Introducing i/U Ink and its founder, Nick Howard-Lanes. Is this the beginning of the end for shoddy tattooing?
What's The Big Idea?
The big idea, is i/U Ink. Now, tattoo related websites are a dime a dozen (I should know, I own one) surely every angle has been covered. Well, you would think so, but there are holes, gaps in the market, so to speak. i/U Ink aims to fill one of these gaps.
As popular as tattooing has become, tattooing is largely unregulated. Anyone can buy a tattoo machine from the internet for not a lot of money and be tattooing within minutes of its arrival. A lack of training, an absence of talent and poor hygiene are not obstacles to some, they unplug the kettle, plug in the tattoo machine and happily get to work ruining the skin of anyone stupid enough to let them. In fact, all you need to open a "legitimate" tattoo studio is a certificate from your local council to say that your premises are clean (or at least they were on the day they were inspected).
My hope is that one day anyone wanting to tattoo will need to prove that they can, so that they can obtain a licence to tattoo and only using that licence will they be able to obtain a tattoo machine. Until this day, and I'm not going to hold my breath for it to happen, the minefield that is the world of tattooing will still exist. However, Nick's idea could and should provide safe refuge from the minefield.
i/U Ink will provide a database of participating tattoo artists, complete with bio's, location, examples of their work, their preferred style and vitally, for the customer in search of the perfect artist for their next tattoo, the capability to contact and even book with their selected artist. Once the work is done, the customer can then leave a review and a rating. Over time these ratings ensure that the cream rises and, shall we say, the less gifted don't go anywhere.
How does i/U Ink work?
Using the site is just about as easy as it can be. You register as customer (or as a tattoo artist looking for work), you can do this with the one click, Facebook registration or the more traditional quick registration form. Once registered, you log in and away you go. Finding what you're looking for is pretty straight forward, too. Simply type in a location, style or artists name and all the relevant results are returned. These results can then be filtered by distance or by rating and further trimmed by selecting a radius in which you are willing to travel, up to 200 miles.
Once you are happy that you've found the right artist for you, you can contact them, enquire about availability, get a quote for the desired work and ask any other questions that come to mind. Once you're satisfied and you are happy to proceed, you can then book the appointment via the i/U Ink website.
After the tattoo has been done, the clever bit kicks in, only now can you leave a review. As the reviews pile up a real picture of how good that tattoo artist actually is, is created.
Can't I Trust Google or Social Media Reviews?
Most of the time, social media is a great way to gauge how good or bad a business is but, you do need to be aware of some of the tricks that are used to slant reviews and ratings.
Bad reviews can be negated by what I call "friends and family" reviews. One unhappy customer leaves a genuine, justified one star. Friends and family leave five stars and, hey presto! One star becomes four, a bogus score but the stars will not reflect that. Likes and follows can be bought, images can be photo-shopped, cleaned up and out and out stolen from other tattooists. It would take me three days to build a website that suggested I was an amazing tattoo artist, a little longer to get the five stars but in 12 months time, who would know? Until I did a tattoo for them and they saw with their own eyes how not amazing a tattoo by me would be.
Be careful, read the negative reviews first. Are they genuine causes for complaint? Has the studio responded and how did they respond? If they have 20 people complaining about time keeping and response times to enquiries and ten raving about the work, I'd be happier than if they five people complaining about the work and hygiene and 25 unsubstantiated five star reviews.
It's this aspect of i/U ink I perhaps like the most. No tattoo, no review. We are still at the mercy of one individual's opinion but at least it will be a genuine opinion based on an actual experience.
To summarise, I think this is a great idea, I think the tattoo industry needs something like this to help legitimise the good and eventually wash away the bad. The real winners are the customers, a means of finding what they want, where they want it and with real reviews to support their decision which ever way they decide to go.
I wish Nick well with his venture and genuinely hope that one day i/U Ink will be as important to the tattoo world as Trip Advisor is to travellers, it just won't be as funny.
Social media is full of them. Beautiful women with tattoos taking selfies and showing off their art and, very often, as much of their tattooed bodies as the host site will allow. Self-professed models in search of likes, shares and followers. I find it all a bit tiresome. Three hundred selfies and 50,000 followers does not a model make.
However, this does tell us one thing, if nothing else. There are an awful lot of guys who want to look at beautiful women with tattoos, though how many are admiring the art before the arse is another question.
