Interview with Tattooist Beki Blade, 01-12-08

What do you get if you cross a blonde bombshell, a good strong cup of Yorkshire Tea and a world record attempt? You get Maximum Image Tattoo in Farnham, the most warm-hearted studio in the South. AT sat down with the notorious Beki Blade for a natter.

How did you get into tattooing?
I used to draw on people at school! I used to decorate absolutely everything- I was always drawing on myself and my stuff! I did Henna tattoos for years, and then eventually progressed onto the real thing. I did an Illustration degree at Art College, so that was a massive help. I just fell into it really!

How did you and Max meet?
I just came into the shop one day for a tattoo, and Max saw my design and suggested that I look into tattooing. I had actually been practicing on myself already, so I started working here and it went really well. Now we both own half the shop!

What’s the best thing about the job?
I reckon the best thing about the job is when you do a tattoo and the customer is really, really chuffed with it. You never really expect that to happen when you start tattooing, so it’s a really nice surprise. Even if you don’t personally like the design that much, if the customer leaves with a smile on their face that makes your day!

Beki Blade
Beki Blade

What’s the worst thing about the job?
The worst thing about the job, I suppose, is doing an enormous tattoo of a design you don’t particularly like, and the customer is writhing around in pain. It takes ages!! Some people need to stop every five minutes! You just wonder why anyone would sit through it if they were in that much discomfort! Often though, a good cup of tea will get you both through it! We’re famous for our tea!

What’s different about Maximum Image?
Apart from the tea addiction?! I’d say we take pride in the fact that we’re happy to do anything. We like our customers to show us their ideas- we’re happy to work on an amazing custom design rather than having people choose designs off a sheet. Also we’re doing our £10 tattoos ‘Christmas Sale’ at the moment, so we’re a Credit Crunch Busting Tattooist as well!

Beki Blade
Beki Blade

Tell us about Tattoos For Troops?
Tattoos for Troops was an idea we had last Christmas. We wanted to do something to raise money for Charity, and Max had the idea of doing a 24 hour tattoo ‘marathon.’ We’d heard that Kat Von D was doing something similar and were keen to give it a go! It grew from there, really- we’ve got a lot of friends who are ex-forces, so we wanted to do something for them. Also, there was so much coverage of the Help for Heroes campaign that we wanted to support their efforts. We eventually settled on our poppy design, and it all fell together. On the day we tattooed 311 people- it was definitely a very busy day!! We missed our world record attempt for a three colour tattoo by just a few, so we’re going to keep doing it throughout the year and re-attempt the world record next Summer. Max’s first poppy took four minutes and was inked onto the skin of local Taxi Driver and British Legion member Roger Brown, but 15 hours into the attempt he was getting quicker and quicker- his fastest one only took 1 minute 53 seconds, so we’re definitely hopeful his new found speed can smash the record next year! The best thing about it was the total variety of people we had in- we had people having their first tattoo, we had people in their 60’s and loads of army wives! Max has been tattooing for thirty years and even he hasn’t seen so much variety before!!