Tagged: Things and Ink

Is it time to say goodbye? The Final Editor’s Letter

 

Wandering around the Vogue exhibition at The National Portrait Gallery, I think of the magazines that have inspired me over the years – and still continue to do so. I have always collected magazines, devoured every page, every inspirational photo shoot and article. From More and Sugar magazine when I was a teenager, to Dazed and Frankie when I was at university, I loved them all! I never dreamt that one day I would launch my own magazine… But I did.

I launched Things&Ink more than three years ago to become a part of that inspirational world that had spoken to me so much while I was growing up. I wanted to provide a source of tattoo inspiration for women and men just like me – who adore tattoos and wanted to see them presented to them in an arts and lifestyle publication.

From the first ever cover with the tattoo artist who inspired me to want to become heavily tattooed to our latest cover for The Horror Issue, the magazine has progressed and grown immensely over the years… and I really hope we have inspired readers, young and old.

Working on the first ever cover Working on the first ever cover

Alice Snape with Claudia de Sabe

As we prepare for our latest exhibition called The Archive, which sees artists who have featured on our pages over the years turn our back catalogue into works of art in their own right, I realise that it’s time to say goodbye to Things&Ink as a print magazine. Our latest exhibition was created to celebrate everything we have achieved over the years since we have been in publication. And I truly believe that we have made an impact on the tattoo world and beyond by representing tattoos in a interesting and thought-provoking way.

Editor Alice Snape with the now sold-out Horror Issue Editor Alice Snape with the now sold-out Horror Issue

However, as much as it pains me to say it, print is dying. Which is heartbreaking for me, I always loved the feel of a new book or magazine! Even the smell, opening the cover and wondering what you will discover… But the magazine world is changing, and without financial support, independently run magazines just cannot survive. As much as I have loved creating every single issue of Things&Ink, I just cannot take the financial burden anymore. Although the magazine looks like it is thriving, it is actually really struggling. I work as a freelance magazine editor and writer, and almost every penny I have earned over the years has been ploughed back into the magazine.

Is it time to say goodbye?

But not to dwell… Things change, evolve, and move into something unexpected. Things&Ink has become a very recognised brand, and although we will no longer exist in print, we will exist online in the form of this blog, and our social media accounts. We will also still organise events and exhibitions and be a hub for people who are passionate about art and tattoos.

I would also like to take this time to thank everyone who has contributed to the magazine over the three years that it has been running. Especially my right-hand women Rosie and Keely, without them I would have probably had a nervous breakdown a long time ago. And also my sister/stylist Olivia and my digital genius friend Pares, who helped me right back when the magazine was purely a figment of my imagination. They have put up with my tears and dramas, and dedicated hours, days, weeks to Things&Ink. All unpaid, all voluntary, just for the love of it. And that goes for every single person who has done something, no matter how big or small, for the magazine. That includes photographers, stylists, designers, writers… So many people.

"I loved watching the magazine come off the presses... such a magical moment every time" “I loved watching the magazine come off the presses… such a magical moment every time”

 

Running a tattoo magazine means that we have had a rare glimpse into the tattoo world, tattoo artists have opened up to us and given us a unique take on what could have been a very closed world. We have met some of the most incredible artists along the way, and hope we continue to do so… I also hope that as many of our readers, contributors, artists, friends and supporters will join us at our exhibition The Archive, opening on Thursday 31 March at the Circle in London… and don’t be sad, come celebrate!

Team T&I at London Tattoo Convention over two years ago... Team T&I at London Tattoo Convention over two years ago…

 

Thanks so much for reading this, what is my final – and most difficult to write – editor’s letter… it has been a pleasure compiling every issue for you, and I hope I can continue to inspire by curating content for this blog and also artwork for future exhibitions… there’s lots of cool projects brewing.

Much love, your editor,

Alice 

PS you can grab a back issue and a little piece of tattoo history for £1 from Newsstand

Let’s Talk About Tattoos: London Pop-Up Photo Booth

WOW! Women of the World Festival

 

This Sunday 13 March, we’ll be teaming up with blog Women with Tattoos to stage a pop-up photo booth at the annual WOW! Women of the World Festival at London’s Southbank Centre.

Come see us and get your tattoos photographed by Eleni (the brains behind Women with Tattoos) and chat to Things&Ink editor Alice Snape about what your tattoos mean to you.

