Modlib Profile: David

Which came first, the modification or the library job?

I have always working in libraries (even at school!) – but I started getting tattooed whilst I was still only a library assistant…

The story behind your modification

Where did you get it?

My first tattoo was the dragon on my upper arm by Ian of Reading – which was a ‘rite-of-passage’ to mark leaving my home town and beginning a new life with my partner. A few bits of flash followed, but I’ve always loved the Japanese tradition of iremuzi suits, and so started a full back-piece with Ian: a ‘Greenman’ design that was intended to eventually ‘grow’ to cover 2/3 of my body…

Ian ‘retired’ before we finished the back-piece, and so the work was continued by Jo Harrison at Modern Body Art in Birmingham (UK). She did such a beautiful job, and had such amazing ideas, that I offered her the rest of my skin as her canvas!

She has now also completed 2 full sleeves, and we are now in the first stages of planning my chest (with additional plans for both legs).

When did you get it?

  • 1st dragon: 1992
  • ‘Greenman’ back-piece: 1996-2004
  • ‘Air and water’ sleeve: 2004-2007
  • ‘Fire and earth’ sleeve: 2007-2009

why did you get it?

I like tattoos. For me they have personal, decorative and even ritualistic importance.

The pleasure of tattooing for me happens on many different levels: I love the aesthetic look of “inked skin” – the way a well designed and executed piece can trace the musculature and emphasise the beauty of the body that wears it; I love the strength and individuality that wearing ink can give a person – a visual reminder of their strength of Will to pursue their idea of beauty, regardless of what others may think; I love being a part of an exclusive club: of those that have faced the needle and allowed themselves to be transformed by it… Hell, in some ways I even enjoy the process of tattooing: the build up of apprehension and excitement before hand… the still, quiet mental focus required to sit through 4 hours under the needle… the intensity of the tattooist’s gaze as they work the design into your skin – your flesh their canvas as they help transform you into a walking work of art…

When I first started getting ink, I had to be very careful to make sure that none of it was visible at work – and was specifically told by my manager that it would be considered ‘inappropriate’ for someone in my Professional capacity. Things change, and I now work as the Arts librarian at our Art and Design campus – every other student here wears some kind of mod, and I am now able to wear mine with pride; I even get asked at Course Boards if there’s any new additions which the Tutors can see…! 😉

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