If only they weren’t all the same. If only it wasn’t so tediously predictable. If only there was actually some artistic merit to the photography to go with the artistic merit of the skin.
Which brings me to Christian Saint.
Christian Saint is a photographer from Brooklyn, New York with 20 years of commercial photography experience under his belt. Celebrities, fine art and professional advertisements count among the areas he has worked and in 2015 he turned his lenses toward this very area. Beautiful, tattooed women…wearing not much if anything.
His book “Tattoo Super Models” published by Goliath Books, was launched and with it came a challenge to the conventional wisdom that tattooed women were some how unattractive. Well, to say he challenged that notion is an understatement…he smashed it.
Those of a certain age will remember the famous Pirelli Calendars…twelve months of naked women but naked women tastefully done. Pirelli didn’t do tacky and neither does Christian Saint. His images are sexy without being sleazy, they are alluring in a way that doesn’t have you stuffing the book under a cushion if somebody walks in the room. The women are naked, they are heavily tattooed, they are beautiful but then so is the photography. This is photographic art as it should be. A photograph of a naked woman can be sexy without leaving you needing to rush off somewhere quiet for five minutes (you know what I mean, chaps!).
“Tattooed Super Models” was a thing of beauty, an artistic feast. You could leave this on the coffee table and not panic if your mum/wife/girlfriend picked it up.
Three years on and Christian has been at it again. Next month sees the launch of his new book, “Tattooed Beauties”, also published by Goliath Books. The title is one of those, “it does what it says on the tin” things and I expect more of the same but obviously different. Hopefully I will get the opportunity to review the finished article (because I have a professional interest, you understand, not because a book full naked tattooed women is my thing..ahem, cough).
Naked women have fascinated the art world as long as there have been paint brushes, sculptors’ chisels, pencils and cameras and, regardless of the increasingly sensitive and politically correct world we abide in, they always will. There will always be the Hugh Hefners of the world treading the line between art and titillation and there will always be those willing to throw art out of the window and focus purely on sleaze.
It all depends on whether you want a 1984 Ford Fiesta or a Rolls Royce…The Daily Sport or Christian Saint. As with everything else in world you get what you pay for and, personally, I prefer high class over low cost.
Christian Saint’s work is not a 1984 Ford Fiesta.
I'm pleased to introduce the first guest blogger to Tattisfaction; J Michael Taylor of Black Amethyst Tattoo Gallery in St Petersburg, Florida. Hopefully, he'll become a regular contributor as I'm pretty excited about getting not only the insight of somebody from the other side of the tattoo machine but also the other side of the Atlantic, too.
Tattoos That Change Lives
Tattooing is a versatile art that has long been used in covering scars and blemishes. Getting a tattoo can be very life changing for some people with conditions that undermine their self-confidence and self-esteem. This body art can be very helpful for people who have suffered skin damage by burning. Tattoos are also ideal for covering scars from different wounds including surgery. Recently, this art has been used very creatively to help breast cancer survivors cover the scars of mastectomy. This wonderful art is helping thousands of people transform their lives for the better.
Popular designs used to cover breast cancer surgery scars include:
• Bra cup designs – What better way to cover up than with what people would expect to see? Bra tattoos take the form of bra shape. To cover a larger area, the tattoo artist will extend the design to the back just like a normal bra strap would. This tattoo design can be very concealing when it is well done.
• Flower designs - The rose flower motif is the most popular though there are several other flower designs. The tattoo artist tricks the eye into looking at the flower growing up from the belly to a beautiful blossom at the edge of the collarbone. The focal point is shifted away from the scar on the breast area.
• Tribal motifs – These tattoo designs are elaborate and bold, which makes them good for covering up bigger scars. Native American designs and Maori style tattoos are popular and do the concealment job very well.
• Vines and tendrils – Just like vines growing on a wall, a tattoo artist can replicate these designs very well extending from the chest area to the belly and onwards to the lower back. The good thing with tendril and vines designs is that the tattoo artist has more room to experiment with color making them beautiful but not garish and shouting for attention.
Breast cancer survivors deserve a pat on the back for their resilience and courage. The pink ribbon is the universal symbol for this achievement as well as an awareness of this scourge. Some women will prefer to have this ribbon on their scars. The pink ribbon tattoo can be proudly worn on the upper arm or a sleeve as well. The good thing is that it can be made small or big to fit different parts of the body.
