Hundreds of body artists are heading to the capital, eager to make a lasting impression at this weekend’s International London Tattoo Convention. To help us get to the point of the revived craze, we sent Rebecca Kent to have a chat with the star of American reality TV shows ‘Miami Ink’ and ‘NYC Ink’, Ami James.
Why do so many people get tattoos?
‘Tattooing has made it to the mainstream in a big way, but motivations are still different. Some want a dragon “just because”, others want to symbolise something about themselves. ’
What is the latest trend in tattoo designs?
‘Hipsters are now getting old-school sailor tattoos, like the pin-up girls, the eagles on the chest, the daggers and hearts.’
Are there any new tattooing techniques?
‘Guys are really pushing the envelope because of the way tools have evolved. Now we can get any shade of any colour and we’re seeing the most insane realism – stuff that looks like a postcard stuck on your arm.’
Which body parts are popular?
‘The lower back was trendy until it was called the “tramp stamp”. Now everybody’s getting their ribs tattooed.’
How big a deal is tattoo removal these days?
‘It’s something we use very often, especially for tribal designs which were big in the ’80s, but are now an embarrassment and hard to cover up. One day soon, you’re just going to be able to get a tattoo removed in one session – with no scars.’
What makes for a great tattoo?
‘Line work should be perfect – otherwise eventually the tattoo will look old and weathered – and colours should be solid. Everybody assumes the colours will fade, but with sunblock on every day, and care taken, a good tattoo can stay perfect for ever.’
Weirdest tattoo you’ve seen?
‘I once saw a guy with daisies all over his face. It was just the dumbest thing. When he’s next looking for a job, nobody’s going to hire him.’
For more info, see the London Tattoo Convention listing.