done. I guess he saw the potential of what we could do together and I think he pretty much knew right from the start the kind of direction he would take. But the project is in constant evolution. Every time we meet we discuss new ideas and ways of developing the project. We went from creating one piece to a full body project. Guy is now reorganising most of my existing work to create a cohesive look. It’s a neverending concept.

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Do you let him have creative freedom or do you both generate ideas? We both generate ideas and discuss everything. We don’t need to talk that much though, we are on the same page. And he obviously has all the creative freedom he wants.

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Do you worry that when it is complete you will lose a part of your life, that the journey will be over? Or will you be satisfied and feel a sense of achievement? There is no way I could get tattooed as much as I do on a permanent basis. It has to be temporary. Getting tattooed is not a hobby. And even though it should remain fun, it’s definitely not an insignificant process. Getting a body suit is a huge transformation for the body and mind.

I absolutely love the journey, I think it’s an incredible experience but I can’t wait for it to be over! I enjoy every minute of it but the more I do it, the more difficult it becomes. The pain is harder to take and I think harsher. Over all it’s mentally exhausting.

It’s a long process to see my final idea come to life. So I think I will definitely feel a sense of achievement and satisfaction the day I consider it’s finally over.

How did you make the decision to cover/change your existing front piece? I think the idea came up after Guy redesigned my chest piece. Like I said Guy is reworking every area of my body in order to create a cohesive look, which involves covering and/or blasting some old tattoos. We are basically creating a new look together. That’s the main idea. We don’t see tattoos as a permanent thing, even a tattoo can evolve. I think my chest piece is a great example. Phase two of my project with Guy is a full leg sleeves concept.

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Do you worry about offending artist’s work that you are covering? A journey is a series of destinations. Nothing is final. So, no I don’t worry about offending anyone at all.

How often are you getting tattooed, how long is each session? I started getting tattooed seven years ago but the last three years have been the most intense. I get tattooed once or twice every month. To give you an example I had a total of 16 sessions in 2015.

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What are your future tattoo plans? I suggest you follow my Instagram account to see what’s next…

Careers: Tattooed Model Booker

We chatted to 22-year-old Laura who works as a model booker in London, about her beautiful tattoo collection and people telling her she doesn’t look like the tattooed type… 

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My first tattoo was (I’m embarrassed to say) those feathers with little birds coming out of them with the quote “Not all those who wonder are lost” I cringe so much looking at it but despite what it is it’s not actually a bad tattoo but just poor decision making on my part. I was 18 when I got my first tattoo and have learnt a lot about tattoos over the past four years so I try not to feel too bad about my first couple of tattoos!  At the time I loved it so I’ll never regret it but at the same time feathers and birds are so cliché;  I didn’t even realise the quote was from The Lord of The Rings (sorry!) so that makes me feel bad!

There are two people in my life that influenced me. My older cousins had tattoos and I used to think they were so cool. I’m like 12 years younger then them so they were my idols. When I was older (like 16/17) I worked with an Aussie girl at Dr Martens and she had beautiful tattoos, I can’t remember the name of the tattooist she went to but from then on I was set on getting at least one tattoo. I lost touch with her after leaving Dr Martens but I always think about her and her tattoos.

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I guess one of the first thing people notice is that the majority of my tattoos are ladies and animals, animals on my legs (there’s a couple of exceptions to that though) and ladies on my arms/chest. I have a tattoo by Daniel Gensch based on Rebecca from a novel by Daphne Du Maurier that’s on my arm, Sam Smith also tattooed a portrait of that author on the same arm. I love my Eckel tattoo, it took years to finally get a reply from him and I still can’t get over that I managed to get booked in with him!

My tattoos are quite girly apart from my chest piece that is a lady with daggers going through her head. Sam Smith tattooed that one as well, she finished it all  in five and a half hours, it’s one of my favourite tattoos but hands down the most painful. I’ve been really lucky with who I’ve been tattooed by;  Sadee Glover, Drew Romero, Kodie Smith, Magda Son, Georgina Jurd.. My most recent tattoo is a portrait of the actress Felicity Jones by Rose Hardy.

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There are so many artists that I admire and still want to get tattooed by, including Emily Rose Murray, Jacob Gardner and Sam Clarke, to name just a few! There are so many more though! I can’t wait to get my back started by Aimee Cornwall, I’m really excited but nervous because I hate not being able to watch myself being tattooed.

