Saturday 31 January 2015

A new generation of mums is breaking the... Tattoo taboo

There's no 'regretting it when you grow up' if you get inked in your 40s, writes Chrissie Russell

Celebrity ink: Angelina Jolie (right) is a fan of tattoos. Left: Kate Moss has a £1m bird tattoo
Dragon tattoo: Caroline Burrell with her children Christopher and Eve
Spider: Children think Kathleen Hogg’s tattoo is cool

For generations, mothers have been advising their daughters not to get tattoos because they'll regret them when they're older.

But now it's the mums who are the ones likely to get inked.

It's one solution to the 'regret it when you're older' debate, waiting until you've notched up a few major birthdays, then celebrating your maturity with an inky act of rebellion.

Mum-of-one Kate Moss has revealed she'd had a £1m tattoo done by celebrity artist Lucian Freud.

The 38-year-old has two tiny swallows, hand-drawn by Freud, an artistic expression now reckoned to be valued in the millions since the artist's death last year.

Of course, Moss, who was also painted in the nude while pregnant by Freud, is easily given to rebellion. But even non-hell-raiser mums are getting in on the act.

Actress Felicity Kendal (66) recently declared that, after a certain age, botox just looks "silly" but tattoos are ideal for pensioners looking to channel their youthful rock chick.

Inspired by Kendal, Strictly Come Dancing contestant Fern Britton (53) got two butterfly tattoos done on her tummy.

"It's Felicity Kendal's fault," she laughed. "I read about hers and thought 'why not?'"

British aristocrat Lady Judy Steel, wife of the former Liberal Democrat leader Lord Steel, outdid everyone by celebrating her 70th birthday with a pink jaguar tattoo emblazoned on her shoulder.

"I get people telling me it's their midlife crisis," says tattoo artist Joel Tamsalu at Ata Tattoo in Wicklow town. "They say it's either a tattoo or a sports car."

But even if it's not done by one of the greatest artists of the 20th century, Joel still believes that for less than €100, customers are getting a piece of art.

"It's like an investment in a piece of art or jewellery you never have to take off," he says.

"You can get something really unique to you, that no one else has, without spending the earth."

"Now it's more acceptable to have a tattoo and standards have improved. Tattoo artists have often graduated from art college and customers can come in and discuss what they want, they can be involved in the experience and make it personal to them instead of just picking something off a wall."

Fran Hartnett from Zulu tattoo in Dublin city centre agrees with Joel's observation.

"There's definitely more women getting inked these days," he says. "I think about 60pc of our customers are women and I'd say 25pc of those would be 40-plus." Reasons for where and what women are getting inked depend on the individual but it's often something of personal significance.

Irish Independent

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