Eight geotag journalists exploring your city. This week: Creative London.

Tattoo Tales

By Avinash Kalla and Valeria Testagrossa

Last September when Pim de Lange, director, Stena Line's North Sea routes remarked about British sailors being quite fat and covered with tattoos it created quite a stir.

Lang had to seek a public apology for his words which were considered appalling, abusive and derogatory.

From sailors to celebrities and those falling in between, they all mind their tattoos. More than being the in thing getting inked is sort of a culture here.

This is something that attracts tattoo artists from distant places to come to London. “London is the most inspiring place for a tattoo artist, it has a strong tattoo tradition and it is considered highly an art form here, ” says tatoo artist Mattia and adds, “I have learnt a lot by being able to watch great artists at work here.”

This has something to do with the history of the place. Back in 1891, Thomas Riley patented the first coil machine for making Tattoos. Eight years later another Englishman, Alfred Charles from South of London patented the first twin coil machine.

This craze creates a lot of demand for artists. Tattoo artiste Febo who was working as a professional tattoo artist before coming to London says; “London is the heart of tattoos. If you are a tattoo artist there is no better place to go to in Europe than this city. Today, I work in two studios and just love it always more!”

Artists flock to London from beyond Europe, Hendry Lama who runs two tattoo studio in New Delhi says, “After spending a year learning to make tattoo’s in Bangkok I was asked by my trainer to spend some time in London learning the nuances of the craft. I picked up how to run tattoo boutiques here and started my venture in India.”

Over the years artists keep on arriving and people keep getting tattooed, maybe in a different way from how this culture began. But it surely does not seem to fade.
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