Tattoo Artists and Art

Hand-poked boob mandala tattoos (contains nudity)

Introductory note: as I will explain below I have absolutely NO idea what the rules are around my sharing of these images online (or subsequently how long they will stay up for) but I feel so passionate about sharing this that, quite frankly, I couldn’t give a shit.

Hand-poke mandala tattoos by Lydia Amor

Hand-poked mandala tattoos by Lydia Amor

I kept changing my mind about whether I should create this blog or not.

As a tattoo blogger, talking about my own tattoo motivations and experiences has become second nature.

This is what I do.

Originally, I didn’t even consider for a second not sharing this recent one but for some reason, right now, I feel like I should be hesitating about posting photos of my lady bits all over the internet. So, why do I feel this way?

Lack of information on the internet about blog nudity guidelines, unspoken opinions from friends who were a little taken-aback that I posted this tattoo on Instagram… there are a list of reasons as to why, now, as I sit here, with my fingers quivering over this keyboard.

Let’s sidetrack and talk about nipples for a quick moment.

Any tattoo artist who has ever created a piece of art on a woman’s chest will understand how difficult it is to share that tattoo publicly because of social media policies that ban images of the female nipple. I blogged about this recently and have loved the creative attempts of some to challenge these rules – one tattoo collector I know covers her female nipple with a small photo of a male nipple which then passes the photo-sharing platform’s guidelines.

Win.

The more I began to think about these structures, these rules that exist for sharing our bodies online, and the more my own feelings of anxiousness about this blog grew, I suddenly reached a conclusion that was confident, a state of mind that was fierce, a contemplation on these two tattoos that explained how I really felt.

I’d love to share that with you…

Hand-poke mandala tattoos by Lydia Amor

Hand-poked mandala tattoos by Lydia Amor

This is me.

This is the body I was born with. The body that my parents gave me, that flesh and bones my mother carried in her womb for nine months. A body that will one day feed its own creations but ultimately, perish.

I celebrate this structure. It is, after all… just skin, just stuff. A vessel that transports something much heavier – a carrier for my emotions, my experiences, my tattoos.

What I choose to do with it, actually, matters not. I am not, and never will be, what you choose to see me as. I am not a reflection of your own opinions and anxieties. My anatomy is not a sexual object. I OWN it. It doesn’t belong to my partner, I doesn’t belong to the internet, I belong to myself. These are my molecules.

I don’t share these intimate tattoo moments out of vanity or a desire to be seen. Not for any reason other than that this fire burns inside me and I have no choice but to let it out. It’s something that I even struggle to put into coherent words here. For me, only Lydia’s designs will suffice in representing this feeling.

Life is too short for me to feel embarrassed, worried or paranoid about what anyone thinks of my physical form. We all know we’ve spent too many adolescent hours with those thoughts. The world has so much more to give than that.

This tattoo says: this is me. I am here, in my mould and I am beautiful.

Hand-poke mandala tattoos by Lydia Amor

Hand-poked mandala tattoos by Lydia Amor

I can completely understand why getting a tattoo of this kind would be a difficult decision for many women, but from the moment I decided to get it, almost a year ago now, I felt nothing but comfortable, excited and emotionally prepared.

Leicester-based hand-poke tattooist Lydia Amor has tattooed many a boob, and her dot-work is stunning. When she posted his first ever female chest tattoo, I knew that I wanted to adorn my own front with her perfectly symmetrical work.

As a regular Inkluded guest blogger and someone who has tattooed me before, I already had a relationship with Lydia and I feel very relaxed around her – I think this is super important for a tattoo of this kind. Lydia is never judgemental and is a very open, calm and patient person. This made this experience nothing but easy and momentous in a completely positive way. The pain was exceptionally minimal and I can see why Lydia has had clients fall asleep on her before – she just radiates good, peaceful vibes, as does her tattooing environment.

Stencil ready! Lydia Amor is based in Leicester, UK

Stencil ready! Lydia Amor is based in Leicester, UK

I started to blog about tattoos years ago because I felt that there was so much going on there, in the whole tattooing ritual – it’s not just about the tattoo you leave with at the end. If any tattoo has encompassed and re-embraced this original concept that I desired to explore, it is this one.

If you are considering getting a tattoo of this kind, I couldn’t recommend it enough, and this artist in particular to create this ritualistic moment for you. I think finding the right person to spend that time with is vital and often even life-changing.

All that is left to say is – receiving these gifts was one of the most beautiful tattoo experiences of my life.

Now that my ramblings are over, I’ll let Lydia have her say and tell you a little bit more about this process from her point of view.

Hand-poke tattoo by Lydia Amor

Hand-poke tattoo by Lydia Amor

For anyone that doesn’t know your work already, what is hand-poke tattooing?

Hand-poke tattooing is the method I use to push pigment/ink into skin. Where other artists would use an electric machine to power a needle up and down into the skin, I push the needle with solely my hand.

Most people find the experience relaxing and often therapeutic, rather than intensely painful (agreed! – Beccy).

Boobs 5

How many gorgeous boobies have you tattooed so far, then?

I have tattooed three ‘pairs’ of boobs before Beccy’s, and also other areas perhaps regarded as sensitive, such as the stomach and palms. Most people I tattoo in these areas have found that having these sensitive body parts tattooed by hand reduces the amount of discomfort they feel, as it’s a very gentle process.

What are some of the challenges designing a tattoo for this area?

When designing tattoos for boobs there are a few challenges that arise during the process. I usually get people in for a consultation beforehand to map out their anatomy, but sometimes this isn’t possible if a client is travelling to get tattooed.

I have to really take into account the way each person’s boob looks, as the designs often sit around the nipple/areola. I also have to bear in mind how big the design will be, versus the size of the actual breast. Most people want the design to sit very central and evenly, especially if done in a pair. However we all know that most boobs aren’t the same size or shape! This means that I usually make multiple designs for the day of tattooing, with varying sizes and nipple ‘holes’ in the centre.

Why do you think people get this area tattooed?

Out of the now four women I have tattooed in this area, all say that it has boosted their confidence hugely! Two of the four women came to me at the very start of the process with really negative views of their bodies. As we all know, this is something most people, especially women, experience a lot. We are constantly fed unreal beauty ideals from all forms of media and for years this has effected each of us.

I believe that tattooing the areas we dislike can really flip around the way we feel, as you can take true and total ownership of the way that part of your body looks. As soon as the tattoos are finished I can instantly see how much the tattoos really mean to each woman. That is the most amazing part of the process.

Tattooing these pieces really make me feel empowered – that somebody can totally trust me with such a personal area is amazing. It’s also amazing as I love the way each piece looks. They are some of the most enjoyable pieces for me to do.

The whole journey from start to finish is thoroughly enjoyable. Being a part of each woman’s journey to self-love is INCREDIBLE.

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