It’s only taken about 20 years or so to get a tattoo …..

I may or may not have told this story before, if I have then forgive me, and just read along like you have never heard it before.

I have always been captivated by tattoos.

I am a visual person – I love art, I love logos, I practically mess in my pants (in a good way, not like the bad way in the previous post) when I deal with Pantone colours.

Tattoos are art.  One gets good art, bad art and everything in between.  Art is not always about the image before you, it is about how that image makes you feel when you look at it.  Art is something that connects with you, it could be that you are drawn to something, or you could be repulsed by something.  Art is when that feeling is created in us as humans.

I am often intrigued at the decision processes people make when deciding on an image that will be on their body for ever.

This is not something I would embark on lightly.

I recall when I was about 13, I saw this girl at the local public swimming pool, she was probably 16 years old.  She was decked out in blue shorts, a white shirt that had an off the shoulder thing going on, as well as a “captain’s hat on her head (I added the location, as sometimes people need clear instruction to have a visual).

To make her even cooler, and right there I would have contemplated sleeping with her, she had an anchor on her left arm/bicep.

She was the coolest girl I had ever seen, and keep in mind we are talking 1986, so tattoos were not common place.

I wanted to be her.  I wanted her tattoo.   I wanted the entire sailor outfit.  Unfortunately I was tall, skinny and gawky and the chances of me being able to pull that lot together would have been a “non starter” to say the least.

So my fascination with tattoos started and has remained.

Every few years I get this “okay, I am going to get a tattoo” bug and I find an image that I think is “the one.”  I am certain I want it on my body forever.  Then I put the image in my diary and commit to having it there for 6 months, if in 6 months the feeling is still the same, then righto, we are off for a tattoo.

And that would seem where the “rub” was.  I never liked an image 6 months later.

The initial feeling that it roused was no longer there.

I have avoided the “what’s popular” tattoos that have become er p0pular in the last few years.  Nearly everyone is tattood nowl.

It’s no longer considered this side line, alternate, only for bikers, chain gangs and people who need to be reminded what their chidlren’s names are.  It seems it is de rigueur for anyone and everyone to get one or two tattoos.

My journey has been a long one.

I have dragged around a lot of images over the years.  I have crumpled up many and thought and thought, and basically realised nothing resonated with me that long.

Until I found an image that did.

It started with a fox.  It was not tattoo related at the time.

I started looking at the fox and his qualities and why I found the fox such an alluring animal.  In stories he is always perceived as being cunning, but aloof.  When I started reading fox qualities, they often referred to the fact that the fox is quite a small hunter, he does not have the advantage of size, so he needs to be cunning and clever to catch his prey.

He is often considered aloof.  In fact he is a very social animal.  This is clear to see when there is a group of foxes that live together.  They are loving, playful and caring to one another.

I liked this concept.  And so it began.  The fox started to resonate with me, I looked at images and ideas I liked.  At this point, purely as an interest exercise.

I saw images that my brain converted to tattoos and I was hooked.

I built up various images and ideas, and finally after what feels like nearly all my life I decided to get a tattoo.

I chose to have it over my birthmark.

I have a dark birthmark just above my left hip.  Its about 110 mm (across) and 50mm high and in varying degrees of dark brown – the shape of a rugby ball.  When I was small it was a real issue for me, and I was embarrassed by it.


Through my teens it was also something to be embarrassed about – its not an area of my body I have to show anyone, so if I can avoid it, I don’t.  I did not get ripped off about it, as most people did not see it, so there was no reason to mention it.  I always wore a full piece swimming costume to cover it up.

I eventually became immune to it in my late 20’s, and now it is just there.

I decided to look at a tattoo and have it done over the birthmark.  I started with Ant over at Metal Machine Tattoos nearly a year ago, discussing some ideas and we sort of kept it as a casual discussion.

I went to him with a real sit down idea, and book a consultation around May.

We looked at the image, he had it tweaked a bit and then the decision was made to get started.  This was the inspiration, but the final piece has the fox dreaming with only one circle moving around him, and colour is used.


The first session was 4 1/2 hours (I fell asleep twice in two of the sessions).

The second session was about an hour and concentrated on the fine black details in the ‘dream circle’ images {This was up against my ribs, and felt like I was being cut with a scalpel, less than enjoyable – no sleep in that hour, some sobbing, but no sleep}.

There was some departure from the original image, in that the total size was going to be about the size of my hand.

When we started to position the fox so that it covered the birthmark, we needed to increase the size, and then it grew into a fair sized piece – actually far bigger than I had originally planned/imagined.

I have my third, and possibly last session this Friday.

There was one hare that Ant did not get to, the detail in this piece is incredible. I am going to ask him to make the colour of the hair the same as Parker – so he will have a spot over his one eye, and also a patch on his back.

My thoughts on tattoos have definitely shifted.

I do not show my tattoo to everyone who will look, it is still my private tattoo.

It is far more gorgeous than I thought was possible.

Ant did some wonderful work, and the sleeping fox looks like he is sleeping.  The detail he has included is mind blowing.  He added colour, and he pretty much worked off his own palette for that, I am so impressed.   I popped in at my dermatologist for something else, and he took a look at it — you can’t even see I have a birthmark, so that is incredible.

I found the tattoo process extraordinary, and do not think I can explain it.  It was not a case of lying in a chair and having someone tattoo you.  It’s not something someone does to you — it’s something you are experiencing.

Something in me shifted whilst the process was going on.   “Getting a tattoo” suddenly felt like “an experience” that I was having.  It felt different to all the other experiences I have had in my life.

I have no idea what happens when other people have a tattoo – but there is something almost “spiritual” that is occurring for me – I wish I could describe it.

I am very fond of my tattoo – I am really looking forward to Friday.

I will get to the point where I will show it around, but for now I prefer it to be “my little secret” that I get to look at.

I also understand how people get one, then immediately plan another and another.  I am already planning number two.

So that’s it then ……