I got a tattoo gun for Christmas, and now I’m ruining people’s lives with it

Now their mums are threatening me with pitchforks on Facebook

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My brother is currently getting his third qualification from his third university, consequently he has a solid understanding of what happens at uni.

So when he handed me this year’s Christmas present, I knew he could foresee months of terrible decision making.

As I unwrapped my shiny new tattoo gun in front of my whole family on Christmas day, except for wondering if my Grandpa wanted a butterfly on his ankle, I had a ubiquitous sense of trepidation.

xmas 2k14

Fast forward six or so weeks, and a plethora of tattooed oranges, I had managed to persuade someone to be my first victim.

Artwork: Luke Watson

Artwork: Luke Watson

Millie, a Media first year at Brighton, already with a healthy amount of body art stepped up to the plate.

Sometime last term Millie and her housemate Rosie tried to tattoo themselves with a pen, so they both had a crusty looking semi circle on their ankles that had the potential to be turned into a Liam Evans Original™.

After sanitizing the equipment with Boots homebrand antiseptic, covering everything in sight with clingfilm, and completing the look with some black latex gloves we were ready to go.

She wanted to turn the semi circle into an alien head.

After tracing on the design with a classic year 5 handwriting pen we were ready to go.

But not before some last minute panicking, and not just from Millie, but also from me, the dozen other people in the room, and an odd selection of the online community whom I will get to later.

Finally, with a cigarette in her hand, she was ready.

Except for an initial flinch, she dealt with it like a boss.

It’s like slicing through butter. The needle moves so quick that you can barely tell when it is cutting through the skin.

The gun is so heavy and vibrates so rapidly that there is an element of hope when it comes to what is actually drawn.

It was all over in under 10 minutes. One last wipe of antiseptic fluid and the finished design is visible.

Clean it, lube it, wrap it. Who’s next?

Rosie, also a first year at Brighton, wanted to turn her semi-circle into a sun. So after a change of needle and a cleaning of the equipment we were ready to go again.

This was to be her first tattoo.

With an air of confidence (mostly on my part), and some Basement Jaxx in the background I tried to draw the perfect circle on this poor girls ankle. Turns out, the one previous tattoo I had done 5 minutes earlier did not make me an expert, and the perfect circle wasn’t so perfect.

But it went well enough for someone else to decide that it would be a good idea for them to get one as well.

Elysia, a second year at Sussex, wanted a ghost on her ankle.

After getting Joel, a second year art student, to draw the design, we were all convinced this one had some promise.

And that was it.

Barely an hour after my first inking, I had permanently marked three people for the rest of their lives.

This is also when the aforementioned online community stepped up their involvement.

Apparently some friends/family of these girls had an opinion on me tattooing their “little girls”.

So with a pitchfork looming and a steady hand, I cleaned up my studio, put on the kettle and waited for Beth Walton and co.

Maybe if I’m lucky she will change her mind and let me stick my needle in her too.

UPDATE: A few days after this article was published, a company called Readies got in touch with me. They asked me to tattoo a Lamborghini on a willing subject as part of an advertising campaign.

I told them I wouldn’t personally do it for any less than 75k, but if you are someone (or know someone) in need of £500 and a lifetime of compunction, get in touch.