Pins and needles does not sound like everyone’s idea of fun – but one tattooist is now an international star after winning several awards for his talents.
Michael Rose, owner of Michael Rose Arts, in Darkes Lane, Potters Bar, is known for his colourful designs, wacky drawings and above all, endless patience with his clients.
The 38-year-old recently took first place at the Amsterdam International Tattoo Show for best back piece, and first place in the best colour category at the Great British Tattoo Show at Alexandra Palace.
But winning was no easy task. Months ago, he ran a competition offering two huge back tattoos to two willing subjects – and finally found Gareth Smith and Craig Newman.
It took blood, sweat and tears, but his guinea pigs were more than thrilled with the finished result – a huge tiger for Gareth and a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle for Craig.
The judges at the competition were too – the London contest had more than 400 entries and 50 artists were vying for the Amsterdam title.
Mr Rose, who lives in Bedfordshire with his wife, Rhia, said: “There will always be haters, when I won both competitions other entrants became really jealous. It was quite nasty.
“I put so much passion, effort, time and energy into winning this. I wasn’t sure what to expect but the boys have been amazing. Their amazing patience and dedication has helped me win.
“I’m over the moon now, I feel fantastic. It was a lot to take in at first, but my awards now have pride of place in the cupboard.”
The tiger and turtle were created using a stencil which was traced onto their backs, and the tattoos each took four painstaking months to complete.
(See below for video)
Mr Rose has had an eclectic career spanning almost 20 years, and has hundreds of awards to his name.
The walls in his office are adorned with newspaper clippings about his talents, as well as the curious sight of hundreds of Mr Potato Head toys are lined on the shelves.
As well as being a dab hand with the needle he is also a keen artist, creating lifelike drawings that resemble photographs.
He had his first tattoo of a bulldog on his arm as a teenager – something which he admits he regrets somewhat – but has since lost count of the amount of drawings on his own body.
As for strange requests, he claims he has not had any. “It’s not for me to judge whether someone’s tattoo is weird. If they like it, and I can tell they’re serious about it, I’m happy to do it.
“I have tattooed and pierced every single part of the body though.”
He added: “People think being a tattoo artist is a rock and roll lifestyle but it’s nothing like what you see on TV. It’s a skill, it’s an art and you need immense concentration for it. I absolutely love it.”
VIDEO: How the tiger tattoo was created
To find out more about Mr Rose, click here.