Tattooing and social change

by Philip Patston.

Sometimes change is just about getting out there and doing things other people wouldn’t expect you to do. It’s about sharing yourself openly, unashamedly and generously with people who may not usually come across someone like you.

In my case, getting my first tattoo was an act of social change. I had to talk to my tattooist, Aaron, about spasms, involuntary movements and all the uncertainty that goes with that. It was my job to put him at ease about how that would affect his tattooing. It was his job to tattoo me!

The outcome was a great experience for both of us. He now knows if he can tattoo me, he can tattoo anyone. I now have a beautiful new tattoo.

If you’re interested, the tattoo design starts with my sun sign Capricorn which merges into the lemniscate or symbol of infinity. Growing leaves sprout from paths that lead around my wrist. Decaying leaves and shadow paths feature on the underside. The design encapsulates my birth, the potential of my life, the processes of growth and decay, paths I have taken and those I could have taken. It also depicts spaces in between which give rise to possibility.


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