Where: Level 2, Royal Festival Hall, Belvedere Road, London, SE1 8XX
When: Sunday 13 March, 11am – 6pm

Alice Snape Women with Tattoos

Editor Alice Snape photographed by Eleni for the Women With Tattoos blog, check out her interview at: womenwithtattoos.co.uk

Things&Ink present: THE ARCHIVE

Things&Ink present:
THE ARCHIVE
THURSDAY 31 MARCH 2016 6pm-late
at THE CIRCLE, 21 NOEL STREET, LONDON, W1F 8GP

 An exhibition of Things&Ink covers turned into original works of art by people who have graced the pages of the magazine over the years…

Things&Ink is delighted to announce The Archive, a group exhibition celebrating more than three years, and 12 issues, of Things&Ink by inviting artists who have contributed to the magazine to turn back issues into original works of art. Opening on Thursday 31 March, and running for two weeks, at The Circle, in London’s Soho, to raise awareness for The One Love Project, with profits from sales being donated to the project that helps under-privileged children in Pushkar India.

The original face issue cover The original face issue cover, published in February 2013 The Face Issue decorated by Abbie Williams The Face Issue decorated by Abbie Williams

 

The Archive will showcase the breadth and variety of artistic talent within the  tattoo community. With more than 120 contributing artists from across the globe, each of the covers will be auctioned off in a silent auction that will run across the course of the exhibition, with bids starting at just £6.95 – the retail price of the magazine.

Never afraid to approach taboo subjects such as DIY and facial tattoos, Things&Ink have published 12 issues to date and each has had a specific theme, covering art, love, history and even fruit. Turning tattoo media on its head and moving away from a more sexist model, Things&Ink promotes body confidence and self acceptance by featuring inspirational people such as tattooed bearded lady Harnaam Kaur. Its aim has been to celebrate tattoo history, give inspiration through high-end photo shoots and provide commentary on current tattoo culture, The Archive will celebrate this by bringing together everyone who has featured on its pages.

The Modification Issue, decorated by its cover star Grace Neutral The Modification Issue, decorated by its cover star Grace Neutral

 

Each contributing artist has been sent a back issue at random, and there is no brief. They simply have to turn the cover of the magazine into an original work of art by using a medium of their choice.

The exhibition will run from Thursday 31 March until Sunday 17 April, and the artwork will be on display at The Circle for the course if it. There will also be a flash day on a date to be confirmed, with tattoos by two of Things&Ink’s favourite cover stars Grace Neutral (The Modification Issue) and Emily Johnston (The Horror Issue).

The Launch Issue, decorated by Nina Waldron The Launch Issue, decorated by Nina Waldron

 

The archive event is going to be the first time that all of our favourite artists we have ever featured have participated in an exhibition together and I cannot wait to see what our front covers become after they have been transformed into original pieces of art.  The Things & Ink journey wouldn’t have been anything without the help and support of all the amazing contributors and we are eternally grateful.” Keely Reichardt, Project Manager of The Archive

LIST OF EXHIBITING ARTISTS: Cally Jo, Grace Neutral, Jondix, Bob Done, Rik Lee, Ashley Love, Shane Ivezic, Susanne Konig, Frederico Rabelo, Lianne Moule, Guy Le Tatooer, Mike Tea, James Hate, Robert A Borbas, Saschi McCormack, Antoine Larrey, Tina Lugo, Deno, Flo Nuttall, Rachel Baldwin, Brian Wilson, Emily Johnston, Claudia de Sabe, Drew Linden

PLUS many more artists to be announced…

The Love Issue, decorated by its cover star Rachel Baldwin The Love Issue, decorated by its cover star Rachel Baldwin

Corazón Loco

Asenet Ramirez founder of Corazón Loco, creates sugar skull figurines in Barcelona, she paints each unique pieced by hand. We chatted to her to find out where she gets her inspiration from as well as her love of tattoos…

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When did you first start making the skulls?  I started to make skulls after my first trip to Mexico. A year after my holiday I moved to Oaxaca in Mexico.

What inspires you? I love the people of Mexico, the colours, and the culture. This environment is the source of my inspiration. I’d say I’m an artisan, all of my work is related to Mexican folk culture. I’m naturally curious about different ways of life and I love tattoos. I’m also inspired by the work of people I admire. While I’m working on a skull I’m think about the next one,no two are alike!

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Where can we buy them?  People can purchase a skull by contacting me on Instagram, Facebook, or by email (corazon.loco.la@gmail.com). I also have stands at tattoo conventions or come and find me at  LTW Tattoo Studio in Barcelona. I make different size skulls, headbands, dolls, altars, tote bags and t-shirts .

