We've recently had tattoo artist Kevin Paul talk about his art and career.
He also talked about the tattoo scene in the UK and how intent he is on reforming tattoo laws in Britain. Through him, we've had a larger perspective on how the tattoo scene still calls for betterment in an age of innovations and breakthroughs. Boo sure is quite lucky to work with him. We'll let the man himself take over from here.
On the Contemporary Tattoo Scene I think in this day and age, with how big tattooing has become, laws need to be updated. It was okay years ago, not many people was getting tattooed and hardly anybody wanted to be a tattooist. When I went to the head office of environmental health to talk about this, the last time anything had been up dated was 1982. That's shocking. The local council are putting up the rates for new studios opening so why have the laws not been updated to?
On What's Stopping Him I think the only reason [it is that way] I don't have the time to keep pushing them on my own. In three months, I got a big story in every national paper, on most news shows on TV, and Radio 1 and Capital Radio to all help and run a story on this. It was going really well. I even got the Prime Minister to say on radio [how] he would like talk to me about it. But I have a family to support and a studio to run, there's only so much time I can give this.
I tried to get other tattooists to help, but I think it was just an ego thing [for them] and they didn't like me being the face of it. I was really disappointed in the industry. Really, everybody wants a safer way of tattooing and to stop the dodgy untrained hacking away at people, but nobody wants to do anything about it. Well, apart from me, that is.
The Progress So Far and What Needs to Be Done The progress has been good as I just said. I think they will be up for new [tattoo] laws. I'm sure of it. It just needs driving home now to the final part. I just need the industry to back me up [and] to make the impact it needs. All I want to see done is, everything has to have insurance, clinical waste [regulations], autoclave [requirements], and a set standard with the studio rooms need to be in. And the health department needs more laws to enter unregistered tattooists' properties. If you don't follow the, rules you [need to] get big fines or prison time. It should just be like driving a car. [The way they think about it,] why would [they] pay all that money out to do it the right way when they can get away with not doing it and just make money at home? It's not right. I have had to do it, so should everybody [else].
What Does it Take to Be a Qualified Tattoo Artist? It's hard to say what is qualified as a tattooist. I suppose it's down to the finished tattoo when it's healed. I know tattooists who have been tattooing for twenty years and [yet] still don't have a clue what they're doing, and then I have seen people [tattooing] for only a year doing amazing work. It's really to hard to say. But working under a good artist for at least a year or two would help.
Outro Well, I'm still working with the Parliament on changes and have a good link with them now. I'm just really short of free time, but if we did it as an industry and all worked together on it, this could really happen. I'm sure of it. It just needs to be about making things better for the industry and not about egos because I really think in a year or two, it will be fucked for everybody else. I know most studios are finding it hard as it is. Things need to be changed now before it's too late.