Tattoo Conundrum: Saving Space |

Editor Rosie shares her thoughts and fears about running out of space on her body for tattoos – and saving a gap for that artist who works half way across the world…

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If you’re anything like me, most of your time is filled up with scrolling through Instagram soaking in all the new tattoos created that day as well as stumbling over new tattoo artists. Like many tattoo collectors I know, I have a hefty wish list – a list of design ideas and a list of tattoo artists that I have to get work from. Sometimes these cross over, and I have in mind a specific design that I know an artist will nail.

Being based in the UK, many of the tattooists on my watch list are scattered across the globe from Australia to Canada, Germany to Brazil. There are simply too many that I covet, and so too many to choose from – and that’s where the issue lies. There are hundreds of amazing artists and I don’t have enough bare skin! When you factor in tattoo apprentices in the early part of their career and those people that haven’t even begun tattooing yet my anxiety rises further.

As we start to fill up our bodies with designs, we have to make decisions: whose work do we want more? How far am I willing to travel? How much money can I spend? Who does the best work in that particular tattooing genre? Who has the best style for that design I have in mind? How long am I prepared to wait? If I go to an artist more than once, am I missing out? Do I save space on my arm for that artist in Australia, in the vain hope that they guest in the UK or I make it half way across the world? Should I get work off my awesome local tattooist instead?

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These are just some of the thoughts that I have on almost a daily basis, and surely I am not alone? I reached out to my followers on Instagram to find out how others feel about saving space and filling up too fast…

Nia Howarth, Huddersfield:

“I wouldn’t say I’m heavily tattooed! But I’m only 23 and I’m very quickly running out of space. There are artists who are out there who I love and really want to get tattooed by but I don’t think I’ll have the space for everyone! I also love having my boyfriend (Callum Glover) tattoo me because it makes me so happy seeing how proud he is that his girlfriend has work by him.”

Loll Montgomery, Birmingham:

“I got tattooed a lot by the same person during my twenties and now think I should have saved the space and had work from different people. I do love the work I have, I just regret taking up so much space, but I was young and wanted to get tattooed once a month.”

Jen Adamson, Leicestershire:

“I’m not heavily tattooed yet, so fill me up!”

Kiaya, Galway Ireland: 

“I totally get you. I’ve FINISHED my sleeves but taking a huge break now to wait and collect on my legs. Has to be special – all killer no filler. One leg is almost full so have to be selective.”

Claire Smith, Derby: 

“I think this all the time! I worry about conventions and the fact I don’t have many easily accessible gaps left for artists I love. I see pieces by artists and worry whether I’ll be able to get anything by them because I’m filling up so fast! And yet I love all my tattoos. It is so difficult. I think you will always want ‘one’ more and there are always going to be new artists you discover but it doesn’t stop you loving the collection and choices you’ve made.”

But are all of my thoughts and some of yours caused by a worry that our tattoo journeys must end someday? And will that be when we are full? Or does filling your skin never truly end – I mean I could blast over it all and start again?

Photos by Amie Louise Thomas

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