Long gone are the days when tattoos were the reserve of hardened sailors, rebellious punks and Hell’s Angels members.
Now you’re just as likely to see a bank manager or your local GP plastered with tough sticker.
The numbers back that up. One in ten 18 to 24-year-olds have been inked and that number rises to nearly one in three for 25 to 30-year-olds.
Which means the chances you are thinking about getting a piece of art on your person is fairly high.
But how can you make sure you will love your piece forever?
To help you out, Unifresher spoke to tattoo artist extraordinaire Dan Leicester, from the famous Manchester Ink…
1. What are the best reasons to get a tattoo?
The best reasons to get a tattoo are because you’ve seen an artist’s work, that you like the look of, and you think I want to walk around with a piece that looks like that for the rest of my life.
2. What about memorial pieces?
Maybe that’s not a good idea getting a memorial piece. If someone you know has died, and no offence to anyone with a memorial piece, but if you think “this is going to get me closure” maybe one day you wake up and it’s not the first thing on your mind, the first thing on your mind is “fuck I’m really hungry”, as soon as you look down at that tattoo you’re thinking about that person again. It might bring back good memories, you don’t know, but to have to look at that all the time, to have to remind yourself of that all the time is probably not a good reason. The best reason is finding an artist you like and getting a piece you’re going to enjoy.
3. …and what are the worst?
Because you don’t know what to do with your spare cash (laughs)| — that’s a terrible [reason] to get a tattoo.
4. What else?
A dare, to impress someone, because you know a guy who will come round and do it for you.
5. Should I get a big tattoo, like a full sleeve, as my first?
Yup, I don’t see why not. If you definitely want it.
6. Are there any tattoos you would refuse to do?
I wouldn’t refuse to do styles but I would probably recommend somebody better for the job if I think it’s not the right tattoo for me. That’s not really refusing to do it, if they push me to do it I’ll do it, but it’s my job to advise people. So if someone comes to me and says ‘I want this tattoo done in this style’ and I go ‘I know someone who can do it better, go see my mate over there’, it’s then down to them if they say no.
7. Are there any parts of the body you would refuse to do a tattoo on?
Nope, not really. If someone comes to me and says ‘I want the entire of my finger doing’ I will explain to them how it’s going to look… terrible (laughs). In a very short space of time it’s going to be an awful tattoo. It’s then up to them on to make a decision on whether or not they want the tattoo or not. Again it’s just a case of advising people.
8. Are there any styles you would recommend not getting?
Not really. There’s stuff I don’t like doing, that I look at and go ‘it’s not the best’. That doesn’t mean to say whoever’s done it doesn’t like it or whoever’s got it doesn’t like it. That’s like saying, if I walk into an art gallery and I say to someone ‘don’t buy that painting on the wall it’s shit’, that’s not for me to say that, that’s for whoever painted it to say it, or whoever wants to buy it to say it. If someone likes the artist or specific style I don’t see the problem — they have to wear it.
9. Do you have any tattoos you regret? If so, why?
Not any more. I did, but I’ve had it covered up. Why did I regret it? Just because it was badly done. It was taking up space where I could have had a bigger piece. I got it removed, I got it tattooed over and I got something similar somewhere else.
10. How painful is tattoo removal if I do end up regretting it?
It’s really painful. It’s like the pain of a tattoo times ten. It feels like someone flicking you with a really hard elastic band that they’ve pulled back 20 feet. That’s what it feels like. It’s quicker than a tattoo so I guess there’s that, but it’s still really, really bad.
11. What advice do you have for people deciding on which tattoo they want?
Look at different artists and styles. Try to find someone who does work that you like. So long as you find that, you’ll be ok no matter what you get. You won’t regret good art so that’s my advice.