As a girl with a strong interest in personal branding, I understand that tattoos are one of the most permanent ways to express yourself.
It is difficult to share my opinion on tattoos without sharing my own experiences, so I will begin by explaining some experiences I’ve had recently.
I have four tattoos which I would describe as being ‘balanced’ around my body; two on my left and two on my right side, two above the waist and two below, two that are text-based and two that are image-based. Balance is unusually important to me, but all of them are black and grey and each mean something different.
Reactions are varied but one that gets a lot of attention is the House Sparrow on my lower right arm, which just so happens to be my favourite! But whenever I sip a drink, scratch my nose, take a photo, wave or roll up my sleeves it is immediately on show. I like the interest it provokes, even if the reaction is negative. I think that maybe my size and fragile-looking (8 stone) state makes it unexpected, to have such a large and detailed tattoo where the pain factor is widely known, but basically I’m well hard yeah.
You begin to predict reactions; they range from curious questions like: ‘How many have you got? Did it hurt? Do you think I’d suit one?’ to people who are interested in getting one themselves: ‘Where did you get it done? How much did that cost you?’ etc. Some people will stare for a while before asking what it is, or why I have done it and many people tell me that it will affect my employability. The most common reaction from people over 40 is a lecture about how I will regret it when I am their age or when my skin starts to sag.
There is a massive, and I mean massive, hang up that society still sees them as a form of deviance; people often see it as rebellious or as trying to impress (more so when younger). But tattoos are no longer a sure sign of being a former prison-inhabitant or gang member, I promise. Plus it’s not impossible to cover them up on occasions where you have to look professional. I long for the day when it is widely acceptable to express your brand on your skin.
It is frustrating that there are a lot of common mistakes with tattoos; the classic ex-partner name, inaccurate chinese symbols or one that’s been done on a holiday whim. Along with thought-less tribal tattoos or tattoos with spelling or grammar errors (hilarious/worrying examples here). You’re really not helping us with our argument here people.
But I have planned each of mine carefully; ensured the tattoo artist is very talented and experienced. Will I get any more? Probably. But each one will be in-keeping with my brand, my theme; grey-scale, accurate, ornate and detailed. Seeing somebody with well-planned, nicely designed and beautifully executed tattoos instantly draws me to them, I think they must be creative and passionate people with a story to tell. And I’d love to hear your story.
I have included an image that I saw on Facebook last month, one that I hope will continue to get ‘likes’ from all generations and that nicely solidifies my thoughts.