Using tattoos to cover scars is a creative way that can be very powerful in making people feel beautiful, whole and with renewed confidence. It is definitely something more tattoo artists should be doing.
A little over a year ago Ink inspired me to write my first ever book review so I've been champing at the bit to get my hands on the follow up and I wasn't disappointed. That said, it's taken me longer to work out how to review it than it did to read it.
If you've read Ink (and if you haven't why haven't you?!) you'll know about Leora Flint, the confused teen-aged, tattoo prodigy and her struggles with faith, trust, friendship, a quietly oppressive government and her own somewhat shrouded heritage. Leora has a lot on her plate, right now. In Spark (and I'll try not to spoil things too much) these struggles continue and when I say continue, I mean "get worse".
We resume to find Leora tramping through the woods, she knows where she's going but she doesn't know where it is.
Of course, I could tell you where she's going but that would spoil it. In fact there isn't too much I can tell you about Spark without spoiling something so.....hmmmmm. What do I say?
There's political intrigue and skulduggery, a young girl taken out of her comfort zone, conflict, sabotage, rebellion, double-dealing, betrayal, redemption, murder, acts of heroism and acts of war. It's well worth a read, that much I will say.
Spark is a very thought provoking book, at different parts of the book I was put in mind of Monty Python's The Life of Brian, Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray and The Soul of a Butterfly, by Muhammad and Hana Ali, without the book ever directly being remotely similar to any of them.
Alice Broadway's "slow burning" style reminded me of The Picture of Dorian Gray (a book I love) in that she keeps you turning pages even when very little seems to be happening. Every page teases you expertly onto the next, each page gently building towards the cliff hanger of an ending that isn't happy with just one twist.
There is no need for an all action, break necked pace here. Leora is still growing as a person, still developing, still learning that every story has more than one side. Of course, Alice could have given us more action, certain events within the book could have been given more graphic detail but I feel had she done this we would could have lost sight about what this book is really about, or at least what I believe it's really about.
Leora is a teenager and while she may be physically mature and artistically gifted she is still just a child, in need of guidance. As we discovered in Ink, her father has died, her mother isn't actually her mother and she's desperate to find out about the woman who did bring her into the world. Leora is naive and pliable, easily manipulated and exploited. She yearns to fit in, to belong. This is just a young girl, trying to find her place in the world but has no idea who to trust in helping her find that place and she inevitably makes mistakes along the way.
In addition to all of these quite normal teen emotions, she finds that the belief system that has moulded her opinions is fundamentally flawed, the fabled heroes of the stories she was raised with are the villains of ever so similar yet strikingly different stories told elsewhere. While Leora struggles with her evaluation of the faith she grew up in and begins to wonder if this new version of events might be more suited, she finds that this new belief system is also flawed.
Is everyone following their own version of the same thing, as Muhammad Ali believed? Was there a moment when, just as there was in The Life of Brian, a small event that caused a massive shift in belief? Was it something as simple as Brian Cohen giving away a gourd or losing a shoe that caused the people in Leora's world to follow the way of the Marked or the Blanks? Should they all do as Spike Milligan did, after Brian Cohen's followers went their separate ways, and just wander off to find their own truth?
Many of the stories told by the Blanks and the Marked lean on well known fairy stories, maybe that in itself is part of the dilemma for all of us. Is religion the truth or is it just a collection of fairy stories packaged as the truth? I don't know and neither does Leora Flint.
Am I just reading too much into what is, after all, "just" a book for young adults?
Ink and Spark are in someways representative of this debate, they are the same story but they are not the same. When I reviewed Ink, I called it a, "very clever book", Spark is no less intelligent but it is far more thought provoking than it's predecessor, yet Alice Broadway has managed to provoke thought without forcing the idea that you should think down your throat.
That's a pretty neat trick, if you ask me.
You can get Ink and Spark via my Amazon affiliate links above. Go, on....treat yourself.
Well it's been a while since I blogged a blog so when I was approached by Fern Kenney, of Leicester University's Feminist Society, about a cross-promotion opportunity for tattisfaction.co.uk and the tattoo competition she is running to celebrate International Women's Day, I thought, "I've never done that before....why not?"
