Life

Tattoo Shops Have Reopened – Here's What People Got After Months of Waiting

We went along to see what people were getting carved into their skin the day after tattoo parlours were allowed to open back up.
July 15, 2020, 12:51pm
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Unless you're brave enough to take an inky needle to your own skin, tattoos have been hard to come by during the coronavirus lockdown.

So when tattoo parlours were given the go-ahead to reopen on the 13th of July – along with beauty salons and tanning studios – people returned in their droves to get the ink they'd either been booked in for before the pandemic hit, or a new design that came to them at some point over the last four months of doing absolutely fuck all.

Photographer Chris Bethell went to a couple of tattoo parlours in east London this week to talk to freshly-inked people about just that.

VALERIA

post lockdown tattoo

Studio: Shall Adore
Artist: @silviazed

"I'm from Italy – I came here for two days to get this tattoo. The tiger symbolises strength, it's a strong animal. The woman at the top is the warrior, representing strength again, and passion. The wolf is freedom, and it's howling because it is the conductor of nature. I got the sleeve done because I had a hard life that I'm now free of, which is what the tattoo shows."

ERIC

post lockdown tattoo

Studio: Shall Adore
Artist: @barbaranobody

"To be honest, I guess I had a lot of time to reflect on it – it's my first tattoo, which I got just after my first piercing. The first day after the parlours opened again I came in and put a deposit down. The reason for the triangle is because the Nazis used to brand gays with the upside down triangle in the concentration camps – that's how they identified them. Obviously the Jews had the star. So it's a self identification and a pride-type thing."

ANDRAS

post lockdown tattoo

Studio: Sang Bleu
Artist: @anttheelder

"I got it just because I wanted to get inked again, and Antoine, my tattooist, is a great friend of mine – almost for ten years now. So it's become quite a regular thing that we do. The piece is a medieval lily symbol that represents purity and love, femininity and grief in different cultures."

ED

post lockdown tattoo

Studio: Sang Bleu
Artist: @stevendonohuetattoos

"I got it because I booked it before lockdown. Steve is a sick artist, and obviously after seeing that [Sang Bleu is] reopening, you want to come back and pay the people that haven't been paid for the last four months."

CASEY

post lockdown tattoo

Studio: Sang Bleu
Artist: @dquinn.tattoo

"I love it. I love the art, I love the artist and it's something that I couldn't wait to get done. The tattoo isn't an expression of how I feel, it's done by an artist I've followed for a while – and I just really like their work and wanted it on me."

TESHA

post lockdown tattoo

Studio: Sang Bleu
Artist: @stevendonohuetattoos

"Why did I get it? Just 'cause I felt like it, really. I had the design for a while – it's a logo for the party I throw. I was supposed to get it before lockdown, and then I was going to get it while I was on tour in America. But lockdown happened, so as soon as it was lifted I wanted it done."

BECKY

post lockdown tattoo

Studio: Sang Bleu
Artist: @wolfgangtattoo

"So basically, they're all the important women in my life's favourite flowers. I always wanted a half sleeve, so there's a daffodil, a carnation, a peony, bluebells, lavender, lilies of the valley and a water lily."

@christopherbethell