Expo hopes under mum's skin

By Hannah Norton

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Linda Baker wanted to enter Miss Tattoo New Zealand competition last year, but she was affected by pleurisy: inflammation of the lungs causing sharp chest pain.

This year the Kamo mother-of-five has overcome her health problems and she wants to give it another crack.

The competition is held as part of the International Tattoo and Arts Expo in Hamilton on February 23 and 24, and she is fundraising to get there.

"It's been a really rough year health-wise and it would really lift my spirits."

The competition is "pin-up" style, and she enters her body as a whole, not a singular piece of artwork, so she will have to wear a bathing suit.

"Although entrants in the past have worn things like sarongs," she said.

"I've been waiting to do this for a while but I haven't had the courage - I'm no spring chicken.

"There will be all shapes and sizes - it's not about being a supermodel - it's about the art," she said.

Most of her artwork has been completed by Whangarei tattoo artist Renee Lee, who is also heading to the event.

She estimates Ms Lee, who is the only Northland tattooist going to the expo, has spent over 40 hours inking her skin.

"It'd be a lot more if I could afford it." she said.

She got her first tattoo 10 years ago. "Once I got that first one I was addicted," she said.

Her kids love her tattoos. "I wouldn't do it if they didn't," she said.

She's never been to the expo before but is really looking forward to it. "I'm friends with a lot of the people on Facebook and it would be amazing to see them face-to-face, and also to support Renee," she said.

- Northern Advocate

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