Tattooing has been around for thousands of years. It is one of the oldest forms of art, laden with as many different meanings as there are global cultures.
My husband and I are both tattooed, we both have careers, we live in the suburbs, we live in a house, we each have a car, neither of us has ever been to prison, we are not substance abusers, we support charities, we love animals and we do not beat or abduct little children.
It’s all fun and games when you are young and carefree – society is more likely to accept your tattoos and move on with their lives, but I have found that the rules change a little when you become parents.
I grew up in a very small town called Upington, situated in the Northern Cape between nothing and nowhere. My family is open-minded yet somewhat conservative and I knew hardly anyone with a tattoo. I was always different, I liked bright coloured hair, I listened to all genres of music you can think of, I loved rock n roll, I was fascinated by the extreme sports culture, I was intrigued by Goths, I wanted to marry a surfer and I couldn’t wait to move to the big city. When I was 17 we had the annual Upington Expo, I had just broken up with the biggest loser of a boyfriend and lost a lot of weight – I was so proud of myself! Walking through the stalls I came across this tattoo artist from Cape Town. I got my 21-year old friend to pretend she was my mom and sign a permission slip, and I got my first tattoo in a truck container…and it looks like shit, but I love it. I was hooked.
I collected a number of tattoos over the years, and I love every single one of them. I will probably carry on getting them until I run out of space.
(Kitty Cat, Hand and Finger Tattoos done by Shaun Dean from Emerald Fox Tattoo Studio)
My career never suffered because of my tattoos, people stared, asked questions, but no-one was ever rude. I will never forget the first day that my appearance attracted a negative comment- accompanied by a snarl and a look of utter disgust. Continue reading