Tagged: tattoos

Tattoo hide and seek with my grandparents

I got my first tattoo when I was 18. My boyfriend was getting some script to begin his Japanese sleeve and I had always loved the idea of having a tattoo. I jumped in feet first, literally, having a floral henna design on my foot. The pain was enough for me to wait three years until I got another tattoo, contrary to a friend who said it had merely felt like a scratch. Ever since I have been covering and attempting to hide my tattoos from my Grandparents. I’m not ashamed or anything like that, I just cannot be bothered to listen to the disappointing lecture that I’m sure will ensue. This will be similar to the ones concerning my A-levels and wishes to travel.

Maybe I’m wrong but I have heard their disapproving remarks before when faced with tattooed women. They are certainly traditional, perhaps a prudish couple- I have never seen them hold hands, god forbid kiss! I am the only member of my family who is tattooed, bar one uncle who has a small tattoo of his football team’s logo. The outrage and disbelief that this tiny piece of ink caused was enough for me to purposely cover my own spreading collection. My Grandma turns eighty this weekend and I have been on a desperate search to find a long sleeved maxi dress, so that the dinner remains a celebration of her birthday and not a discussion about my life choices.

I’m sure my grandparents are not alone in their feelings, during their time they have seen tattoos growing in popularity. Perhaps they recognise them as a sign of time spent in prison, or hanging around sailors at dockyards, and possibly prostitution. I’m speculating here, I have never dared to ask them directly their opinion on the tattooed community, but from their past comments concerning tramp stamps I am not willing to take the risk of bearing all just yet. Surprisingly though during a recent visit with my friend to her Grandparents, I was encouraged to show off my legs. Her grandma was enthralled by the colourful designs that I have acquired. She even joked that her husband’s legs would be much improved with a nice tattoo. Her delight may be due to the fact that I am not her granddaughter, who has no tattoos. I am someone else’s family; she has not seen my immaculate skin as a baby being transformed into living art! My Grandparents are not a deterrent, I have many tattoos planned, but I almost enjoy finding new clothes to wear to hide them, as well as having a sneaky piece of ink visible to see if they catch me out!

I can’t believe that I am the only one who makes every effort to cover their ink, or are you lucky and your grandparents approve of your tattoos? Do your grandparents have more tattoos than you?

Boob jobs and tattoos. An interview with Emily Vine, by Kelli Savill

Emily Vine is tattooist Kodie Smith’s girlfriend, she runs jewellery company With Love Treasures and is a qualified make-up artist. We met up with her to her to chat about her boob job, tattoos, and how they have made her a more confident woman.

Emily Vine Emily Vine


What made you decide to get your boob job?

From around the age of 17 I’d always thought about having a boob job as I was never  really happy with them. I started going to various cosmetic groups for consultations when I was 18 years old to get more of an insight into the surgery and see what each company had to offer. Overall I must have had consultations with about eight different companies until last year I went to MYA for a consultation and immediately knew they were the company for me. I’m only a month post surgery so they still have a lot of changing to do but I can honestly say it is one the best decisions I have made.

by Gemma B (helfire)


Was it a hard decision? 

Being 100% sure on the company and surgeon was a pretty difficult decision but the actual surgery itself I was adamant I wanted. The build up to the actual procedure was so exciting that I am a little gutted its over but now I have the results I’ve always wanted.


You already had a chest piece prior to your surgery, has the tattoo changed at all?

As I knew I wanted a breast augmentation since I was 17, it was something I took into careful consideration before getting the tattoo done. I was worried it might distort the tattoo and that was something I didn’t want to happen. I got my chest piece done last January and I told my artist that I was going to have my boobs done sometime in the near future and she said that it would be fine. I trusted her opinion and went ahead with my tattoo. Just as she said, my tattoo hasn’t changed at all even though when I put my sports bra on, the pendant that sits in between my boobs vanishes but that isn’t something that bothers me.

Chestpiece by Gemma B (helfire)


Do you plan on any other kind of cosmetic surgery? 

We all have imperfections that we wouldn’t mind changing, which is completely natural, but I don’t hate anything else enough to put myself through surgery again. A while back I was considering getting my nose done but the recovery doesn’t look like too much fun so I think I’ll avoid that. I might have lip fillers in the future, as it’s something I have been looking into, but that’s a simple procedure that doesn’t involve going under the knife so to speak.


Do you think cosmetic surgery changes the way you see yourself?

