Big is beautiful for Bay women with tattoos (+poll)

By Sonya Bateson


More Tauranga women are getting large visible tattoos as society becomes more accepting of skin art.

Tattoo Lounge owner Alan "Spud" Pudney said women had become his main clientele and many were choosing larger tattoos.

"They are getting bigger work now, sleeves and large pictures. Once it was little tattoos that brought in the bread and butter, now it's the bigger ones that we do more often than not.

"We're also doing a lot more black and grey work. Like photos, they often look good in colour but better in black and grey."

Celebrities set tattoo trends, Mr Pudney told the Bay of Plenty Times Weekend.

He said people ordering tattoo kits and ink online and botching up a tattoo were also causing many requests for cover-up work, which he often refused.

"I ask people if they would go to a backyard place to get dentistry or surgery, it's the same thing with tattooing."

Mr Pudney said depending on how many large tattoos he was doing, on average, he would tattoo eight women compared with five men in a week.

Jonea Dance, 21, recently got a sleeve tattoo on her upper arm. She said she felt comfortable having a large tattoo because they had become more common.

"They're so popular now. Ten years ago, it would have been a totally different story but now every third person you see has a tattoo. I've got four of them, although this is my first big one."

Miss Dance's new tattoo is an interpretation of her family tree.

"I wanted something to represent my family, I've got a big family so I needed a big tattoo. I won't do any more on the sleeve but I think they look good on a woman."

Miss Dance said her tattoo took two sessions to complete. She had a four-hour sitting in December last year and returned for another three hours in January for the finishing touches. Gravity Tattoo owner Richard van Pelt said the most popular tattoos this year were script, although Victorian-era objects, infinity symbols, small hearts and pictures of sugar skulls given to people in Mexico on the Day of the Dead were also common.

Mr van Pelt said in the past week alone he had done 14 script tattoos, slightly fewer than he would do on the average week.

He said tattoos on the side and ribs were also popular, along with roses, silhouettes of birds, Maori or Pacific Islander patterns, outlines of New Zealand, butterflies and small tattoos on fingers.

"We're getting a lot of writing and script. We've had about 10 of those in the last month. If you do some research you'll find a celebrity that started this trend. The Spice Girls were responsible for the influx of Chinese symbols, then Playboy bunnies were all the rage. Thank God that was short-lived."

Ink Off laser tattoo removal specialist Michelle Wyper said many women were coming to see her to have their "tramp stamp", or lower back tattoo, removed.

"They're getting into their 30s and have a few children so are wanting them removed, I had three in the last week. I've also had quite a few people recently that have been on holiday to Asia and have got a tattoo that's been distorted, they ask for something the size of a 50c coin and come back with something 5cm by 5cm."

Most common Tauranga tattoos

Script and writing.

Infinity symbols.

Sugar skulls.

Victorian-era objects.

Maori/Pacific Island designs.

Birds, butterflies and roses.





- Bay of Plenty Times

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