Cutting a long story short, she asked me to judge the competition. Well, at that point panic set in....Do I know enough to judge a tattoo competition? erm.............not really, I'm just a hard to impress, grumpy, old man with tattoos and a website. So, I called in some favours, did some begging and ultimately managed to rope in two incredibly talented young women to help me out, but more about them later.
As a 47 year old bloke, I apologise in advance for my ignorance.
Thursday March the 8th is International Women's Day (IWD), for those who aren't familiar with it, IWD is "global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity"
To mark this day of celebration Fern and her friends over at the University of Leicester's Feminist Society have decided to run a tattoo competition to demonstrate that any stigma attached to women for having tattoos is wrong and is disappearing. Fern wanted to give the tattooed women of Leicester University an opportunity to share their tattoos and the stories behind them.
This "double-barrelled" competition is open to all self-identifying women who are currently students at Leicester University.
The first "barrel" will be judged by myself, my tattooist and best mate Laura TCB of Voodoo Tattoo in Warrington and tattisfaction.co.uk's first Featured Artist, Libby Wells currently of Needlework in Lightwater (mostly by Laura and Libby if I'm honest). You can enter by contacting Fern via the University of Leicester's Feminist Society Facebook page (the link is in the pictures). All you have to do is send a photograph of your tattoo to Fern (with or without a background story, that's up to you) and you're in. Free, Gratis and for nothing.
The winner will be notified by Fern in due course.
So what do you win?
The lucky winner will get what every tattoo nut wants...free tattoo time!
Tattoo 2000 in Leicester have kindly donated a £50 voucher so that the winner can take themselves off and have their fix of ink related discomfort without having to worry about the money. So, come on ladies, share your tattoos they might just win you another one.
The second "barrel" is an entirely new concept to me, you can actually enter this tattoo competition even if you haven't got a tattoo.
Fern is also looking for the best feminist tattoo design, so this is your chance to get in touch with your artistic side and design a new feminist tattoo. Fern and the ladies at the UoL Feminist Society will pick a winner who will receive some (I believe) original artwork kindly donated by EmJay Tattoo in Leicester.
So that's it, if you're interested in entering or just want some more information, get in touch with Fern via Facebook. The competition closes on Friday March 9th so you need to get cracking.
About the Collaborators
Fern Kenney - The Instigator
Fern is a second year Sociology student at the University of Leicester and is the Feminist Society's Publicist. While she has no tattoos herself, she does see them in her future. Fern's fascination with tattoos stems from her father's extensive collection and from watching Kat Von D on LA Ink. Fern had ambitions to become a tattooist herself but says that the dream went out of the window when she accepted that she can't draw (I feel your pain, Fern).
Fern had the idea to run a tattoo competition after seeing a picture of an elderly woman, "she looks bad ass!", thought Fern. That photograph got Fern to thinking about how many women she knows who have tattoos that don't fit the stereotype of "inked women" and before you can say, "Bob's your uncle and Fanny's your aunt".....the first University of Leicester Feminist Society tattoo competition was born.
Laura TCB - Judge
Laura is a very talented tattoo artist with a background in graphic design. Fourteen years ago she turned her hand to tattooing and never looked back. She's currently part of the team over at Voodoo Tattoo in Warrington, owned by the award winning Paul Saunders (son of Northern tattoo legend Saz Saunders). Laura is an incredibly versatile artist, my best mate and the artist I now trust all of my tattoos to, racking up over 40 hours in her company while she jabs with with needles.
I particularly love her colour work (to the point of spending 24 hours and a lot of money on getting her work on my back), she's a cover-up specialist and an accomplished belly dancer, not that that will help much here.
Libby Wells - Judge
Libby was the first and sadly, so far only, artist to take up the tattisfaction.co.uk offer of free promotional work for tattoo artists. Lucky me! She's brilliant! Libby comes from a very artistic family and, fortunately for people who prefer their art in their skin, she picked up a tattoo machine and the rest is history.
In addition to being a very talented tattoo artist, Libby is a dab hand with a brush, paint and canvas. I love her black and grey work in particular and I'm still struggling to find an artist who does birds better than Libby.
