by prophecy / How to Tattoo / 0 Comments
As I pulled up in the carpark in Albion, I could feel a hint of nerves. I felt like a rookie- it was really only the second time I’ve filmed and this time I was extremely intimated by the environment I was about to walk into- a tattoo parlour where I also felt I was a rookie- a completely clean skinned rookie. I’d barely stepped foot in a tattoo shop before let alone filmed in one.
I have personally known Justin for a couple years now yet had been privy to years of stories and comments about this guy ‘’Smeethy’’ from my brother and dad. They had painted pretty high standards of expectations and I was beginning to wonder how cracked up this Smeethy guy really could be. All I knew was that he was the one to blame for all of my brothers tattoos (The Simpsons tattooed on his thigh, for an example), until one day I came face to face with Justin Smeeth. Within the first two seconds of meeting Justin, I knew the rumours were true- a great, genuine guy. At first, all I noticed were tattoos. Once upon a time this would of completely intimated me but now in popular culture tattoos are becoming the norm. Always intrigued by tattoos and general human nature I went to Smeethy for a first hand insight into how tattooing becomes an art.
I think a stereotype of ‘’thug’’ still exists in relation to tattoos in society. In recent years I have changed my own perception of people with tattoos- no longer is it black-toothed men with rats tails and leather jackets that I used to nervously stare at on the street corner – I now see tattooing as a form of art and therapy and this is thanks to Smeethy. Sure, there are still people out there who get tattoos for fun or some tongue in cheek but there’s also a realness and emotion that lies beneath the ink etched into someones skin. I saw this first hand the day I interviewed Smeethy.
After setting up my gear, we chatted about life. He had just begun a portrait on a ladies arm- Vanessa. Hours went by and the transformation of the portrait and emotion was amazing. After a long day, he was still happy to go on with the interview and completely open to conversation. I had a blank canvas of my own. Smeethy was honest, and willing to talk and I had the answers to questions I never thought i’d get the opportunity to ask.
The interview concluded and I said my thanks and goodbyes. I walked out of the Shinko Tattoo shop completely content and not because I had my assignment finished. I was content because I saw first hand the realness to a person who I would’ve once stereotyped. Smeethy’s interview left me grateful and appreciative of tattooing as and art and people- particularly those you may walk by on the street and instantly stereotype and never think of again. I learnt three lessons that day: 1- We all have a story and some of us wear it on our sleeve, literally; 2- yes Smeethy is a great guy and one who i’ve grown to admire and appreciate; 3- there’s more to art than a Picasso painting, art is life told through different mediums and a road to ones happiness.
Tags: art, Brisbane, TATTOO
Original at Vimeo