The Version Interview... Glen from E4's Tattoo Fixers on Holiday.
The Tattoo Fixers have been joined by a newbie, Glen, who hooked up with the gang just in time to jet off to the Med to film the new series, Tattoo Fixers in Holiday. Nice work, if you can get it. We caught up with Glen to get the lowdown on what it’s like to be part of the nation’s hottest show.
Explain a little bit about yourself. Who are you, Glen?
Well, I’m from Surrey, and I’ve got a studio over there. I’ve been tattooing now for five years – some of it in the UK, some of it abroad as well. I was an electrician before that, I did that for seven years before I got into tattooing.
What made you switch?
To be honest with you, I hated being an electrician, and I saw a lot of people around me who didn’t enjoy their work, day-to-day. I sat myself down and thought that I needed to make a change. So I went travelling to America for three months, and while I was out there I got chatting to someone, and they said to me “When you get home, you need to make a change and start learning how to tattoo.” So I did, and just went from there.
Now you’re a part of Tattoo Fixers. Had you seen the show much, and what was it that made you want to do it?
I’d watched quite a few episodes. I never imagined myself doing it, I never felt like “I need to be doing that,” but I think that when I got asked to do it, I thought it would be a great opportunity to progress as an artist. I’m really driven by that, and I knew that it would be such a big challenge, and would do good things for my career, in terms of progressing. Every cover up that you do has got its own challenges, so that was my main motivation, to be honest.
Why do you think they approached you to do it?
I’ve got no idea. I was obviously flattered when they asked, but I really don’t know what their reason was. But I’m glad they did.
You were joining an established group of people. How did you all get on, and how was it being the newbie?
To be honest, I found it really easy. I knew that the guys were really close, so there was an element of that being a little bit worrying, but as soon as I met them I clicked straight away with all of them. They’re such a welcoming lot, and it was really nice to be working alongside people like that.
The show is Tattoo Fixers on Holiday. For those who haven’t seen it, how does it differ from the usual show?
I think it gives a bit more insight into us and our personalities as well. That’s nice for me, being the new artist, because it’ll help people to get to know my personality a bit quicker. And obviously, being on holiday is why most of these people got their tattoos done in the first place. They got stupid tattoos on holiday and now they need it sorted out.
What would you say to people planning on having a tattoo done on holiday?
I’ve met a lot of people who have had tattoos done on holiday, and I think that’s absolutely fine, there’s nothing wrong with it at all, as long as you’re not drunk, and you’ve made an educated decision with the artist and your design ideas. There’s no issue with getting tattoos done on holiday, it’s the decisions made alongside that that are wrong.
Do you ever try and talk people out of having tattoos?
Um… that’s a difficult question. I wouldn’t talk someone out of getting a tattoo, I’d just try to educate them as much as I can. Once I’ve educated someone as much as I can, it’s such a personal thing, and everyone’s got their own reason why they want to get a tattoo done. There’s only so much we can do as an artist, but we’ve obviously got a duty of care. As long as I feel comfortable that we’ve discussed it enough, and I’ve educated the person enough, then I don’t talk people out of tattoos, because it’s not my place to do so.
What’s the moment like on the show, when someone is about to reveal to you the awful tattoo they need covered up?
I think t’s quite exciting. I thought I’d seen bad tattoos until I joined the show, and then I realised how crazy some of these things are that people get. You literally don’t know what to expect. So that’s always good. I find that bit quite exciting.
What’s the worst tattoo you’ve ever seen?
The worst I’ve seen was while we were away filming. A lad had a huge brown rabbit on his back, and the rabbit was… it had a massive boner. It was wanking, to be honest. I don’t know how else to explain it. It was huge, and it was on his back. It was horrendous.
How long does a really big job take?
Every single tattoo can differ in time. It’s so hard to put a time on it, there are so many factors involved. It can be how the client is sitting, if they’re not sitting well it can take longer. Different body parts can take longer. Different designs. There’s no real generalisation there.
What’s the longest job you’ve done?
I’ve done about 11 hours, that’s probably the longest I’ve done. It was a long one. It was his first tattoo as well. And it was on his ribs, which is a really tough place to get tattooed.
Do you noticed a huge variation in how good people are with pain?
Yeah. Girls are normally better than boys. 100 per cent. Girls take pain a lot better than boys. And you’ll notice as well that the larger lads, if you et a lad who comes in that’s really muscly, a big strong bloke, they’re normally the ones that sit the worst. The lads that are small and skinny sit a lot better, as a rule.
Did you manage to get any downtime while you were away filming? How did you spend it?
Yeah, we had a few days off. We worked hard, but we did have a few days off. I spent most of my time on the beach, getting a nice tan and chilling out. It was nice – obviously tattooing as hard work, so when we had some time off, it was nice just to chill out with the other artists.
Tattoo Fixers on Holiday is on E4, Tuesdays at 9pm.