TATTOOS are more than just skin deep.
So says Beccy Rimmer who has just been named Arts and Culture winner at the prestigious UK Blog Awards for her blog Inkluded.
Beccy, who is not a tattooist herself but a digital marketer, began her blog two years ago after deciding to combine two of her biggest passions, writing and tattoos.
The dedicated blogger, whose own skin plays host to 40 tattoos, explained: “I launched Inkluded as I felt there was a real need for it – a place for people to find information about tattoos. Inkluded aims to make people feel part of the tattoo scene, give them useful tips, advice and inspiration.”
The blog covers everything related to tattoo culture, from its sacred and historical links to its meaning and value to people today.
There are some for whom tattoos are a spiritual ritual, she told The Observer.
She said: “There’s a chap from the UK who writes regularly for us. He is getting one tattoo every month as a means to change his own connection to, and opinion of, his body. He had suffered with eating disorders for years and found tattooing to be the only way he could love his body.
“These are the kind of inspiring stories that we like to tell, those that don’t often appear elsewhere in tattoo media.”
Tattoos are not just a fashion trend, rather they are rooted in an complex evolution that can be traced for centuries from cultures spanning the globe – though sadly, the practice still carries something of a stigma.
They have long been associated with convicts and rogue sailors, and in the 1980s tattoos became popular among youth movements such as punks and skinheads.
While a rash of high profile celebrities in the 90s, such as David Beckham, helped bring tattoos into mainstream culture, it did not convince everyone. Visible tattoos were notoriously banned within the Metropolitan Police back in 2012, for fear of compromising professionalism.
One area Beccy is particularly passionate about is women with tattoos who, as one of her blog posts explained, were ostracised by society as “loose or seedy”.
Women have since utilized body art as a tool for empowerment and a voice beyond archaic social roles of women.
Beccy’s blog showcases a photography project called Women with Tattoos in which Beccy herself took part.
“Being part of a project like this was an amazing experience because it challenged perceptions of women with tattoos,” she said. “There are definitely pre-conceptions that because you have tattoos you might be ‘wild’ and often women with tattoos are heavily sexualised in the media. This project by an amazing photographer sought to show tattooed women as they truly are, in the most natural and honest sense.”
An attitude Inkluded also disputes is the media’s projection of tattoo culture as a means of shallow entertainment. The industry often focuses on stories of infected, badly designed or bad taste tattoos to entice audiences.
The internet is among the worst offenders, with ‘click-bait’ articles displaying images that damage the reputation of an art form cherished by many.
“They look at tattoos on the surface level and just look to get a large volume of clicks,” said Beccy.
“Because my blog has a very different (non-profit) mission, I’m able to really delve into tattoos on a different level. I aim to challenge the media’s current portrayal of the art-form.
“There’s just so much more to tattooing than many realise and that’s what Inkluded seeks to do – tell fascinating stories and delve deeper into an industry that has so much to give and is always changing.”