This weeks Dear Aspect is by tattoo artist, Jess Oxley, answering your questions all about tattoos!
What’s the strangest tattoo request you’ve had?
I tattoo a lot of anime/Japanese folklore themed designs so I honestly don’t get asked for anything too weird or unusual! Someone did send me a photo of a banana on a string with some fake teeth stuck in it and asked if I could ‘do that’ for them, that one was a bit strange!
Is there anything you’d refuse to tattoo on someone?
Just the usual things I imagine, no hate symbols or anything like that. No face or hand tattoos without enough pre-existing tattoos. I know that one can be a bit controversial, it’s your body and it’s very much your choice, but if you have enough tattoos that getting a face tattoo will not affect your work or livelihood then that’s absolutely fine, but if you have no other tattoos and you’re 18 and still figuring stuff out then I’m not going to tattoo your face. We call them ‘job stoppers’ for a reason. But mainly I’m a one-trick pony with blackwork so I’m really not interested in tattooing in colour or any style I’m not familiar or comfortable with. I’m always happy to recommend other artists if it’s something I can’t do though!
Have you ever made a mistake tattooing?
Pulling a straight line on someone who’s moving or twitching is HARD haha! Imagine drawing a straight line on a piece of paper and someone tugging it from under you. There’s definitely been a few times early in my apprenticeship when someone moved and I wasn’t ready for it but ultimately you can fix any mistakes like that with shading and things like that. It can suck during the moment but you need to be able to fix it if it happens.
What’s the most painful place to get tattooed?
Amazing question with a really unsatisfying answer! It’s honestly different for everyone! When I started tattooing I thought certain places were easier than others but the more people I’ve tattooed the more I’ve learnt thats not true at all! It depends on what pain you’re better with, for example, the inner arm and calf can be sharp but some people struggle more with shins and areas with a more blunt pain. Ribs are generally sucky, I personally try not to do them for first tattoos because that area can really surprise you. It honestly varies from person to person, just expect it to be a sore process and you’ll either be right and prepared or pleasantly surprised!
What’s the most common misconception of being a tattoo artist?
That it’s a chill and rock and roll lifestyle. I can not stress how wrong this is! Shows like LA Ink really gave the impression that you just rock up to work and wait for someone to come in a whip up a design. It’s the HARDEST job I’ve ever done. You’re in charge of your customers, diary, inventory and stock, your social media, your designs and drawing, absolutely everything! Different styles will need different design times but at least 2 days out of my week will be just design prep for the following week of appointments. Not a lot of free time to party let me tell you! Tattoo Fixers also gave the idea that several artists will all draw a design for you and you pick which one you want, to the point where people used to call into the studio and ask for just that. Definitely don’t take your advice from tattoo ‘reality’ shows, 99% of them are very far from the reality of how studios work. Also don’t watch Tattoo Fixers, that’s not a good show! If you ever struggle with how things actually work with booking a tattoo/the tattoo process just contact the artist you’d like to tattoo you!
Check out Jess’ Instagram page to see more of her work!