Most definitely. It’s such a life-changing experience going from living with something that bothered you everyday to finally being happy with how it looks. I feel like there’s a lot of stigma surrounding cosmetic surgery, and granted sometimes it’s taken a little too far, but everyone should have the chance to improve something about themselves if they want to. It’s all about how you feel in yourself, not what anyone else thinks.

Tattoo by Amy Savage


Are you confident because you’re tattooed? 

Personally, yes. They have made me a lot more confident. My tattoos are one of my favourite things about myself and make me focus a lot less on silly minor flaws. I feel so grateful to have some absolutely beautiful work on my skin from the likes of Gemma B (Helfire), Amy Savage, Kodie Smith, Anthony Cole, Rose Whittaker and so on. I will definitely feel amazing once my Eckel sleeve is in progress too.


How do you feel about your boyfriend Kodie (Smith) tattooing you? 

I feel honoured to have his work on my skin. I’m such a proud girlfriend of how far he has come in such a short space of time and I love how modest he is about it. We are currently in the process of planning my foot tattoos which I’m excited but nervous about.

Tattoo by Emily’s boyfriend Kodie Smith


What is your favourite tattoo? 

This is such a difficult one to answer because I have a lot of tattoos I adore but if I had to pick just one, my chest piece is definitely a favourite. It came out better than I expected and it’s such a solid piece. The artist behind quite a lot of my work including my chest piece is Gemma B (Helfire). She is such a talented artist who I feel doesn’t get enough recognition for her work.

Tattoo by Rose Whittaker



Interview by Kelli Savill

Are we getting too many tattoos too young?

I’m an avid collector of tattoos, although I choose my artists and designs carefully even I am worried that I am covering myself far too quickly. In the space of a year I have acquired numerous tattoos and blown my student loan. But should this matter? Are we desperately trying to be covered, to be a tattooed person that we lose sight of many of the reasons behind tattoos? Not every tattoo should have a meaning but getting tattooed for the sake of it is in many eyes foolish.

A girl I used to go to school with has recently had two complete arm sleeves done in a matter of months.  Has she thought enough about the designs, the placement or is she driven by a need to become tattooed in a fashionable and trendy way?

She has chosen one local studio and artists, which is a shame when there are so many incredibly talented and diverse tattooers around. You just have to join Instagram to be bombarded with amazing tattoos. This is where I find my artists and inspiration, I have a growing list of ideas and tattooists that I plan on getting at some point. Sadly it’s the money side of things that prevents many of us from being tattooed too often.

But are we getting tattooed too young? Should we be getting chest pieces at 18? Should we be covering ourselves in fashionable imagery? Should we be getting our hands tattooed way before anything else?

There is also the worry that we will run out of space, of skin; that other artists will come along who we cannot add to our collections. Or that our tastes will change as we age, we will want to document other experiences and add other artwork but simply will not have the gaps to do so. Yes there is lasering, but it’s a painful and expensive process. Should you have to sacrifice tattoos that you once loved just to get new ones?



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:

The Tattoo Shop


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.

The beauty project

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:

Would You Get Tattooed Here?








This is a real piece of promotional material for a real German tattoo studio! The Things&Ink ladies picked this up on their recent travels to the Frankfurt Tattoo Convention.

Would you get tattooed here?

On seeing this for the first time I was horrified, I mean what the fuck is it?

This flyer is everything that tattooing is not. To an outsider who does not have any ink, or has never set foot in a tattoo shop this image would most definitely put them off, without a doubt!

The suggestion of rape, violence and sexual degradation are disgusting and shocking. The woman is in real pain, not merely from the tattoo, but from being held down and having her hair brutally pulled. Not to mention the unhygienic conditions, where is his other glove?

The tattooist is enjoying his predatory role, taking delight in her vulnerable position. Is this image supposed to be pornographically sexy? Are they trying to glamorise tattoos in some way by suggesting that tattooed women are promiscuous and punishable? I am speechless!

Tattoos are not a form of torture; they should not be performed on a non consenting individual. They are an expression of art, personality and free choice.

The star and Buddhist logo contradict the whole set up, I doubt very much that the woman is on a journey to enlightenment.