I saw my current job on Fashion Monitor whilst at my previous internship. I applied, got an email back 10 minutes later, had my interview the next day and got offered the job a couple of hours later! I started working at Scallywags which is a child’s modelling/acting agency and I’m starting up a little model division with Simon & How which is Scallywags big sister company. I look after Scallywags social media, answer the phone to parents but mainly look after new briefs that come in from clients I submit the children that match the briefs to the client, book in children for auditions, shoots. I do a lot of scouting as in town and have meetings with photographers and potential new clients.

Before that I was interning at the Anti Agency which was really fun, I learnt a lot and really enjoyed working there! Aside from that I’ve worked at Dr Martens, Fenwick’s, Whistles, Fred Perry, Office and Waterstones so yeah I’ve had quite a few jobs. I attempted university twice and changed my course three times. My courses were fashion based so I guess I tried to to study for my current job.

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Another thing I’ve been really lucky with  is doing lots of work experience. I started doing work experience at Vogue in the classified department when I was 14, I worked hard and eventually was allowed to work at GQ and Russian Tatler, I had done a lot of the packaging of clothing and accessories that had been on set for shoot. I assisted different stylists for a couple of years as well, interned at Tank, worked at Fashion week doing photography.

I tend to dress pretty casual for work as the office is super chilled. When I came for my interview I covered up all my tattoos and when I got my job I came into the office with most of my arms and legs on show. I’m lucky that my bosses actually don’t mind at all about tattoos. In general I usually wear a lot of dresses and skirts, little tops. I think I live in a constant mental state of summer, I hate winters clothing!

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I think my family have just accepted all of my tattoos now, they were never angrily against me getting tattoos but my parents were more worried about the financial side of things. I’ve got a twin brother who doesn’t have any tattoos and I just think that my family were more surprised that out of the two of us I started to get all the tattoos that I now have because I’ve always been the slightly awkward, quiet one. I think my work colleagues were surprised that I have tattoos just because they said I didn’t look like someone to have any interest in tattoos. That’s the most common thing I’ve heard people say about my tattoos that they were surprised I had any because I didn’t look the type, I don’t know like to me it feels normal and natural to have my tattoos but maybe to others it might not make sense.

I get a bit of a mixed reaction from strangers in the street, I get stared at A LOT and most the time I just ignore it but if I’m having a bad day and I’ve got someone glaring at me and shaking their heads it just makes me really anxious. People come up to me and start talking to me about my tattoos and that’s really nice when people have a genuine interest in the art that I have. I’ve had some mean comments as well from complete strangers like I was going to order a coffee from Costa and the guy serving we was like ‘oh you look really scary’ I only wanted my coffee not your opinion on me but yeah thanks! Recently I got told I looked like a public toilet which was very nice- people have such a lovely way with words!

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I would say to people thinking about their career when getting tattooed to think carefully about getting a obvious tattoo like on your hands, knuckles, face etc. just anywhere that can’t be covered just purely because some companies still judge someone on appearances as opposed to their skills and what they’re capable of. I think it’s a rubbish way of judging someone but at the end of the day that’s what people are like so before making a rushed decision and then being angry about not getting a job maybe just try sit down and have a careful think. As for getting tattoos on any other part of the body that can be covered then go crazy!

In the kind of job I have it doesn’t really matter about whether you have tattoos so I’m really happy about that, to be honest I’ve never really had a job (whilst having tattoos) that have a no tattoo policy, even when working at Waterstones I got my job because the manager liked my tattoos.

The Beauty Project at Selfridges

On Thursday 1 May, makeup artist Keely and I made a trip to Selfridges after my dad had informed me that there was a pop-up “tattoo shop” after seeing a tweet:

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We were a little disappointed when we discovered that the tattoo shop wasn’t  a tattoo shop at all… there was Henna, and there was transfers, but no actual tattoos… (just tattoo imagery on the walls). Annoying considering that their website states that a tattoo and piercing shop exists on their ground floor – selfridges.com – this, in fact, was a pop-shop over a year ago.

The Tattoo Shop (the one with the henna) has popped up as part of The Beauty Project at Selfridges. The aim of The Beauty Project is to promote that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes – its aim to shatter some of the misconceptions that exist about what beauty is. Everyone is beautiful, young, old, fat, thin, and, of course, tattooed. Their un-retouched advertising campaign captures eight unknown stars chosen to represent all definitions of beauty.

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Great idea in theory, but I can’t help but feel a little disappointed that on its opening night, the “tattooed” people at the event weren’t really tattooed at all – they had fake tattoos on.

But should I really complain? Is it a good thing that a huge company like Selfridges is trying to promote diversity – even if I think they could have done in a slightly better way?

What do you think of the #beautyproject? Do you think it is diverse enough?

The non-tattooed “tattooed” servers at the event: