Tattoo Master 33

Tattoo Master 33

The other day I got an email from a chap who had a problem he thought I could help with. As the story goes, Charlie had been wanting a tattoo for years and rather than rush into a ‘for life’ decision, he did a lot of research before deciding on an artist. Tattooist chosen and five months later (his tattooist had a lengthy waiting list) he drove three and a half hours to  get the ink done. Six hours and a significantly reduced bank balance later, he had a lovely new half sleeve; elbow to wrist.

That had been about 4 or 5 weeks ago. So when Charlie sent me photographs of freshly inked skin, what I expected to see was a world class tattoo. Instead, what I saw was an absolute mess of a tattoo. It suddenly clicked what artists meant when they referred to ‘hamburger meat’. I was shocked to see just how bad the tattoo was. Most of his outer arm was shredded. You couldn’t even tell what the design was. His inner arm wasn’t that great either; though I did make out a pin up girl who, I assume, did once have legs.

According to Charlie, the healing was going fine until after about a week, when infection started to set in. The infection got so bad that he had ended up in hospital on antibiotics. Needless to say, the infection played havoc with his skin, causing blistering, open wounds and peeling skin. Believe me, I saw the images.

Now this was work by a leading tattoo artist. Some one I know personally and respect. I couldn’t understand what had gone wrong, so I began to dig a little deeper. And that’s when things got...interesting.

As I said, Charlie was convinced the infection was due to bad health and safety practises at his tattooist’s studio. The needles must have been dirty, he must have used dodgy ink, he didn’t disinfect this and that. He was told the incorrect healing practises. Once again, I wasn’t convinced. Something just seemed off.

I was getting close to giving up and putting it down to a bad day at the office, when Charlie started waxing lyrical about being a Tough Mudder. He loved them. Did as many as he could. Actually, he did one two days after getting his tattoo done. It was cool though, because he kept the tattoo wrapped in cling film. In fact, he didn’t remove it for a couple of days, like the tattoo artist told him to.

It’s amazing to see what muddy water trapped under cling film next to a fresh wound can do. It’s amazing what can grow in that little cesspool of filth. I tried to point this out to Charlie, but he wouldn’t have it. There was no way water could seep it’s way under all that protection. It had to be the tattoo artist.

I gave up in the end, but told him he should seek compensation for the mess he had been left with. Charlie was delighted with this, it was the confirmation he had been looking for. Unbeknownst to Charlie though, I sent the emails to the tattoo artist in question, who has planned a nice surprise for him when he comes back looking for his money back.

I only wish I could be there on the day, it sounds like it’s going to be fun!