‘Someone wanted a demon all over their private parts’: An interview with a Brighton Tattoo Artist
I’m permanently scarred for life
Brighton is known for being a quirky, vibrant and artistic seaside town so it’s only right that it’s tattoo artists fulfil the same description. I sat down with Katharina Michme, an artist at ‘Blind Pig Tattoo Club’, to ask them a few questions about the nature of their work and to get an inkling about what’s it’s like to be a tattoo artist.
What made you want to become a tattoo artist in the first place?
I always loved drawing and painting but never thought once about having a career in tattooing! My old mentor in Germany approached me as he was doing most of my tattoos and got me started with letting me work (as in clean and watch him tattooing) in the shop while I was working full time for a different company. Soon after I moved to England to learn how to tattoo. Best thing I have ever done, wouldn’t go back for the world!
Have you got any tattoo’s yourself and if yes, how many?
I have too many to count but they mostly tie in anyway. Still enough gaps to fill though!
What style of tattoo design is your favourite?
My favourite style is definitely Neo Traditional, the more colour the better! But I’m open for anything really!
What’s the weirdest tattoo design you’ve been asked to do?
A woman in Germany once wanted a demon all over her private parts.
Where’s the most awkward place you’ve been asked to tattoo?
I’m not sure I should tell those stories as they are mostly not suitable for work haha. People have some crazy ideas for their tattoo placements sometimes…
Do you believe tattoos need to have meaning?
Definitely not. A lot of people prefer having something with meaning especially for their first tattoo which is fair enough. Personally I never needed meaning to my tattoos but that’s just me. At the end of the day as long as the tattoo looks good and is placed well that’s all that matters to me!
What’s your favourite thing about being a tattoo artist?
It’s hard to nail it down but probably the fun factor. You don’t work a day in your life if you’re having a fun job! Meeting loads of new and interesting people is great too.
Have you even done a Brighton themed tattoo?
I’ve done a couple! Most of them are usually on tourists or people who grew up in Brighton! I guess the most common ones are the west pier or seagulls. I really don’t know why people are so fascinated by seagulls.
What’s your opinion on the ‘Tattoo Fixers’?
I haven’t really watched it but I think, as a lot of tattoo shows do, it sends completely the wrong message. It advertises the artists as the best in the UK and some (but not all) of them do shocking work! There’s so many actual crazy talent in the UK and the show just kind of gives a bad name to the industry over here. Also one of the artist constantly rips of other people’s work and has apparently scarred people quite badly with his tattoos. I think it’s safe to say that most tattoo artists hate it, hence you see loads of “Fuck Tattoo Fixers” T-shirts around tattoo conventions!
What’s the one piece of advice you would give to someone before getting a tattoo?
Here’s two: Definitely make sure you know what you want, or at least have an idea! And look for an artist who’s work you trust 100%. Too many people rush into it or go to artists who are cheap rather than someone they would actually like getting tattooed by and then they end up being unhappy with the result.
Katharina is currently taking bookings via [email protected]