Jason K (AKA Me) - Grumpy old git/Middle man
Having almost zero artistic ability, I find myself working in the sales department of a marketing company. I've been a tattoo nut since the lick 'em and stick 'em days of Bazooka Bubble Gum and became a keen student of tattoo history and have spent 50+ hours (I reckon) slowly turning my pale Irish skin blue and green and red and you get the picture.
I put this site together to hopefully give some assistance to those of virgin skin, for whom getting that first tattoo can be a pretty daunting task. The aim being to steer people away from bad tattooists and bad tattoos. I live in hope.
Once upon a Saturday afternoon in 1987 a 17 year old Psychobilly sat on the 632 bus, his hair stuck up in an outrageous quiff, his leather jacket battered, his jeans ripped, a Marlboro hanging from his mouth and a newly acquired copy of the 1984 album "Stampede" by The Meteors in his hands.
As he sat examining the sleeve of his new acquisition (in a way that only people over a certain age will remember) he read the immortal words, , "Cheers to Lal Hardy for providing the tattoos". He decided that day, that one day, he'd get himself to London to get tattooed by the same guy as The Meteors' lead singer, Paul Fenech.
Well, that never happened but....
...thirty years later, an email arrived via his website asking if he'd be willing to accept a copy of Lal Hardy's new book and do a review for it. I didn't need asking twice.
So enough of the preamble...Tattoo: An Illustrated Miscellany, is it any good? You bet your arse it is!
I have to admit, I wasn't quite sure what to expect, books filled with great tattoo work are ten a penny and I wasn't sure that I'd be impressed with yet another, even if it did have Lal Hardy's name on it. To my joy, I found that that is exactly what "Tattoo: An Illustrated Miscellany" isn't.
So what is it, exactly?
Well, it's difficult to be exact about a miscellany because...well, it's a miscellany. The best way I can describe it is that, it's a tattoo museum in book form, if you love tattoos, love history and find fascination in curiosities then you will love this book. I find myself guilty as charged on all four counts.
We begin with a foreword by Essex University's heavily tattooed Dr Matt Lodder. Dr Lodder is, in his own right, a fascinating guy and one of the world's leading authorities on the history of tattooing and, as such, is the perfect person to introduce us to Lal Hardy's new book.
The rest of the book is a treasure of previously unpublished photographs of tattoo related collectibles, artifacts, equipment and novelties gathered together by Lal and other collectors of tattooing history such as Dutch Master, Henk Schiffmacher (AKA Hanky Panky) among others.
Everything you can imagine is in here and a good few things you wouldn't have imagined. Of course, there are tattoo machines and a variety of tools used to apply tattoos before the advent of electricity. There are toys, flyers, fan cards, cigarette cards, and badges. You will find autographs, a collection of old "lick and stick" tattoos from bubble gum, (I even remember applying some of them back in the day) and there are even instructions on how to tattoo your chinchilla.
All of this is neatly divided into short pictorial chapters, each with a short introduction or anecdote from Lal Hardy. I have spent hours slowly and carefully poring over the pictures, each of which has a usually fascinating explanation of what it depicts or why that particular item should be considered historically important to the tattoo world.
I can't overstate how much I love this book, the quality of the finish is superb, it not only looks good, it feels good in your hands. The written parts of each chapter are just long enough to keep your interest and not long enough to have you abandoning it half way through to look at the pictures....and it is the pictures that had me enthralled throughout and to which I keep returning.
If you have any interest in tattoos, tattooing and how the art got to where it is today you should get yourself a copy before you do anything else.
As for me? I'm off to buy a chinchilla !
Tattoo: An Illustrated Miscellany by Lal Hardy yours for a measly £20.
Well this is a first! I'm reviewing a book!
That means that for the first time in a long time I've actually read a book. The book in question was "Ink" by Alice Broadway and I've been looking forward to this one for a while. A novel about tattoos? Of course I'm going to be all over that. "Ink" isn't what I expected, not what I expected at all but, you know what? That's a good thing!
So....anyway...away we go!
Well first off, this is one good looking book. Quite possibly the best looking book I've read but should we, given the story it contains, judge a book by it's cover?
Secondly, at 46 I am a long way from the target demographic that this novel is aimed at. Young adult, I am not. That said, I really enjoyed this book, loved it in parts, bemused by it in others and was genuinely surprised by the ending. So what's it all about?
"Ink" is the story of Leora Flint, a teenage girl coming to terms with the passing of her father, final exams and the start of her working life. All very straightforward, teen angst, grief and stress, or so you would think.
