Eddies Tattoos Cookstown 




I recently caught up with a long time  friend of mine, Eddie Graham, who has been a professional tattoo artist for a few years now. I asked Eddie to do an interview with me, and he graciously accepted. I thought that his insight and experience would be beneficial to readers who might be considering the profession of tattooing, or even those who are just curious about what a tattooist thinks about his job. I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I enjoyed talking with Eddie. 




"I've been tattooing professionally for over 10 years now."  

"I put a few home made tattoos on myself and some friends when I was younger, but got my first professional tattoo on while still at school. It was an eagle design. I had heard it hurt real bad and so was all pumped up for it, but after he got started I thought 'this isn't bad at all'. After that, it was every time I could afford a tattoo I was there. By the way, let me say I got all my first tattoos from Sailor Bill Peartree (Coleraine). Anyway it seemed like he really enjoyed what he was doing and I was fascinated by the whole thing... the environment, smell, artwork....everything! 


"I love it even more now than when I first started. The business has evolved so much in the last 10 years, with the infusion of new talent, that every day is still a challenge and an adventure."

"This may sound funny, but it's the people. I get such a wide variety of people...Some of them are more interesting than others but all have a story...the path that led them to...getting a tattoo. Those stories are interesting to me. But, I also have to say that executing the design the customer wants is a part I enjoy also because it's a challenge." 


"It used to be the perception that the only people that got on tattoos were freaks, rebels and bikers. Those were only the visible ones. There were many other people from other walks of life getting tattooed only they didn't show them. Now, with the mainstreaming of tattooing many of these people now get tattooed in areas that are visible and many people who wouldn't get a tattoo before are getting them. Thank the mass media for that!"  

:" As far as tattoo artists go, I would have to say Sailor Bill Peartree (Coleraine)  was probably the first artist to impress me; all black and grey work, which at times is more striking than colour. Black work also tends to stand up better in the skin over longer periods of time. Bill (Peartree) was in my opinion the best tattoo artist in the world. His use of line and colour and the scale of his pieces .....  when I first started out and his work has been the yardstick I measure the proficiency of my work by. There are many artists out there now, too many to name who are so talented that one has to keep on his toes to not get left behind." 


 "If you ever wanted to start your own tattoo business the only recommendation I could make would be to find a reputable artist and try to get him or her to apprentice you. It may seem old fashioned, but in my opinion is the only right way to learn. And beware!! If the artist that teaches you does lousy work , so will you, and bad habits are harder to unlearn than learning from scratch!"


"I think hackers and scratchers will always be there just like the lousy car mechanics and rip off lawyers; just a part of the business you have to put up with. In a sense, they’re good because sooner or later someone that gets tattooed by one of them will want it fixed. But...some never get them fixed and some are unfixable. The people with those tattoos will always think and talk badly of their experience."  

"Unfortunately, this does have a bad reflection on the whole business. Most people will realize it was the artist, but some will just be down on all tattoos because of their bad experience. That number is lessening though due to the fact that with the popularity of tattooing the public is more educated, and most don't just walk into a strange shop and offer up their skin like in the old days." 


"I think tattooing it will always be around in some form or another. The popularity may decline but there will always be a certain segment of the population .....who feel a need to be marked. The designs and styles will evolve with popular culture although it seems cyclical; a lot of the old designs are in vogue now, just like fashion." 

"I think to a certain extent tattooing has been accepted as an art. I don’t mean will there ever be a Hardy or a Beckerman hanging in the Museum, no I don't think so." 

"In 10 years time I can still see myself tattooing, I'll be tattooing as long as my health, eyes and hands hold out." 


"If you're looking for a quick pound, look elsewhere. This business requires a lot of dedication and long hours. Also, if the artist doesn't love what they're doing it shows in the work. the most likely candidates are those with a love of the art, and the time and patience to learn properly." 

"I’d also just like to add  that if someone is looking to get their first tattoo, to do their homework! Make sure they go to a reputable studio and that all re-usable instruments are autoclaved and packaged in individual sterile pouches." 

"Of course. I do need to mention though, that the cleanest, most talented artist in the world can only put the tattoo on. It's up to the client to follow the directions given to them for the after care of their tattoo if they want it to heal quickly and be as bright as possible." 


"I currently have my studio in Cookstown", Eddies Tattoos, 4 Molesworth Street, Cookstown, Co. Tyrone, Northern Ireland, BT80 8NX 

Telephone 07912024548

Website www.eddiestattoos.co.uk




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