The tattoo shop’s stand at The Frankfurt Tattoo Convention

Issue #6 The Modification Issue starring Grace Neutral

The modification Issue front and back cover


COVER REVEAL: The Modification Issue (#6) starring Kawaii Space Elf Princess, Grace Neutral, who works at Good Times, London

Photographer: Lydia Rayner
Assisted by Chris Morgan and Rebecca Hall
Hair and make-up: Keely Reichardt
Styling: Olivia Snape
Cape by Holly Lloyd
Headdress by Gypsy East
Front cover design: Hustler Squad

The official launch of ‘The Modification Issue’ will be at Brighton Tattoo Convention, this weekend – Valentine’s Weekend. Make sure you come see us, or order your copy from our website, thingsandink.com, or Newsstand.

The Front... The Front…


The Back... The Back…

Owning my body

Bethany Carman Rutter blogs about being fat and wearing clothes at archedeyebrow.com, here she examines what it is to be female and have tattoos

Photos by Heather Shuker 

Bethany Rutter arched eyebrow

It seems as if one of the main requirements of being a woman and inhabiting the body of a woman is that we preserve, protect and sanitise it at all costs. Virginity is the most highly prized feminine trait. Body hair is unthinkable. Proof of ageing must be combated decades in advance. Stretch marks are a secret shame. Women’s bodies should be unblemished, unmarked, smooth and pure. Signs that our bodies have deviated from this path, that we do not wrap our bodies in cotton wool, are an assault to the perception of what it means to be a woman, an assault to what we owe those that look at our bodies.

Tattoos, then, are surely the greatest attack on a collective belief in ‘pure’ womanhood. They’re a sign that a woman owns her body, that she’s refusing to accept ‘unmarked’ as a condition of femininity.


One of the most common criticisms of women with tattoos is that they are ‘unladylike’, but I take exception to this. They’re a method of reclaiming what it means to be a ‘lady’, or better, a woman. They’re a choice, they’re a commitment, they’re an expression of the self, and I’m completely sure that women have claims to these. Choosing to have tattoos means I choose to own my body, to see it as a permanent vehicle for my sense of self and that I’m choosing what I say with it.

The most perplexing part of the equation is that no one changes when they get a tattoo. Their behaviour doesn’t change, the way they relate to the world doesn’t change, it’s just, in the words of Joni Mitchell, ‘ink on a pin underneath the skin’. So why we think we can tell a good woman from a bad one by whether or not she has a tattoo is evidence again of the obsession with keeping women ‘pure’ and palatable. Heaven forbid a woman has a tattoo across her lower back, since apparently this is the litmus test for whether or not she is a ‘tramp’. So here two things are combined: desire to control women’s bodies and whether or not they have sex. 

Bethany legs

Tattoos on women offend the collective sensibility because they are bold, unmissable and non-negotiable, and those are traits I’m quite happy to associate myself with. ❦ 

Tweet @myarchedeyebrowBR

This was first published in the launch issue of Things&Ink, order your copy at thingsandink.com.

It’s (almost) Cris Cleen time

As regular Th’ink readers will know, it’s been a dream of mine for YEARS to get tattooed by Cris Cleen at Saved Tattoo. And tomorrow, I am off to NYC. My appointment is booked for next Monday and I couldn’t be more excited.

The New York Ink Fund that I got for Christmas has been smashed…

I will keep you all posted with pictures, and hopefully Cris will be a fan of Things&Ink, I will definitely be taking some issues for him.

EEEKKK – exciting.


Love at first sight – Cris Cleen

I fell in love with Cris Cleen’s work the moment I first saw it.

Cris Cleen Cris Cleen – artist and tattooer


His work encompasses everything I love in art and tattoos, he has a very traditional and antique style that also has a softness and femininity about it. He has created a world of ladies, flowers and butterflies that instantly drew me in when I saw his documentary short on Vimeo last year.

In this documentary, Cleen talks about the history of tattooing and how the old guys impact the way he looks and what he surrounds himself with. For Cleen, tattooing is about the whole experience, the way you look and act make a big difference and he is dedicated to giving people unique tattoos. His work and his style are almost of another era, but at the same time they are timeless and romantic, even erotic.

I have recently emailed Cris Cleen about booking an appointment with him when I go to New York next year. And luckily for me, he said he would happily tattoo me. Now all I have to do is save my pennies… (luckily I have this – New York ink fund). 


Cris Cleen lady with a lamp

Cris Cleen butterfly lady

Cris Cleen lady smoking money

Cris Cleen lady and cat

Cris Cleen works at Saved Tattoo in Brooklyn.

Photos: criscleen.com  and Saved Tattoo