However, Leora lives in a Saintstone and Saintstone isn't like other places. In the world that Leora lives each and every inhabitant is tattooed, their life's successes and failures, their age, their family history, everything even their name (which is tattooed at birth)...all documented and immortalised in "marks" in their skin and many of these marks are obligatory, state approved tattoos. Of course, the residents can continue their own story with designs of their own, but the basics? They are determined by the state.
The "Marked" live happy lives, they are kind and truthful, honest and caring. There is almost no crime, the future is mapped out for them, their skills assessed and their place in society determined by the time they leave school.
When the good folk of Saintstone die, their story is flayed from their body and turned in to the pages of their book. This book and the tale of the soul who owned it are then "weighed" to determine how good or bad the soul was. The good books go back to the family to be placed in their libraries, their stories there to be re-read and remembered for all time, the bad books are tossed into the fires of judgement and destroyed, their owners doomed to become "The Forgotten".
The only cloud in the idyllic Saintstone sky is the one they call "Blanks".
"Blanks" are long since banished, wholly despicable, murderous, child stealing terrorists who have no marks and who are a constant threat to the Saintstone way of life. At least that's the official line.
It is in this environment that the incredibly gifted but shy, Leora embarks on an emotional journey of discovery, nothing in her life is at it seems. Truth and fiction blur, everything and everyone she has known is not quite what their tattooed stories suggest. Everything she has believed comes into question, her very faith is shaken and her very own life is something very different from the one she knew.
Fans of the Divergent series, Hunger Games and Maze Runner will find a comfortable familiarity in "Ink", itself the first part of what will be a trilogy. I for one would look forward to seeing "Ink" on the big screen.
Where "Ink" differs from it's predecessors is that it lacks the all action battles, the acrobatics and the heroine, while clearly destined for greatness of some sort in the future, displays little more than being a confused teen for the most part. Talented, smart and a little awkward, Leora is a champion for geeks everywhere and she does it all without the grace of her more famous counterparts.
Yet, when she does eventually open her wings to fly, boy does she fly!
If you want to know more, read the book. I'm not going to spoil it for you by spilling the beans on the tale itself. It is worth the read and that's all I have to say about that.
I found some parts of the book quite predictable but I say this more because I'm thirty years older than the target demographic rather than because the book is predictable (if that makes sense). The stories taken from Marked faith lean very heavily on well known fairy stories and famous mythology, but I suspect there is a message in this fact rather than a lack of creativity, as some other reviews I've read have suggested. The tale that tells the story of how the Marked and the Blanks came into being isn't one I recognise and, if it is original, the Brothers Grimm would have been very proud of it.
Alice Broadway tells a great story, it is clever in it's originality but it has the comfortable feeling of familiar ground. There is political intrigue, religious doctrine and an "Inker" who reads minds (much like my tattooist seems to read mine...hang on...she's called Laura!). My own struggle to understand Faith and religion and the difference between the two are mirrored in Leora. The sabre rattling speeches of Enoch Powell, Donald Trump and others of their ilk would find a happy home among the leadership of the Marked and the real or imagined shadow of the Blanks could just as easily be the spectre of Islam that, as we are so frequently reminded, looms over the West.
For me, "Ink" was a refreshing change, the lack of "action scenes", in my opinion, allows the reader to know more about who Leora is, rather then what she can do. It allows us to focus on her emotional development rather than her development of martial arts. We've all seen the feeble young girl get knocked out only to avenge the defeat in spectacular fashion. She isn't Katniss Everdeen or Tris Prior, not yet at least, unlike Katniss and Tris, I won't have to use Google to remember her name. What ever the Scales say when the time comes, Leora Flint will be remembered.
"Ink" is an incredibly clever book.
Get "Ink" by Alice Broadway by clicking the link. You might just thank me for it.
This could be the ultimate demonstration of love and trust or maybe just a demonstration of how nuts you are. Whatever it is, it sounds like it will make for good viewing.
At the moment Gobstopper TV are casting for a new TV show to be filmed at the end of November and early December in which friends, family and lovers entrust the design of their next tattoo to each other.
The details are all a bit hush hush at the moment but Amy at Gobstopper TV tells me that this new show is for a huge, global TV company and will feature top tattoo artists who can boast "big hitting" clientele.
