We all had classes at school that were so boring you’d spend your time doodling on your exercise book or on your hands and up your arm. I remember writing a different lyric on the back of my hand every day, it was basically a ritual for me and I grew up wanting lines from my favourite songs permanently inked on my skin. I had a lot of people telling me that this was dumb and if I was going to get something tattooed then it should always be meaningful but I wasn’t really one for this belief, hence the reason I have “FTB” (For The Boys) on my ankle.
There’s a story behind that but I’ll save it for another day.
I’ve always tried to have an “if you like it, do it” kind of mindset.
Therefore, I got it when Lee, from the Cherry Blossom Tattoo Studio in Walton on the Naze, said that he became a tattoo artist just because he liked to draw.
Kinda bummed me out that I’d listened to my dad when he told me it was pointless trying to be an artist when I was younger because you couldn’t make any money out of it until you were dead. Fortunately, interior designers, book illustrators and of course, tattoo artists completely piss on that statement.
I only have a few small tattoos myself, I’m talking real quick twenty minute jobs, but I’m looking to get a larger one on my upper thigh or just under my chest. Obviously, when you’re getting a sizable permanent adornment you will want to do your research on where to get it and who to get it from. This meant I needed to find someone I could trust to do the job properly. So one sunny Monday morning, I dragged myself out of bed a little earlier than normal to go and observe Simon, the head chef at Restaurant 43 in Great Bentley, getting a portrait tattoo of his late dog, Lolly, on his lower leg.
The first thing I notice when I walk into piercing and tattoo parlors is always the smell. Whether it smells clean, disinfected and fresh. If you walk into a place where they have to come into contact with your skin and blood and it doesn’t smell right, back out fast. However, I was more than satisfied with the hygienic scent of Cherry Blossom Tattoo Studio along with the faint waft of incense sticks burning somewhere nearby. Not only that but the room I was sat in was just so interesting. A lot of people prefer to have something to focus on when being repeatedly jabbed at by an inked needle and Cherry Blossom was great for having stuff to draw your attention away from the initial pain.
There was artwork from each of the artists all over the walls, things like intricate Hands of Hamsas and complex imitations of roses. Along the top of the room were shelves packed with taxidermy, books of tattooed artworks slotted into the case beside me and below them were different shades of ink being used. The buzzing of the needles faded into the background as an episode of Only Fools and Horses played, which I felt like Lee and Tom, the tattooists that were working whilst I was there, had seen more than enough times as they were quoting it. Like, the whole episode. All of this gave the room so much brightness, colour and personality which is a perfect depiction of what a lot of art is all about so I was in an immediate comfort zone. It didn’t just feel like a bunch of random crap squeezed into a room.
Being able to actually watch Lee work was a different experience all together. Obviously when you’re getting tattooed, a lot of the time, you may not actually be able to see the work until it’s finished so you don’t see the steady hand movements and the techniques, the quick reactions if you cough or sneeze, the dabbing and the patience that all goes in to the work and after watching him, I definitely appreciate the outcomes a lot more because damn is that a time consuming job.
I can only write so much that will do Cherry Blossom justice so make sure you take a look at their Instagram and Facebook page to get a better insight on what exactly the tattooists are capable of, I’m definitely looking into getting my next tattoo done there.