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When did you get your first tattoo and what was it? I get my first tattoo in Bugs Tattoo London 26 years ago, It was and ace of spades with two skulls. I look at my tattoo and remember being in the moment and the joy I felt.  I love everyone of my tattoos, and the memory of all of them.

Do you have any future plans to get tattooed? There’s always a tattoo in progress…

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Pictures were taken by Pol Vila and make up by Andrea Alvarez

Fashion Pearls of Wisdom: The Look

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 how others perceive her as a heavily tattooed woman… 

pearl

I’ve lived with tattoos longer than I have without, however I have only considered myself ‘tattooed’ more recently. There is a difference I think in having a tattoo and being tattooed. When you make the decision to become more heavily or more visibly tattooed, how people view you will change. You may or may not be aware of this at the time but it will happen. I first began to notice this after getting my knee tattooed, joining the other tattoos on my leg into a front-sleeve from ankle to thigh. Up until this point, though still fairly heavily tattooed the majority were in areas you wouldn’t see on a daily basis, back, thighs, feet. In passing you might only notice the large rooster on my shin. It seems there is a skin coverage ratio as to when you start to offend old ladies with your very presence.

pearl

I call it ‘the look’. There are three main stages to the look: shock, repulsion and judging. It’s not the sole prerogative of old ladies either, they are simply the most reliable audience. Being the kind of person to walk around with their head in the clouds it wasn’t me who noticed this first but my boyfriend who takes a lot of enjoyment in my new found super power. Since he pointed it out though I can’t stop noticing it, especially in the summer when I took to wearing very short shorts (from M&S just to add insult to grandma injury). Having a laugh about it when you are with your friends is one thing, having it happen when you are on your own can be quite another and I’m not afraid to admit it’s upset me at times. When you’ve had a bad day, got a plate full of worries the last thing you need is a group of strangers being rude to your face when your only crime was walking past them. More often than not I will stick my headphones in and sunglasses on, blocking out he world as I walk along. Other days I’ll ‘have it on me’ as my mother would say and crack out the biggest Cheshire Cat smile to the nay sayers, ten points if you can get a forced smile in return.

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With tabloids reporting on Sam-Cam’s tiny ankle dolphin like she’s the first middle class woman to ever get tattooed it only broadens the gap between those of us who are more heavily tattooed rather than help shrink it. Having a tattoo is trendy, so long as it’s small and preferably cute, whilst being tattooed is still very much taboo. I’m not sure why anyone would particularly feel the need to have such a strong opinion on how I or anyone else choose to look. Perhaps I look like a criminal, or fallen woman in their eyes? Perhaps I’m just something to talk about in an otherwise boring day? Whatever the case I’m glad I stand out in a crowd, I’m glad I challenge the photoshopped beauty ideals pushed by glossy magazines. As for the old ladies, we’ll just have to wait until our generation are collecting pensions. Perhaps we’ll have something the youth of the day are doing to be shocked at, perhaps our wrinkled tattoos will be uncool to future younger generations. But at least we will have some stories to tell.

Film Review: Berberian Sound Studio

Our guest blogger is hobbyist film and TV series reviewer and writer Harry Casey-Woodward. In this post he reviews Berberian Sound Studio directed by Peter Strickland released in 2012…

Sometimes, you’re sure that you’ve seen a good film, and the critics say it’s good.  You just can’t see why.

Toby Jones plays a British film sound technician named Gilderoy, who arrives in an Italian sound studio in 1976, where they’re recording the soundtrack for a horror. Tensions among the crew rise, and Gilderoy becomes increasingly alienated and disturbed, though he doesn’t show it, since Jones gives a great reserved performance, communicating isolation with as little emotion possible.

This film works best as a tribute to 70s Italian horror and as an exploration of the art of film sound effects. Watching the sounds of mutilation being provided by hacking up vegetables, and demonic screaming being produced by weirdly talented vocalists are the movie’s most fascinating elements. Technically, the film is impressive, with great lighting, sound, and shots, all creating suspenseful atmosphere.

Unfortunately, the film only offers suspense, which never builds up to much. It felt like an experimental indulgence in technology that shunned sense, confusing and excluding the average filmgoer. Some scenes questioned film violence and expectations of the horror genre. Overall, however, it tried to say something without saying it, which annoyed me.

