Blotting out the shame of offensive tats

Mike and Chris Burwin of Alchemy Tattoo Studio

Mike and Chris Burwin of Alchemy Tattoo Studio

A Wigan tattoo parlour is to offer free cover-ups to combat the “stigma and shame” of offensive body art.

Alchemy Tattoo Studio in Wallgate wants to help people get rid of permanent reminders of a past they’d rather forget.

Swastikas, gang, murder and rape symbols and many more offensive tattoos will be masked by new, custom-designed art by one of Alchemy’s five artists: Chris and Mike Burwin, who own the shop, Adam, Kev and Roxy.

Shop manager James said the idea for a “tattoo amnesty” came about after noticing one of their customers had a swastika tattoo, and offered to cover it for him free of charge.

“Some people make bad life choices, and sometimes people change their minds about tattoos,” he said. “They might have gone down the wrong path in life. If you want a tattoo changed, we’ll do it.”

He added that the artists thought such a project was relevant at the current time.

Indeed, global tensions have risen in the wake of Donald Trump’s rush of controversial executive orders, including visa bans on several Muslim countries and his infamous Mexican border wall. And this has mirrored a surge in nationalism and hostility to immigrants in other parts of the world too.

James thought it was important to end these deep global divisions in any way possible. Life’s too short for hate,” he said.

He claimed they also want to help end any misconceptions about the tattooed community.

“There’s a lot of stigma about tattoos, and there’s still this sort of idea of aggression. But everybody has them now, and it’s turning the corner.

“I think everybody has their own reason for getting one, but it’s really just about expression.”