The first tattoo I ever had was a picture of Batman’s nemesis The Joker. I have always had a great love for the bad guys in fiction. And in my eyes he is one of the ultimate bad guys. I also had this toy joker head I used to carry around with me as a teenager which I often asked questions while I was in public places to freak people out, making it nod in agreement or shake to say no. This would end up causing an argument between me and this hunk of rubber that had the balls to disagree. That led me to pick this iconic maniac to be my first tattoo.
There’s a lot of crossover between horror and ink fans, what do you think the connection is?
I think horror is always going to be part of alternative culture. Not everyone likes the idea of seeing the darker side of life that horror represents but others choose to embrace it and make it their own. I think that is why some people choose horrific images to be put on their skin. It identifies them as against the norm and shows their love and appreciation of the beauty a horrific image can be.
Of all your tattoos which do you think is most synonymous with horror?
I have a jack in a box where the toy has been removed and a severed head put in its place that I drew when I was younger. The jolly box with the word boing written on it is a stark contrast against the dead woman’s head gaudily painted with a smile over her cold dead skin.
Paul Booth was one of the guys back in the day I really admired when no one else was really doing that style. Now it’s folk like Paul Naylor, Jason Butcher, Tyrell and Oz from Sinister Scrawlings that really inspire me.
How much does a person’s tattoos tell you about them?
Not much if I’m honest. People get tattooed for so many different reasons it’s hard to say.
Is it ok to get a tattoo because it just looks fucking cool or do you believe there should be a deep message behind each tattoo?
I think folk should get ‘em for whatever reason they like, be it meaningful or not. I think two of mine had a meaning once. But times change and sometimes those meanings are lost.
What advice do you have for people considering their first tattoos?
Think long and hard, ask the thoughts of your chosen artist about placement and do your research. Just because someone is in a studio doesn’t mean they will automatically be good at tattooing.
Avoid the scratchers tattooing illegally as most of the time they know fuck all about tattooing, It’s all just common sense really. Like I said before. Check out your artist. Look at their portfolio and see if you can find someone with examples of their work you can see in the flesh.
For those who haven’t been to a tattoo convention, what can they expect?
Lots of noise, beer and sweet tattoos (for the most part).
If, for whatever reason, you were told that you could only have one more tattoo, what would it be and why?
My daughter’s name. Because she would kill me later on in life if she realised I have my sons but not hers.
There are still a lot of people who discriminate against tattoos in the workplace, why do you think that is? Do you think this trend is reversing?
The trend is definitely reversing, more and more folk in the workplace have visible tattoos in more extreme places like hands and necks. There are still companies with rules about not showing tattoos but those guys are the ones that set their rules back in the 70s and haven’t changed with the times.