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Head face and neck tattoos in London - part 4

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Saturday 21st November
Back for my English Breakfast at the Italian cafe (Pellicci's) around the corner.  We exchanged several photos, with the boss getting one of his staff to photograph me and him together.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/foodanddrink/restaurants/3318100/Are-you-ready-to-order-This-week-Pelliccis.html

Then off with my dogs back to Broadway Market .





















There I caught up with the owners of a lovely cafe again.  It has the not too imaginative name of Market Cafe.  http://www.market-cafe.co.uk/

You can see the Frenchwoman in white at the bar. They were lovely to me.

Afterwards I walked along the canal until I arrived at Victoria Park and then just sat down there for a while.  A very peaceful morning enjoying the small delights of an east London previously unknown to me.

But I had to get back because after lunch my host, Milos Mali, had agreed to take professional photos of me.http://www.milosmali.com/

Just a few years ago Milos had been a leading fashion photographer, as yo…

Life with head, face and neck tattoos - part 3

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Friday 20th November
Horror of horrors, much of the neck tattoo under my chin came off on my pillow last night.  I feel despondent.  I'd banked on three days of perfection.
After breakfast at the local cafe and English Breakfast too and much friendliness from the staff, I headed off for a walk with Twiggy and Suki and ended up at London Fields.


 London Fields is an evocative name being the title of Martin Amis's eponymous novel.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/London_Fields_  The place itself is quite forgettable as a dog walk and surrounded by ugly multi-storey buildings, but I met a group of dog walkers who engaged in doggy chat.  It was ultra normal from my point of view - just what happens on many days on my walks at the parks around Bristol.  One of them took a photo of me with the dogs and you can see I look self confident.  I feel self confident.

Then I headed back stopping at a cafe in Broadway Market.  http://broadwaymarket.co.uk/


 Climpsons cafe was crowded and I fou…

My visible tattoo adventure in London - part 2

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Thursday 19th November
To return to Natalie's house I had a good walk with my dogs, much of which was across Victoria Park.  I'd never been there before and was surprised by its size and interesting features. http://www.towerhamlets.gov.uk/default.aspx?page=12670 The council claims nine million people visit it every year.
I didn't think it would take Natalie too long to finish my neck and then work on my hands and arms.  In actual fact she didn't finish until about late lunchtime.  These photos are a bit dull as she no longer had the lighting needed for clear photos, but you can get the idea, though I realise now there are no good images of my arms and hands..




At the end of it all Natalie took the necessary selfie and here she is with me.  I am so grateful to her for the gloriously detailed work she did and I felt like a million dollars.  The work on my neck cleverly disappeared the old man stringyness of it.
It was quite late by the time I returned to Bethnal Green bu…

My head, face and neck tattoo adventure in London - part one

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Tuesday 17th November

This was the beginning of my little adventure as a completely head to toe tattooed man.  For four days I would live the experience.  Would I be shunned?  Would I even be making myself vulnerable to physical attack at worst and at best the subject of casual verbal abuse.?

I had all my hair shaved off and most of my beard and had a waxing so my body can be easily painted.  Next begins the process of full transformation.

Wednesday 18th November

I set off from Bristol with my dogs and having walked them, drove on to London.  The M4 was closed causing a big diversion.  I stopped at Hounslow about 1:00 pm.  It took almost three hours to cross London, so much for the effectiveness of the Congestion Charge.

Thus my arrival at Natalie Sharp's was delayed until 4:00 pm. This was not the start I'd hope for. But Natalie began the task of painting my head.  She is very careful with her work and it took her three and a half hours to cover my head, face and some of my …

My left thigh progresses with more colour

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Not much to report really on my leg piece.  Ben entered colour into the diamonds.  There are sixteen of them around my leg which reminds me just how big a piece it would be if stretched out.  Nine of them were completed in this session so next time he will finish that and begin the pending work near my groin.

Ben has an unusual booking system.  For clients who are not in the middle of larger pieces of work, everyone else must queue up once a year for a booking.  On 31st October there were 105 people who arrived and some had to wait for hours.  Ben is now booked up to 2017.  This wasn't even his biggest year.  A couple of years ago there were over 130.  He says about 20% are new customers.

I had a lot of trouble with the ink after my previous session in September with a much soreness and blistering which only now has fully healed.  It turns out it was some faulty ink.  I had wondered if it was caused by the numbing cream I used, but apparently not.  Several other people had had pr…

A planned temporary tattoo adventure

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My fixation with face tattoos is obvious to anyone following my blog.  So while my wife is away in India later in November 2015, I plan to head off to London to get my face, head and neck covered in temporary tattoos, only this time I plan to keep them for several days.

It wasn't altogether as straightforward as I imagined to arrange.  First I planned going to Brighton where I know there is a strong alternative community.  One body painter I contacted suggested I speak to Naomi Gay, who would be most comfortable doing what I want.
https://www.facebook.com/naomi.gay After all, it is a bit outside the norm.  Alas Naomi was heading abroad for several months the day before I planned to arrive in Brighton.  But she wanted to put me in touch with a couple of other body painters she respects.  The problem was they were around London.

The first contact was Natalie Sharp.  www.nataliesharp.co.uk And once I spoke to her I thought she could be just the person.  But she lives in Hackney.  A…

Jen has a face tattoo

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Jen is a personal trainer who originally hails from Winnipeg in Canada, though she has lived in England the majority of her life - since 1997.  For all that, she still has a Canadian accent.  She says she regularly visits Canada and even has her tattooist there.

