Tattoo & Piercing Industry Union (TPIU) reply to Tony Parsons

 The piece entitled ‘Making my skin crawl: Tattoos scream for attention’ by Tony Parson for the Mirror, is yet another in a long list of ill-judged, non-researched, self opinionated articles by a jaded fleet street hack who seems to think that the red top readers actually value their narrow minded point of view.

The British value their freedom of choice, their right to be able to look how they want to look, to express their inner self, in whatever way they feel. Whether it’s the young punks of the seventies with their multi coloured Mohawks, or the old seventy year olds with their purple rinse, it’s their own choice. Tattoos are the same. They are the choice of the wearer, the life changing choice they have made to permanently mark their skin with whatever design they feel is right for them at that time in their life. It may be to mark the birth of their child, the death of a relative or the face of a hero, but it’s a choice made by them, for them. It’s not for Tony Parsons or anyone to judge their artwork or their choices. He or you may not like their design, but that’s neither her nor there. You may feel obligated to comment or criticize but after all is said and done; the person wearing the tattoo is the only one that matters.

One of our most successful tattoo artists in this country, Sean ‘Woody’ Wood has probably the most offensive tattoos you’ll ever see (Google him), they shock, they create discussion, they offend, but they are his choice. If you take the time to talk to him, you’ll find one of the sharpest minds, a superb artist who is highly intelligent, eloquent and knowledgeable. His choice of tattoo does not define him.

The art of tattoo has now risen to the level of fine art. Pick up any tattoo magazine and you won’t find any three year old’s finger paintings or cartoons done by people that flunked their art GCSE. The sheer quality of work being done around the world is astonishing; it’s wildly creative, incredibly skillful, eye-wateringly beautiful and way beyond the ‘Popeye’ art that Tony seems to remember.

We in the tattoo industry probably like David Beckham a bit more than Tony doesn’t. The England star has almost single handedly brought tattoos into the public and press consciousness, and as well as looking like a cool dude with immeasurable sex appeal (for both sexes), probably couldn’t care less what anyone else (apart from Victoria) thinks about him.

Do Cheryl’s tattoos make her any less appealing and sexy? A quick straw poll would always reveal not one bit. Military wife Samantha is so obviously proud of her ink; she took the opportunity to show it off to the world. Do her tattoos make her a bad singer or bad mother or wife? Of course not. To judge these people on just their decorated bodies alone is the mistake a lot of narrow minded, petty people make.

Oh dear, Mrs. Cameron’s got a dolphin tattoo, that’s not going to bring down the government now is it. Mr. Cameron I’m sure secretly admires his wife’s decision to get tattooed, and may even find her sexier for it! And the side swipe at the Sun journo who got into Ascot and showed off her body art is just so lame, come on Tony you can do a bit better…!

Mr. Parsons seems to think the tattooed people are trying to be individual, but these days it’s almost turned around, it’s almost more about being ‘IN’ the tattooed world, and part of the ever-growing popularity of the art of tattoo. The final and most offensive sentence by Mr. Parsons: a tattoo makes you look a thicko. You’ll all look silly when you’re sixty, is possibly the worst example of the lazy journo who can’t wait to get down the pub for opening time. It’s clear he doesn’t like tattoos, but can’t be bothered to do any research or understand exactly why. I don’t like brown corduroy trousers, but I don’t want to push my views in a mainstream newspaper. I have that choice, but I choose to keep my views to myself. I’d advise Tony to take a deep breath, maybe shake his head, have a little mutter to himself and just get on with something else, because tattoos will just continue to get more popular, more in your face and there’s very little he can do about it, because it’s not his choice, it’s ours.

• The Tattoo and Piercing Industry Union (TPIU) is constantly working with government ministers and environmental health services to ensure that the tattoo industry standards are maintained, constantly scrutinized and where necessary improved. We are continuing our efforts to educate the public on the dangers of poorly executed tattoos and the possible health implications of using unlicensed practitioners.