Let me start off by saying I’m a bit of a tattoo addict having so far amassed a collection of 13 with more to come. I love that sterile smell, the loud and unmistakable buzz of tattoo guns and the anticipation of feeling the pain (Yes it does hurt!) of getting tattooed. I may be a tattoo lover but there are many people who find them ugly, stupid and downright tacky (My own mother being one of said people). Clothes we change with time, trend, mood and even age, for instance, my skinny jean staple may not be suitable when I’m 50 but my tattoos will remain far longer whether I like it or not. I am under no illusion that there may very well come a time when I regret my tattoos. But each of them will always remind me of a moment in my life and that’s what I love most. I will always remember where I was, why I got it, who I was with, what I was thinking and what the tattoo represents to me.

My dad is 62 years old and has 6 tattoos all of which done in his late teens/early twenties and when growing up he always told me how much he hated them and never to get any of my own. Of course I paid no attention and I’ve shown him my freshly inked skin many-a-time guaranteeing I will hear the same words “oh son, not again”. However the most recent two he was surprisingly complimentary about. One is an Amsterdam themed butterfly and the second a modern twist on one his tattoos (pictured above).

With the ever increasing popularity of tattoos I have no doubt many people are putting little thought into what they’re getting, why, which artist they are trusting to mark their skin forever and doing it just to be part of a trend. We’ve all seen badly done tattoos, we may even know people with bad tattoos. If you haven’t, just head over to the @ShitTats twitter account and marvel at the weird, awful, terribly done and even misspelt body art.

Tattoos have become more and more prevalent in the fashion world, whether it be designs, prints and even the models used in campaigns and shows. Ricki Hall (pictured above) certainly doesn’t look like your conventional model with his bushy beard and heavily tattooed torso but that didn’t stop him being signed up by top London agency Nevs. Ricki has fronted campaigns for the likes of P & Co, Diesel and Paul Smith. Although the audience for the latter were clearly not ready for his inked up body with all of his tattoo’s being removed either digitally or with makeup. But would Ricki Hall have got so much work 10 years ago? Even 5 years ago? I think not!

A tattoo is a permanent statement and should be treated as such. So if you’re contemplating your first one or even adding to your collection, here’s a few do’s and don’ts before going under the needle;

DO visit multiple tattoo parlous – you must comfortable where you’re getting inked and that it’s a reputable place.

DON’T pick your tattoo from a flash card. A flash card is usually just basic samples of work. No one wants a tattoo someone else already has!

DO find the right artist. Make sure you’re on the same page, they have the right style for you and are excited about what they’re tattooing.

DON’T get the name of your partner. No relationship needs that pressure to stand the test of time.

DO be original. Go to your artist with images/artworks/inspiration and have them create something unique for you. If they cant do that, they’re not a tattoo artist. They’re a tattooer!

Don’t rush it. I’ve thought about a potential tattoo for years before getting it. I also have some impulsive ones. Whilst I like both, the ones with more thought behind them always come out better.

DO be open to change. The fact is your wonderful idea might not work as a tattoo and your artist should tell you. Once you start talking, between you you’ll come up with things that add to your idea and make it even better than you first imagined.

What do you think of ink? Love it or hate it? Whatever you opinion, to my thinking those who are inked ink for themselves and only themselves. It just so happens your choice of body art is often on display for all to see. So think before you ink!