Jen had her face tattoo inked in 2010 so it is really an established part of her.  She says she had it done when she was completely happy with who she was.  She has lots of piercings, once there more, having kept the ones she most liked.

She had her first tattoo when she was 17 in 2005.  It was a friend that did the work at home.  She says she will be covered by the time she goes into the ground.  Although she has lots of tattoos already including on her ankle and leg she has plenty of space yet.  Soon she will extend her neck tattoo so that it goes all the way round.

Not satisfied with just having her face tattooed her immediate plans now are for a head tattoo on the right hand side of her head.  She is looking right now for…

Being tattooed to the music

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The full scale on my left leg/thigh is now apparent.  What remains is to fill in all the un-inked spaces.  This will probably take another three sessions, for the area on your thigh is far greater than meets the eye.

When I go to Ben Boston for my tattoos I am also treated to my own personalised music.  Big Stu who is Ben's administrator also has a 700 CD collection and depending on the client he develops a playlist especially for each of us.  So I am spared the heavy metal and have something rather more mellow,  This time that even included Louis Prima from the 50s and earlier.tps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O-a8kLtJSJ4  I wonder how many tattoo studios have a music library this large?

A tigerish face

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Thanks to James Sandercock of Total Tattoo, I can add the above photo to my collection.  He picked up on the very animalistic style of my painted face tattoo and chose an unusual angle to capture its power.  It is rather influenced by a tiger face which is not altogether surprising given that Sam Fisher, who did the work on me also paints so many animal faces on people.  Yet you can see how she drew the design from that of the beautiful woman shown here.  Her full and alas not real face tattoo makes a beautiful woman look even more beautiful

Vineeta is getting a tattoo bodysuit

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Vineeta Townsend is with her husband Steve Black and every visible part of her, save her face and head, is covered in tattoos.  They have been together for seven years.  Before they met Vineeta had only a couple of small tattoos on her back.

Her body she says is fully covered now including her feet.  She never thought to herself that she wanted a bodysuit.  It just grew.  The most recent area is her back.  She is not ready to tattoo her face nor can she imagine it.

Her family didn't like it originally but got used to it and were worried about what she would look like at her wedding.  That seems comical now.  Most of her friends are heavily tattooed so it's just the norm in her circle.

They live in Weston super Mare, which is where Vineeta has been since getting married to her tattooist, Steve.  She originally comes from Surrey.  The studio is called All Of One Tattoo Studio in Weston super Mare.  http://www.allofonetattoo.com/artist/steve-black

Steve has the quite common tatt…

Big chunk of leg tattooed

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My left leg sleeve gets boldly longer.  It goes beneath my knobbly knee cap now.  It's hard to tattoo a symmetrical design on something so asymmetrical as a knee.  When I look at the design from the front it looks a bit wonky but from the side it looks just right. It will be a few sessions before this is finished and I can get on with completing my right hand arm sleeve.  Once the swelling goes down I can hope my knee looks less knobbly!

It was quite a warm day in Bristol.  Nothing like the 37 degrees in Rome, from where I returned on Monday.  But warm enough for Ben to say that the open pores make it so much easier to tattoo.

Hannya Jayne, tattooist from High Wycombe

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Hannya Jayne is a very tattooed young tattooist who works at Woody's in High Wycombe.  http://www.woodystattoostudio.com/THE%20CREW/HANNAH.html She is a self effacing and gentle personality. Hannya has been getting tattooed for a little over ten years and when I met her at the Bristol Convention was about to get some ink from Curly, from Oxford, who I have recently featured in an earlier blog.  But she is also tattooed by Woody at whose studio she works. She will get a full body suit in time.  She already has some of the back of her head done as can been seen in part, though her hair is hanging down enough to obscure part of the work.  She will have much more of her neck tattooed and maybe more of her head, but not her face.  Much of the work on her body is very intricate. Her neck will be done by James (I didn't check out who he is!) and will be Japanese style.  She says she is quite sexist in her choice of designs.  Her back has some work on it already but she is going to g…

Polynesian tattoos on a English chef

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I was walking home after visiting a couple of art exhibitions at the RWA museum and the Bristol Museum of Art and walking past the Eldon House pub noticed someone through the window with very striking tattoos.  First I walked on then stopped and returned thinking I would step inside and accost the owner of the ink.  But the pub was closed.  But he saw me and came out to speak to me.  I think he vaguely recognised me. He is Colin Halton and is the chef at the pub, well known for its Sunday lunches in Clifton.  Very quickly he told me that his freshly tattooed sleeve on his left arm was done by no other than Ben Boston, my tattooist!  The work is Marquesan design from Polynesia.  http://www.schoolsliaison.org.uk/bodydecoration/tattooing/marquesas.html I didn't know Ben did this kind of work, so it was an eye opener for me. He started this work when he was thirty, eight years ago.  Down from his knees are done and part of his chest.  He will get a full body suit all in Marquesan sty…

The left leg becomes more harlequinned.

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My left leg tattoo moved further towards the knee this week.  Not much else can be said about it except that the blue diamonds will soon extend onto the knee cap.  Then all the blank diamonds will be filled with different colours.

I am off to Rome in a few weeks time where I will no doubt spend time by the pool, with my new work on display, while doing all I can to keep it in the shade.