Tattoo Master 24

Tattoo Master 24

I got my first tattoo when I was eighteen. Back then I wasn’t even into tattoos. I just happened to be in the army and there was a slightly mad cook who happened to have some homemade equipment and it seemed a fun thing to do. It wasn’t much fun and thankfully, it was a very small tattoo.

About a year later I got the tattoo covered and this time I went to the only shop about. Bare in mind this was South Africa in the nineties, where one shop in a major city was all you got. Just to get to the studio I had to take an hour and a half bus ride and then still walk a good fifteen or twenty minutes. To be honest I don’t even know how I found the place, I certainly didn’t use Google or friendly recommendations. Those concepts just didn’t exist. I must have simply stumbled on it one day while mooching about the city.

But walking through those doors into Lucky’s shop was like stepping into another world and though the studio had no idea of health and safety and was as rough as a goat’s arse, I instantly felt at home. From the colourful flash depicting images I had never seen in my life (a naked lady in a wine glass informing me she was my ruin) covering every spare inch of the walls, to the images of half naked tattooed folk, it was intoxicating. Synapses fired, connections were made and I was hooked. This was a world I had no idea about, but wanted to be a part of.

I ended up getting a small, fairly decent, design which I was very proud of and hid from my parents for almost a year. It was quickly followed up by a traditional old school eagle on my chest and the rest is history. Twenty something years later and that first tattoo has been covered up, this time with a half sleeve, but I still have the eagle, though he could do with a little scrubbing up as he’s looking a little faded.

Since those first few times with Lucky, I have sat in the big chair more times that I can remember. And each time has been for one reason or another, from the good to the bad. But what they all had in common was that each tattoo marked a time in my life. All my tattoos have stories behind them and this is one of the things I love the most about getting tattooed, creating a visual roadmap of one’s life.

From that first tattoo in the army, to the last one I got at Tattoo Freeze at the beginning of the year, I am writing my life story in ink on my skin.

And that to me, above everything else I love about tattooing, is pretty cool and what keeps me going back for more.