Though original and inventive, it felt atmospheric and menacing just for the sake of it. As much as I applaud cinematic strangeness, a film is only threatening if it shows what it’s threatening you with. The fact that the film tried to say lots through the exclusive setting of a sound studio just felt (though I hate using this word) pretentious.

Image From Worn by Heroes and ICA 

Fashion Pearls of Wisdom: Erasing the Past

Our guest blogger is Natalie McCreesh aka Pearl, a fashion lecturer,  freelance writer and creator of Fashion Pearls of Wisdom. This is the third of many posts to appear on th-ink.co.uk, in which Natalie will be telling us about her life in tattoos. Catch up on the first, second, third and fourth posts in the series. 

Are we tattoo snobs? I think I might be. I have not so long since covered up my last teenage tattoo. I had laser removal for some of them and it was during this procedure that a friend challenged my intentions. ‘Why would you get a tattoo removed? Don’t you know they are permanent, they are markers of your life, don’t throw away your memories’. His body is covered in what must be close to one hundred tiny tattoos, each linked to a memory, a person, an event, an emotion. He collects his tattoos using his body as a trinket box. None of them you would describe as a piece of art, but they are pieces of him.

Beginning of backpiece with cover up

The tattoos I had early on in life I wanted covered up for two main reasons, firstly they were badly done and secondly they were taking up space on my body which I wanted to cover with large, professionally done tattoos. My tattoos now could be classed as artworks on my skin, they are beautifully executed and original in design.

But is that the point of getting a tattoo? I really don’t know, we all have different reasons for going under the needle. It cannot be as simple as collecting art, I could and do have a multitude of art hanging on my walls at home, there was no need to have it on my body. Most of my tattoos cannot be put down to any special meaning either, of course there are the traditional meanings, I have a rooster which is my Chinese zodiac sign, I have a Foo-dog which represents protection but these aren’t meanings deeply personal to me. I have a peony on my knee which is solely there to fill an awkward gap, there for aesthetic purposes does that make it purely fashion?

 

Like fashion, tattoos can cost very little or exorbitant amounts. You have the high street budget fashion comparison in the street tattoo shops, often boasting special offers ‘all you can sit for £250’, ‘full sleeves £300’, ‘any two names £20’ (all genuine offers seen on the streets of Sheffield), you can get a full outfit from Primark and your boyfriends name tattooed for under £50. On the opposite end of the spectrum you can pay $500 per hour – I won’t say who quoted that but on large pieces you can pay an average £80-100 per hour. Some artists charge by the piece and depending on the size and details a fairly large tattoo can cost between £200-£500. Just like a Chanel handbag, if you embark on a body suit you will look to pay into the thousands.

Therein lies the elitism, not everyone can afford the best artists and the largest tattoos. For some having a spare £50 for a tattoo is a struggle. When I had my early tattoos done they were the ones I could afford.  But does erasing those tattoos mean I’m erasing my past? Am I trying to hide my working class background? Every now and again I forget I had my first tattoo covered up and get confused for a second when it’s not on my wrist, there instead the snake concealing it. Throughout our lives we change, we change – our clothes, our hair, our jobs, our homes so why not change our tattoos to better reflect the people we are now rather than the people we were.

 

 Snake by Kelly Smith

Fashion Pearls of Wisdom: Ink Poisoned

Our guest blogger is Natalie McCreesh aka Pearl, a fashion lecturer,  freelance writer and creator of Fashion Pearls of Wisdom. This is the fourth of many posts to appear on th-ink.co.uk, in which Natalie will be telling us about her life in tattoos. Read the first, second and third in the series. 

nattta

I just tapped out during a tattoo session…

It’s one of the biggest fears people have before their first long sitting but for those of us regularly taking 3-5 hours at a time we are used to the process and become a little blasé about it all. Don’t get me wrong, there’s been a few places I’ve been tattooed that have made my eyes water – I very nearly did a little cry having my ribs tattooed. Once you know what to expect however, you learn to eat something beforehand, drink some water throughout and breathe deeply to get you past the tough spots.

Tattoo by Tacho Franch 

I generally enjoy getting tattooed, it’s exciting, it’s fun chatting to your artist and hanging out in the studio. I don’t even mind the Bepanthen rituals in the days that follow, the Clingfilm wrapping and the bizarre clothing choices you have to make to avoid any rubbing. The past few times however I’ve not been as enthusiastic, confessing to my boyfriend ‘I really don’t want to get tattooed today’. But when you’ve made the bookings and you really want a piece finished you just put those thoughts to one side and get on with it.

