Your Ink: Staying Sharp

Your Ink: Staying Sharp

Previous client stories have included Lainey & The Bard, and Binky & The Bird. This week, I catch up with tattoo collector Haylie (from Newbury, Berkshire) and hear all about her tattoo journey so far, and how her ink makes her stay sharp.

I’m Haylie, 22, I think of myself as a tattoo collector. When I’m not at work I’m normally out and about in all different kind of places. I love spending my spare time in cites, visiting a few cocktail bars along the way. I’ve always been a keen photographer so anywhere that’s slightly unorthodox, I’m there. I have also been going along to a fair few gigs too which is always a good way to spend a saturday night. Music wise I love lots of things, from Black Sabbath to Lana Del Rey.

We love your ink! When did you start off?

So I started off getting tattoos at 16… I blame the influence of my older two sisters who were covered by the age of 20. I hate to admit it, but half of my tattoos (I currently have 15) were actually done before I hit the age of 18. I suppose that means that the main stories behind them are teenage rebellion and fashion! Despite that, I don’t regret a single one, they all represent who I am.

When I was 17, I got my first real big project, a set of angel wings down my back, covering from my shoulders to my hips. I love the idea of being a free bird – actually, I have a fair amount of birds tattoos, mainly swallows. The message that means something to me, is being liberated but still grounded. My favourite song is Lynyrd Skynyrd – Free Bird, and yes, of course I have the lyrics tattooed on my arm!

I have my thighs done too and they are my favourite tattoos. My sister designed the one on my left which is a lady in a frame – I love the 1920s look. On my right, is my barber which has got a lot of meaning as its what I do for a living. The tattoo is inspired by 1920s style of barbering and with “Stay Sharp” written underneath. It’s such a good phrase that I definitely live my life by. I’m even tempted to get it tattooed on my knuckles but I think my mother would kill me!

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The other favourite of mine would be my gypsy lady on my ribs – definitely worth the hours of pain. I have gypsy blood in my family and I love that culture… I’m so proud of this tattoo.

What’s your favourite style of tattoo?

Definitely old school, without a doubt. I love colour but I’ve kind of built a theme of black and grey so i’m sticking with that.

What do you love most about tattoos?

I love the fact that they are all different. Not all are symbolic, some are just simply just spontaneous. I don’t take them (or myself!) too seriously, I’m just doing what I think looks good regardless of what anyone thinks.

Anything you don’t love about tattoos?

The only thing I would change about some of mine, is the quality, especially my first few. I will eventually, its just like that leaking tap that you never get around to fixing. It doesn’t bother me that much and i’m spending my dollars on getting new ones instead.

Can you show them at work?

I’m lucky that I can – it’s part of being a stylist, showing your style. I hope the day comes when anyone can show their tattoos, no matter what they do. Tattoos don’t define you, they celebrate you.

Some of my clients love them and some don’t – everyone is entitled to their opinion. I always get asked “what are you going to do while you’re older?” and my reply is always the same “I’ll still be getting tattooed!”.

Do you have any plans for any future work soon?

My plan is to get a sleeve, I’m feeling brave and I’m running out of room anywhere else! I am just waiting to find the right design that I’m still going to love in 50 years time.

Where do you find your inspiration?

Inspiration comes from anywhere, usually something I’ve seen or heard. I just have an idea in my head and go with it. Artist wise, I love Old-School, Sailor Jerry and Lyle Tuttle.

Got any tips for anyone wanting to get their first tattoo?

My tip would be to pay more! Don’t be tight, its going to be with you for the rest of your life and the more you pay the better quality.