Next month I will be off to visit the incredible Hannya Jayne and get a new tattoo from her (plus mandatory food, gossiping and hugs).
Booking my appointment has made me realise that it’s been well over a year since I got my first tattoo from her – at the Tattoo Jam convention in 2015… seriously, WHERE has the time gone?!
It suddenly reminded me of the significance of that tattoo, which brought me strength at a difficult time. So, as I count down the days (27) to my next HJ tattoo, I thought it an appropriate moment to share that story with you guys.
The below was first published in Skin Deep in 2015 – Issue 256.
To say that I wasn’t in the right frame of mind to appreciate a tattoo convention this weekend is somewhat of an understatement.
You know what it’s like when you’re just having one of those weeks? You know the kind I mean. It seemed like, recently, the powers of the universe were determined to make me re-evaluate my position in this industry as a writer. Studio and artist conflicts, cold media individuals, unnecessary brand competition, silly industry politics… you get the picture. The attitudes of others were testing my patience – it seemed that someone, somewhere, was launching challenges my way and wanting to know how I’d deal with them.
I have always stubbornly believed that my naivety and innocence in the big bad tattoo world could manifest itself into some sort of positive movement that extends beyond any industry politics or cliques (cliques that I never have been, and never will be, part of). One day will we stop looking back and all completely face forward together?
That week, a tattoo artist friend had said to me, “it’s just that kind of industry, you know, you can never be friends with everyone.” Yet, within the first ten minutes of walking around Tattoo Jam on this sunny weekend in August, my faith was restored in the existence of a community where everyone is friends. Maybe outside we could partake in argument and competition, but here, for three days straight, we can lock ourselves behind the glass doors of Doncaster Racecourse and humour the notion of a world with no drama.
I was riding this train of thought when I walked past the booth of tattoo artist Hannya Jayne. I’ve interviewed Hannya before and I’m always sharing how much I admire both her lovely work, and lovely personality. As we exchanged hellos, I glanced down at her designs. There it was, poking out from under a sheet of paper… a little red heart that caught my eye.
Jagged lines that didn’t meet, crazy splodges of colour – this abstract, unsymmetrical, unpredictable shape (in Hannya’s recognisable style) was exactly how a heart should be drawn. Love (for a person, or for our jobs) doesn’t always make sense, isn’t always perfect, but it’s always there.
Like many of the artists I have been tattooed by (and written about) before, Hannya’s attitude towards the people she tattoos shines through as something special. You can’t spend time with her and not leave with a grin on your face. It’s one thing to leave a studio with a beautiful new tattoo… it’s another to leave with a beautiful tattoo and a newfound awareness. An awareness of a community of people trying to spread love and kindness in an industry that can (like any other) play host to negative vibes.
This spontaneous heart-shaped tattoo would become a symbol that would remind me of people like Hannya and her strong stance. A stance that I would mimic during weeks like the one I had just experienced – a head held high, a big smile, warmness for others and a love for what I do that would be not be disheartened by any external factors.
I walked away from Hannya’s booth, and the convention, with an open wound, open eyes, and an open heart.
Words: Beccy Rimmer
Photos: Hannya Jayne and Sam Berry