Tattoo artist Miles Monaghan reflects upon the experience of doing his first ever tattoo 16 years ago.
"When I did my first tattoo, I was 13 and had just watched the documentary The Vanishing Tattoo, with Thomas Lockhart"
"I had previously seen tattoos on people here and there, my neighbour was an old war vet with tattoos all over and most of the guys in the bands I liked were tattooed. So I decided it was time to get tattooed..."
"I decided it was time to get tattooed"
"...Thomas had been tattooed by the Iban Headhunters of Borneo in the documentary, all by hand with no electricity. I had a small wall hanging in my room, made of beads and bits but it had a sea urchins spine on it, I used that as a grip. I tied a sewing needle to the end where I had screwed a picture in, making an L shape. With a small bottle of blue Parker ink that I took from my Dad's office, I decided I was going to do a 5 pointed star on my leg. I drew it on very poorly with a marker and using a wooden incense burner, tapped it into my leg. After a few knocks I decided it wasn't really working and decided to just push it in. It worked much better."
"All these years later, it feels pretty surreal to think it all started in my bedroom as a young child"
"Unfortunately, in my heist of wanting to be tattooed I covered what was left of that first tattoo. It lasted a week or so before it mostly vanishing. The sentimental part of me wishes I still had it."
"At that point, I knew I wanted to have lots of tattoos and it was the first time I thought about being a tattooer. All these years later, after 10 years tattooing, working around the world and opening my own shop, it feels pretty surreal to think it all started in my bedroom as a young child."
16 years on, Miles is the owner of Dharma Tattoo in London.