ANDY EDGEWORTH - Tattoo be or not tattoo be

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I AM currently researching some art work for my body. Yes I do mean a tattoo - well actually quite a few together.

I already have a very small one but I’ve decided I’d like more.

Tattoos are more commonplace than ever and it is more socially acceptable than ever to have one. Police officers, social workers and almost anybody else can be seen with them these days, whereas 50 years ago it was the preserve of those in the merchant navy and longshoreman.

Stereotypes aside, there is definitely a social stigma attached to visible tattoos in the workplace in the UK and you often read Daily Mail surveys telling you as much.

However, the times are ‘a changin’ as Bob Dylan said and in some parts of the world they seem to carry less of a stigma than they do in the UK.

Recently I met up with a friend in London who had spent the last few years living in Vancouver, Canada. She said that the Canadian attitude to tattoos is far more liberal than our own and that it was not uncommon to find young women sporting full sleeve tattoos openly in offices or other places of work. She said she considered one herself, but upon returning to London she felt she may be made to feel socially awkward with one in a place of work.

I also previously worked alongside a press photographer who had a secret that few were ever party to. Having worked with him for about two years on a daily basis he one day let me into a secret.

His whole torso is a tattoo. It stopped at his shirt sleeves so nobody could see it, but when he showed me it was a masterpiece. The only thing I could compare it to was the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. He had spent hours on end being turned into a muse by a friend of his (a world famous artist) so he could be shown at conventions across the world, yet very rarely told anybody.

And it is this issue that still sits ingrained within us. I would like to think I don’t really conform to too many social norms but in essence we all do and I am no different. When I get my tattoo work done I know that I’ll be able to cover it up at work and that was always in my head when I planned it. I suppose it is just a sign of the age we live in, and perhaps in another 50 years we will all be walking about with tattoos on our faces?

Each to their own I say and good luck to them.