I’ve been weighing up the idea of a tattoo-related post since I started my blog two years ago. But as the old saying goes.. there’s no time like the quarantine. And, since yesterday was such a glorious day, I took full advantage and papped my tattoos out in the Costa del Ancoats sunshine.
I’m sure this post will come as a bit of a surprise to any of my relatively new friends as I hardly ever wear my tattoos out. Or at least I haven’t done since I was about 19. Not for any other reason than I just never really wear short skirts / dresses anymore and they’re mostly on my legs. But I do have 10 in total, so I guess that warrants somewhat of a whistle-stop tour.
I think I’ll go through them in order of first to last and I’ll include a picture of each, along with a brief description to give a bit more context.
NO.1 | Age: 16
I got my first tattoo TEN years ago?! Looking back now it seems as though my rebellious days are long behind me. But funnily enough.. this is still my FAVOURITE tattoo to date – which goes against the classic misconception of “you’ll regret it when you’re older”. If I woke up tomorrow morning without it, I’d go and get it again. It’s a portrait of my Nan and Grandad on their wedding day. This image is so special to me as I’d lived with my grandparents since I was 3 years old. So as you can imagine, there are no words to describe how I feel about them. Another powerful fact about this image/tattoo is that on their wedding day, my Nan’s Mum and Dad refused to go to the wedding because my Grandad was Greek. So their special day consisted of themselves, the marriage officiant, and my Nan’s best friend (as they had to have at least one witness). A true love story which, in the face of outdated views and xenophobia, lived to tell the tale.
NO.2 & 3 | Age: 17
The second one I got was a portrait of Judy Garland. I chose to get it for a couple of reasons.. the first being that all of her films are my childhood in a nutshell. My Nan used to have them all on video and together we’d sit and watch them over and over. It was such a lovely time in my life. A careless and worry-free time where and I always looked forward to getting cosy on the couch and watching “Meet me in St. Louis”, or “Easter Parade” or any of the other fabulous films she’s been in. I chose to get a slightly older image of her (not too old as I still wanted it to resemble the Judy I remember from the films), but old enough for it to represent her struggle with alcohol and addiction. Her death was confirmed as ‘overdose’ after a long and painful battle of substance misuse at the age of just 47. And this really resonated with me and the situation my Mum was in at the time. So those were the two main reasons for getting it. The third being her undeniable talent and beauty, of course.
Shortly after I got my next one, which was sort of an extension on my Judy portrait. I got the “Hollywood” sign as I wanted to create a bit of a Hollywood film star theme, and to represent her two stars on the Hollywood walk of fame. But it’s probably my least favourite tattoo (I have two that I’m not overly fond of ). I love the idea behind it but it could have been done so much better. Let it be a lesson to always research your artist by style and specialism. I was always supposed to get an old fashioned film camera just below, but I never got round to it. However I’m still toying with this idea!
NO.4 | Age: 18
The next one I got was definitely my most spontaneous and least thought-out one. But at least this one was legal. It’s also the only piece I’ve chosen out of a flash book (apart from the flowers which were freehand). I chose it ON THE DAY and it’s THE BIGGEST one I have.. Lol. Why am I like this? It’s two different images/designs merged into one as I couldn’t decide which girl I wanted (they were both so pretty), so I thought fuck it and I got them both. I don’t dislike it by any means but I think given the chance I’d probably use this space to get something more me. But that doesn’t bother me at all.
NO.5 – 7 | Age: 18-19
FEET. Ouch! I think I got these done within about a year of each other. On one foot I have a dotwork mandala (the other tattoo I’m not overly fond of). Again, I love the idea, but I don’t like the way it’s been done. I’ve looked into getting this one re-done but I was told I’d need a good few sessions on the laser first to lighten it – which is so spenny and time consuming. It’s definitely something I’ll look into again in the near future though as I really want it re-doing properly, and with my toes doing this time too!
On my other foot lies my slightly gothic / slightly witchy / slightly medieval tattoo? Which I still enjoy. It has both line work and dotwork, and shortly after it was finished I added the little ankle cuff to make it more symmetrical with my other foot.
There’s nothing much to say about these two to be honest. There’s no meaning behind them, I just wanted them at the time and that’s a good enough reason for me.
NO.8 | Age: 19
Next i got my Indian Luna moth. It’s definitely one of my favourites even though it’s always mistaken for a butterfly. I used to go to a lot of tattoo conventions when I was in my teens and I used to collect taxidermy insects and bugs – not very plant-based I know, but this was wayyy before I started eating and thinking more compassionately. I picked up this Indian Luna moth over at Doncaster convention and I just thought it was the most beautiful thing. I had it in a frame in my room for a year or two before getting it so I was so sure that I wanted it. I’m really happy with the colours and placement of it and it’ll always be a little bit special to me as it’s my first and last colour tattoo.
NO. 9 | Age: 21
I got this one after I started reading into Buddhism and practicing spirituality as an approach to balancing emotions. I’ve written an entire post on my experience / journey with spiritual practice and systematic training of the mind – you can find this post on my blog if you fancy the read. It’s named “Spirituality and balancing emotions” – recommended for anyone curious! This one was just to represent the transformation spiritual teaching has had on my life and how much it’s shaped me into who I am today. It also signifies the continuous journey I’m on but also where it all started, if that makes sense.
NO.10 | Age: 25
*This one is near impossible to get a decent photo of due to the wrap around of my arm.
I’ve always said how I’d never get any sort of writing / script as it just isn’t my style. But obviously, I made an exception for this one. And it’s bit of a cool story too.. or at least I think it is. So I thought I first discovered this word about 2 years ago and I just connected and identified with it so much. Then one day I was randomly scrolling to the bottom of my instagram looking for a picture when I noticed that I’d posted this same word back in 2012.. I later found it saved on my old laptop in around 2015. I also love the definition which is “Nemophilist is an obscure word that hasn’t really been used for over 100 years – but it is a word that surely deserves a comeback. It means someone with a love or fondness for forests, woods, or woodland scenery, or someone who often visits them – a ‘haunter’ of woods”. Over the last 5 years, city life has massively impacted how I get to spend my spare time. But whenever I visit home (Helmshore), you’re most likely to find me with my dog in any of the local woodland areas. As this is definitely where I feel most at peace and most at-home in a big way.
In terms of future work, I’m not in a rush to get any more as I’m more than content with the ones I have. There is one I’ve been debating for a few years now, but I think I’ll hold off until I stumble across an artist who I know will bring my vision to life. Plus I’ve no idea where I’d put it!