My whole life I’ve wanted tattoos. An outward expression of the art that lives within. A personalised stamp of self-awareness, self-ownership, self-expression.
I’m fortunate to work in the creative industry. A place where tattoos are somewhat welcomed, or for the most part, overlooked.
However, so often I am reminded that while perceptions around tattoos might have evolved, there is still a large element of taboo assigned to them. Especially if you’re a woman.
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From the art of hand poking to being a woman in the industry, we sat down over needles and ink to discuss it all.
As she etched away at my skin, I couldn’t seem to move on from a particularly relatable story Megs shared.
“I went home (Durban) and I was with my dad walking through a mall and I said to him, ‘I don’t know if I’m being paranoid but I feel like everyone is looking at me.’ And he was like, ‘ya because they’ve never seen so many tattoos on a young woman before.
“I’ve literally overheard people saying, ‘Such a pretty girl. What a pity she’s got tattoos.’ Like, loud enough for me to hear.”
These exact same words have been cast upon me – equally infuriating and concerning. There’s so much wrong with this narrow-minded line of thought.
Firstly, what does being “pretty” have anything to do with tattoo’s being a pity? And second, who are you to comment on my body?
“To have an opinion on tattoos is fine,” she continues. “If you don’t like them, that’s fine. But don’t put your opinion on other people.”
Preach it, sister!
Megs and I are both from Durbs. Costal creatures who moved to the land of milk and honey in search of opportunity – The Mother City.
During lockdown, not everyone could afford tattoos, so she started painting vessels and making prints to fill the gaps and grow as a multidimensional artist.
I was fortunate enough to get my hands on my very own hand-painted vessel by Megs. It’s easily my most prized possession. I originally spotted this little gem on my first visit to the shop, whereafter Megs personalised it a bit for me.
Speaking of personal, nothing encompasses the term more than a hand poked tattoo.
Hand poking follows a non-electric method approach, taking the art form back to its ancient roots. Done freestyle with needles and ink, the final product embraces a much more organic aesthetic.
“I loved the handmade aspect of it, and you know, not many people do it. It’s quite a niche kind of tattoo. It’s ritualistic.”
A good artist should be able to do all styles and be able to accommodate a client’s request “because the best thing about the job is about making someone feel like a boss.”
That is exactly how I felt after getting my first tattoos – empowered.
My desire for ink has always been met with scepticism, criticism, or both.
Well, thanks for your concern. Me and my four tattoos will merrily overlook them all as I plan my next masterpiece.
Watch: A chat and a tatt
— ROBYN IN THE HOOD (@robynhoodcpt) April 14, 2021