I went into the sitting without any worries, we were going to finish off the little bits of colour on my back piece and get the lines in to extend it down the back of my legs. I’ve got fairly big tattoo in that area already which wasn’t a problem so I had no feelings of apprehension.

I knew I was in trouble after the first line, I couldn’t relax into it like usual. Not a word was uttered as I hid my head under my hoodie. My amazing artist sensing the struggle just cracked on with it as fast as possible. How I even managed an hour I have no idea, by that time I was shaking all over, boiling hot and feeling sick. My body simply couldn’t take it and I tapped out. After some food and a hot drink, I calmed down and felt much better. The guys at the studio really looked after me as always and I was able to continue the rest of the session just with some little bits of colour on a different area – certainly no more lining!

After that we agreed that my body needed some TLC, I’d pushed it too far. I usually only have one sitting a month at most but I’d had four in a month, three of those in just one week. I usually heal quickly, within 6-7 days for the main stages but I still had unhealed patches from two weeks earlier. These patches struggled to heal well and ended up in deep sores, which will now have to be retouched. So my artist has put me on a tattoo ban for two months, during this time I am also going to take a much needed holiday in the sun. Falling back into unhealthy eating habits and missing out on gym time due to unhealed tattoos had taken its toll.  This break will be hard for me, especially if I end up at any conventions in the meantime, but it’s been a real wakeup call that we have to love our bodies from the inside just as much as the outside.

Is there more to getting a tattoo than changing your appearance?

Here at Things&Ink we think there is so much more to getting a tattoo than merely changing your appearance. Things&Ink reader,  Hannah Keningale explores how tattoos have changed her, her lifestyle and even how she approaches situations.

For some, getting a tattoo is a very simple act of wanting to change their appearance; a transaction that will make them more fashionable, or perhaps help them pay homage to something they love. But for others, there is more to getting a tattoo than discussing a design and sitting in a chair wincing for a few hours. We often read stories of people who have made connections with others through their mutual love for art and permanence. We have seen beautiful images of colourful wedding days, amazing designs covering painful scars, and difficult journeys that have been celebrated and remembered with ink.

Pug by Abbie Williams 

So, how about me? What have I gained from getting tattooed? Do I have an amazing story to share? To be honest, the impact has been somewhat more subtle for me, yet in my eyes still very important. I remember the excitement of getting my first tattoo, and also the anticipation. I wasn’t too worried about the pain, but more about how to handle myself and what to except. After reading many websites, blogs, and magazine articles, I had gathered there was certain etiquette to follow. I was a little worried I might not conduct myself in the right way. Would they think my design ridiculous? Would I do something to offend the artist? Would it go wrong simply because I hadn’t made the right decisions? These are some of the thoughts of someone who suffers from anxiety. I go through this process almost every day with even the most mundane situations. I have to tell you, it’s not fun!

Tattoo by L’ain Freefall

I chose a studio called Evil from the Needle in Camden, London, and was lucky enough to get tattooed by L’ain Freefall. Everyone was so welcoming, and we talked all the way through my tattoo. No one laughed at me. No one said my design choice was stupid. The whole experience was really fun and I was actually a little sad when it was all over. From then on, tattoos have helped me build confidence. I love my body a lot more now.  I felt like I had something I wanted to show the world finally, and also enjoyed the affect of putting on the simplest of clothes and still having something colourful to my appearance. The biggest thing I have gained though is a sense of belonging. When I walk into one of my favourite studios I’m greeted with smiles and hugs. I’ve been able to share excitement with artists over design choices, been given gifts, compliments, even tea!

It may sound silly to some, but I feel truly at home when I’m sat in a tattoo studio, and I’m always planning my next visit. Tattoos have become part of my lifestyle now. I have prints adorning my walls, I can’t tear myself away from Instagram, blog pages, and tattoo magazines, and I even buy different clothes now that my body has changed. I think for many of us, there is more to getting tattooed than simply following fashion. While a lot of people still reject the idea of being tattooed as “acceptable” or “normal”, I actually feel more accepted and happy now than ever before.

Ice Cream by Paula Castle

So is there more to getting a tattoo than simply changing your skin? Well for me I’ve also gained new friendships, made new journeys, gotten over some of my anxiety, shared stories, shared laughs, and had a lot of fun. The experience changes you as much as the ink.