So, if you are outgoing and have a similarly outgoing friend, family member or significant other and you have a desire not only for your fifteen minutes of fame but a top drawer tattoo, done by a top drawer artist why not drop Amy a line at email@example.com. Don't forget to send a recent photograph of you both and your contact details (oh, don't forget to mention that you saw it on Tattisfaction, it won't help you land a place but it would be nice to know if a Tattisfaction reader got on the show).
More details of the who, when and where will be released in due course and I will update this post as soon as I have more news.
Cheers and good luck.
Free Sample Offer Now Closed
Tattoo aftercare is a big deal. Everyone of the millions of people who get tattooed every year has to go through their own regime until their new tattoo is healed.
The big question everyone seems to ask is, "What is the best thing to put on a new tattoo?" The answers are varied which begs the question, "Does anyone actually know what is THE best tattoo aftercare product?"
My answer, as anyone who has read my aftercare page will know, has been Bepanthen for many years but that may be about to change, thanks feed back regarding Bepanthen via this website an also to an email I received a week ago.
I have unreservedly recommended Bepanthen for years, there's been nothing in it for me it has just been the one product that served me well with no issues what-so-ever. However, there has been recently feedback from the aftercare page that suggests this is not the case for everyone. The lanolin within Bepanthen can in some cases cause a quite unpleasant reaction. This news has caused me to consider reviewing how I recommend Bepanthen and then I got the email.
This email brought to my attention a product called "Nature's Balm" produced by a British Company called Coconut King, if the reviews on this product are to be believed I may never recommend anything else, ever again.
OK, so what do they say? Well, I'll come to the feedback on the product later, however Coconut King themselves claim,
"It can speed up wound healing and can be used to treat acne, psoriasis, eczema, fungal and other minor skin infections. I's excellent for tattoo, piercing and tanning aftercare. Used daily it can reduce the appearance of wrinkles and delay ageing of the skin and can even be used as sun protection."
Now these are bold claims but if true then Nature's Balm is a genuine wonder product. Keep reading and you can find out how to get your hands on some free of charge.
Nature's Balm is 100% natural and 100% vegan friendly, it contains coconut oil, shea butter, carnauba wax, hemp oil and golden jojoba oil. According to the marketing material coconut oil has natural anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal properties. It is also an excellent moisturiser. It also says that studies have shown that is very effective increasing hydration and reducing water loss in dry skin.
After a conversation with the owner of Coconut King I have secured some free samples which I'm going to give away via Facebook (if you want to try it hit the link at the bottom of the page and find out how you can). My tattooist has agreed to give some to her customers and while I have no new ink myself to try it out on, I have tried it on a minor skin condition I've had for a while. After three days, it has had a more positive effect on it than anything else I've used, be it off the shelf or prescription. So far, I'm impressed.
What I need is some feedback from the tattooed folk of Britain and to get that, you have to try it and ten people will get to do that free, gratis and for nothing. All you have to do is head over to my Facebook page (link below) "like" the Tattisfaction Facebook page and share the post and once 100 of you have done this I will send 10 samples out to randomly selected people. In liking and sharing you are agreeing to feed back on Nature's Balm, I have no vested interest in what you say one way or the other, I just need to know what you think.
So if you'd like to try Nature's Balm, free of charge, hit the link, like page, share the post and away you go. OFFER NOW CLOSED!
What they are saying about Nature's Balm?
"I purchased a tattoo aftercare last month from coconut King and was very impressed with how quickly it helped to heal my thigh tattoo , it stayed on my skin and kept it moisturised long enough between applications. I chose the sweet orange fragrance and it did smell good enough to eat and the packaging was also great .. A cute little tin that was easy to take in my bag and re-apply when I was out and about . I still have loads left you only need a little it really does go a long way.
I would highly recommend this product to everyone with a fresh new tattoo .. Great product I definitely rate this with 5 stars."
Michelle from Buckinghamshire
I got a free sample of this at tattoo jam this weekend and have been using it on a hand tattoo for two days now and unlike other products I have used it is not greasy and does not sting seems to be a very good after care product ...will be recommending it to my local tattoo shop."
Gary from Newcastle upon Tyne
Awesome product bought it on Friday after getting tattooed and it's worked so much better than anything else I've used on previous tattoos. It's even improved the look of my 2 month old tattoo! And my skin is super soft now !
