Keiko from Wales, UK
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Worthing, West Sussex, England.
How was it growing up there, would you say that it influenced you?
Growing up in Worthing was awesome because it’s right by the sea which was amazing. I also travelled a lot throughout my childhood. I flew to Germany when I was just 3 months old and America when I was 6 months. This travelling continued through all my life. I feel travelling around and exploring new countries from a very young age made me a lot more open minded and influenced me in a positive way. I love exploring new cultures and countries and their traditions, I feel this is reflected within my tattoos.
When did you start getting tattoos?
I started getting tattooed when I was 18.
How would you describe your style?
My style varies from punk, to high fashion, to ghetto! I love all saints clothing as well as chucking on a hardcore band top and some shiny black leggings. I have ever changing hair colour too!
Do you consider tattoos as a serious art form?
I definitely do. I think tattoos (done well) are an amazing art form and there is the pressure too there (from the artist) to make it an outstanding piece, because that person will be carrying the tattoo on them the rest of their life. There are some amazingly talented tattoo artists out there whose work is incredible and therefore I feel their work should be considered a serious art form.
How do you see the tattoo culture right now?
Tattoos seem to be everywhere from adverts on TV to celebs. This obviously has made (some) people get tattoos for the wrong reasons, i.e. when Cheryl Cole got tribal on her hand hundreds of 18 year old girls got the same without even thinking of the potential consequences of having a hand tattoo. Also there are a lot more ‘artists’ out there who do not follow the correct hygiene procedures and buy kits from eBay and tattoo their friends from home. Not only is this poor practice but it is also extremely unsafe, this therefore makes me despise how publicized and ‘fashionable’ tattoos are.
But on the other hand it makes it better for me as a model, because I now get more work than I used to because people consider tattoos fashionable. Whereas before if you had one small tattoo it would be very hard to get any modeling work. Also tattoos are slowly being looked upon in a more positive light. Being female and being heavily tattooed used to be an issue for me but it seems like it’s a lot more accepted now.
What has been your inspiration for getting them?
My inspiration varies for my tattoos. I have a tattoo of my Grandmother on my thigh which is a portrait of her from the 1940s when she was a pin up model; it is in memory of her as she was such an amazing woman. Animals inspire me a lot as well, I have quite a few of them on me! But there is no particular person who inspires me to get tattooed.
What’s your favorite piece?
My favorite piece is my grandmother because it is so perfectly done by such an incredible and respected artist (Jason Butcher, Immortal Ink).
Do you catch people starring at you because of your ink?
I find people stare at me a lot yes! But I just ignore it now! Sometimes people say positive things about them though which is nice!
In your opinion, do your tattoos change your mood often?
Change my mood? No I don’t think so!!
What’s your most significant tattoo and why?
My most significant tattoo is my cat tattoo on my leg, because it is in memory of my cat Felix. My cat saved my life when I was 12 years old, we had a huge house fire and no fire alarm and my cat sat outside my bedroom window meowing until I eventually woke up. I was told by the hospital I only had another half an hour to live because of all of the smoke in my lungs, so if it wasn’t for my cat waking me up I would be dead.
What’s your next tattoo?
My next tattoo is extending my sleeve; I am going to get a lizard and some other rainforest creatures. Also I am going to get my back finished off.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to get their first tattoo?
I would say think long and hard about it, also research your artist. Find someone who does the style you like. Don’t just go by how close they are/how soon they can book you in. Some of my best tattoos I travelled miles and waited months to get them but that’s because they are amazing artists and very booked up! There is a reason that certain tattoo studios have walk in appointments and flash on the walls…. They aren't any good!
What’s your biggest inspiration, what keeps you going?
My biggest inspirations are my friends and family, their strength keeps me strong and keeps me going.
What is one thing that life has taught you?
Life has taught me to never take anything or anyone for granted, and no matter how low you are it will always get better. Also, to concentrate on the positives in your life, not the negatives.
Will you be getting anymore?
Yes of course!
Do you have a favorite quote?
“Friendships that can cease were never true”, which is tattooed on my back.
Anything else you would like to add?
Yeah, get tattooed by Tiny Miss Becca at Jayne Doe, she’s incredible.
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