Long Term Illness and Tattoos

Our guest blogger is illustrator and crafter Rachel Rawlings, creator of Rachel Vs Body blog. On her blog Rachel writes  about her various chronic conditions and how they affect her life and have changed how she experiences the world. In this post she talks about her tattoos and how they help her to regain control of her body… 

The human body is an interesting thing. Take mine, for example. In 2012, I was in my final year of studying for my illustration degree, working as a healthcare assistant in my spare time, spending most evenings in the week cooking and hanging out with my friends and coursemates. I was 20 and everything was – for the most part – working fine. But then, I got sick.

It was just a virus to start off with, but over time, I didn’t get better. I was constantly in pain; I felt dizzy at the smallest motion; food became my greatest enemy, triggering nausea and cramps at the most pathetic nibble; my concentration was shot; walking became something akin to climbing mount Everest; and, above all, I was EXHAUSTED. Not tired; not fatigued; not sleepy or dozy; but that all consuming physical exhaustion that you get when you’ve had a particularly bad bout of flu. I was diagnosed with M.E. (Myalgic Encephalopathy) and P.O.T.S (postural tachycardia syndrome) on top of my existing health conditions (chronic migraine, IBS, eczema, eczema herpeticum and asthma), and three and a half years on I’m still undergoing tests to see what’s making me so unwell.

Moth by Paul Davies at Loki Ink, Plymouth

Things got progressively worse, and these days I can’t work or study as I’m mainly confined to my bed (although on good days I make it to my living room); I use a powered wheelchair ( or crutches if I’m feeling particularly perky) to get around because walking is so difficult; I’ve lost a lot of friends who can’t figure out how to cope with me being poorly. Trying to be well is my full time occupation.

With my body failing me in such an extravagant fashion, there is one thing that makes me feel like I have some modicum of control over it; getting tattooed. I got my first one in early 2014 while I was doing my MA and had been sick for a couple of years. It’s a small deathshead moth on my wrist done by Paul at Loki Ink in Plymouth, a subject matter I chose because of its connotations of transformation and freedom.

Connor Tyler at Joker Tattoo, Portsmouth

Getting tattooed is a bit of an ordeal for me. The actual tattooing is fine – I’m very lucky to have a high pain threshold (pain holds very little fear for someone on painkillers as strong as the ones I’m on) so I can sit under the needle for hours without it bothering me. The issue is everything else.

First off, I have to get to the place – which is hard. I usually only leave the house once a week, twice if I’m lucky, and always with someone else (it’s not safe for me to go out alone), so the logistics of organising that can be tough.

Then, getting there, I have to deal with the sensory overload of a place full of people and buzzing machines and music; with M.E., your senses are often in an extremely heightened state and any noise, light, touch can be excruciating. The noise is a particularly tough one for me as I get migraines and tinnitus, so I have to really prepare myself for the aural onslaught of a tattoo shop.

Chrissy Hills at Kingston Ink

Having to sit or lie in one position really still is hard for anyone, but when you get muscle spasms and convulsions on top of chronic pain, it can be … interesting for all involved. P.O.T.S causes tachycardia, dizziness and blackouts if you’re upright for too long, so I have to be in a position which is safe for my particular conditions. I have to bring my medicines, lots of water, layers of clothes, my walking aids, ear plugs, sunglasses, a whole bunch of nonsense just to get through the session. After a tattoo, I’m always in agony – but the tattoo itself isn’t the problem, the joint and muscular pain incurred is.

It took me a while to draw up the courage to get tattooed – not because of the pain (note the aforementioned painkillers), but because I was scared of doing something so permanent to myself. But my body was already permanently altered from the way it should be, so that was no longer an excuse. I was scared that people would judge me on sight – but if you’re a twenty-something having to use a wheelchair or crutches, people give you some odd looks anyway. So, sod it, I thought – let’s give them something to stare at.

Marcelina Urbańska, Rock’n’Ink, Krakow

It seems like a lot to go through just to get an image on my skin, but for me it’s worth it. After feeling like my body had turned traitor, I have taken back the reins and forced it into a form which makes me happy. Sure, I may be covered in scars, a bit chubby from the medication, pale as death and with eyes like pissholes in the snow, but I’m still in control of how my body looks – on a superficial level, at least. Tattoos have helped me accept the changes that have been forced upon me by letting me shape the way I look, even if I’m powerless to control the way my body works. There’s a lot to be said for a needle and ink and the power of positive thought – it might not make the crippled walk, but it can damn well make us feel good sitting down.