Lauren from Middlesbrough
There are many more reviews here on the full range of products Coconut King are producing and I am very much encouraged by the fact that some of these reviews are from tattooists themselves and the fact my own limited experience with it has been so positive.
So there you have it, do the click, the like and the share and you could be trying something incredible very soon.
I'm a firm believer that when people with a great story to tell make that story available to you, you should listen. Over the years I've heard Gordon Banks tell how he got into goalkeeping by being tall and just happening to be at a bus stop next to a football pitch upon which one team was short of a goalie. I've heard Frank Dick tell the story of how he guided Daley Thompson to his Olympic glories, I've heard two ordinary women who work for a bank tell the story of how they rowed across the Atlantic Ocean and I've heard Norman Whiteside tell the story of what it felt like to be the youngest player ever to appear at a World Cup. There are more to add to the list, some famous, some not and last night I added another to the roll.
Tucked between Chorley and Leyland in Lancashire you will find a very new, rather small and quite pleasant place called Buckshaw Village. A place where around 4,000 people have made their homes and the place I found myself on a blustery Friday night in September. There, in a community centre that serves as the local church, I had the pleasure of hearing Dr John Sentamu speak.
Who? Maybe the name Dr John Sentamu isn't one you are familiar with, I wasn't until two weeks ago but I was aware of his job (I just didn't know he was the one doing it). You've heard of the Archbishop of York? That's John Sentamu.
Now, don't run off...this isn't a tale of epiphanies and a glorious awakening and there is a bit right at the end for the tattooed folk out there.
It's not everyday you see the Archbishop of York in a community centre built on the sight of the old Royal Ordinance Factory so I went, partly to accompany my girlfriend and partly because...well, it's the Archbishop of York. Not being the religious type myself, I had that fish out of water feeling you get when you are a fish and you aren't in water and what followed was utterly surreal.
I hadn't expected proceedings to begin with a Parkinson style interview about music. It came as little surprise that the good doctor isn't a fan of Heavy Metal I just hadn't expected that to be a topic of conversation and I hadn't expected things to be so....well, laid back. I hadn't expect HIM to be so laid back. Where was the incense? Where was the prepubescent choir? No talking in Latin?? What on earth is this??
Moving on from music he told of his life in Uganda under Idi Amin (You've heard of him, right? Big bloke, a bit on the irritable side, fond of a uniform), how he found faith and how he was tortured and expected to die. Then he did a drum solo.
The floor was opened up to questions and one lady was thrown out of the room in response to hers. OK, so he let her back in, he was illustrating a point. Then he gave her a lesson in playing the drums.
I sat, at the back of course, utterly stunned. This was not how I envisaged an Archbishop.
After an hour so of this incredibly funny and inspirational man's speaking my mind was, to be quite honest, blown. Not just by what he said but by what he did; drums, temporary evictions, the lot. Oh and then there's his voice....if Morgan Freeman was Ugandan, he'd sound like John Sentamu.
Before we left, my girlfriend decided (being as much in the "Believe" camp as I am in the "I'm not so sure" camp) to go to him for a blessing, getting blessed by an Archbishop is a big thing you know. With a little coaxing I went with her, not for a blessing but I needed to see this guy up close. He found my lack of faith genuinely amusing, he didn't mock me, deride me or shun me and just speak to the faithful...he cracked up at my protestations, he suggested a career as a stand up comedian and then told me a joke about the difference between Jehovah's Witnesses and Skodas.
I could feel myself sweating, I was being dismantled with the kind of ease you usually see reserved for five piece jigsaws. My head was now mashed but not so mashed that I didn't seize the opportunity to ask about the God vs Tattoos debate. Having seen so many posts and comments on the internet saying how tattoos are sinful and how Leviticus says...blah blah blah, I had to ask one of the most prominent religious figures on the planet what he thought, well you would, wouldn't you?
The man just looked at me funny, as if I'd just asked the most ridiculous thing ever and said, "God takes you as you are". That was it. No clarification, no expanding on his point. Just that and as far as I'm concerned, that is that.
In future, whenever a Christian tells me how sinful my ink is, I will no longer need to explain myself, no longer have to contradict the Bible, I will simply say, "Really? Well the Archbishop of York said....".