Model's half sleeve tattoo turned into $20k art project by NZ tattooist

By Sophie Haslett

Model Summer McInerney travelled between Brisbane and Auckland to get her tattoos done by NZ-based tattooist Coen Mitchell. Photo / Instagram, @summermcinerney
Model Summer McInerney travelled between Brisbane and Auckland to get her tattoos done by NZ-based tattooist Coen Mitchell. Photo / Instagram, @summermcinerney

In July 2015, Summer McInerney made the decision to get a 'half sleeve tattoo' down her right arm.

"I like being unique, and thought I'd look quite hardcore with a half sleeve," the 23-year-old from Brisbane told Daily Mail Australia.

Little did Ms McInerney know that this would lead to an incredible art project covering much of her body.


Nearly two years later, the model has spent around 127 hours being tattooed (or 15 full days), and close to AUD $20,000.

According to Ms McInerney, while she originally had no intention of getting more than a half sleeve inking, once she had teamed up with her current tattooist, Coen Mitchell, from Auckland, she couldn't resist getting more.

"When Coen finished off my sleeve, I loved it and thought it was really different.

"Pretty much straight away I wanted more and luckily he had a great idea for my upper thighs and bum."

Before long, Ms McInerney was having intricate patterns inked onto her stomach and chest, too.

"The stomach and chest were a big deal for me when I got them done, but they actually weren't the most painful!," she said.


How the 23-year-old registers pain is that if she remembers it, it was bad.

"I remember the middle of my chest - my sternum - it was unbearable," she said.

"My feet were also pretty sore, but I'm about to get one of my feet lasered so that I can continue and finish my sleeve on my leg. I'm looking forward to that."

And since Ms McInerney has started her tattooing, she has amassed thousands of followers on social media.

She also works full-time as a model now, appearing in both editorial shoots and magazines.

"It's very overwhelming. I got these tattoos for me, I wanted to change my body into something unique. It's so fantastic to have so many people appreciating them."


Ms McInerney explained that she has had everyone - from the younger generation right up to 60 and 70-year-olds - appreciating her tattoos.

"I've had someone in their seventies come up to me and say 'I never like tattoos, but yours look like a work of art'. That was pretty special," she recalled.

And while she obviously has plans to complete her right leg and get her left leg tattooed too, Ms McInerney said that she still knows where she would draw the line:

'Next, I will complete my right leg and then I'll get black and grey realism on my left with Coen. I'm happy to do my throat, but I know I'll never get my face done.'

She said that her advice for people who are looking to turn their bodies into something different and special like she has done is to do the research.


"I spent a solid two years looking into the artists I wanted to do my body, and I totally trust Coen. Everything he has done on my body complements it perfectly.

"Pick the artist who will do the best thing for your body and then spend the money - don't feel bad about it.

"I've spent around $20,000 excluding travel to and from New Zealand to see Coen, but these tattoos will be on my body for the rest of my life. You've got to invest."

- Daily Mail

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