A conversation with.. Tattboy Holden
Covered from head to toe in tattoos, with a tongue that looks like it belongs in a lizard’s mouth, it´s safe to say, Tattboy is not your average looking dude. Some people get a little tight chested when they see a man walking down the street in a skirt, what must they think when they see this guy? I wanted to get inside the head of Tattboy – an Adelaide local and a Holden fan – just an ordinary guy, living an extraordinary life.
When did you get your first tattoo?
I got my first tattoo in 1987, an eagle on my left arm; something that defined freedom for me at the time.
At the time did you have any idea how much ink you might end up having?
Back then I thought I might get 8 tattoos. But it was a different time, age, and methods were different. And also being covered back then was not really heard of, so yeah, I thought maybe 8 and I would be happy, but I just kept going
Now you’re covered head to toe.. Why?
I’ve always wanted them ever since I was a kid. It’s basically me being me- Self-expression, and feeling the way I should be.
Tell me about your face tattoo. It’s quite intense.
I’ve always wanted face tats for a long time. In the 90’s it was hard finding someone to do it, people would just straight out refuse. But after many years of trying, I finally found an artist that was willing to tattoo my eyebrows. Once I started getting ink on my face it got easier and easier. The ironic thing is that is seemed like as soon as I started getting face ink, everybody else started getting face ink. It got easier and easier for people to get face ink even though it took me about a decade to get it. I’ve had 11 different tattoo artists work on my face since then (2006), the latest been Jason Moore, he’s at 2322 Tattoo Studio in Newcastle.
Do you get many weird looks?
Um yeah, but not that bad. You do get some weird looks but 99.9% of other people think it’s awesome and then wish they could do it themselves. But you do get the odd people that freak out about it.
Can you see why people think it’s weird?
Umm, nah it’s just a reflection of them and their backwardness.
Do you get denied entry many places?
Yeah I have. There are plenty of places that I get let into but there are also the odd places that strangely refuse me because I have the face thing.
Why do you think that is?
Well, the last time they thought that I was a gang member - which is ridiculous. I’m just Tattboy. I sort of laughed at it. It was just a poor excuse for not letting me in when I’m like the coolest person there anyway.
Do you have any regrets?
Nah no real regrets at all. I just love it. My only regret is my blank skin pretty much. I’m hanging to get it all filled in. It takes a long time, a lot of thought and it is important to find the right artist.
What do you tell people who say “but what about how your tats look when you’re older?”
I’ll be cool as fuck. That’s just a stereotypical comment from people with no ink. But they don’t understand what we go through. We do it because we love it.
What is your body to you?
My body is my temple. You only live once; you’ve got to make the most of it. And it’s just a part of me and I would not feel the same if I was not inked. I’d feel naked. This way I can just feel comfortable and just be myself.
What jobs have you had?
I’ve worked in a number of office jobs. I was a sick worker. Once upon a time I worked for a telecommunications company called Tel*tra and it seemed like the more ink I got the more they didn’t like me…
Tell us about your most recent tattoo
Most recent ones are my ass cheeks. Got them done 2 days ago in Newcastle. It was ten hours in one sitting, five hours each cheek. Space Cadet Monkeys with banana Ray Guns and laser beams. It looks so cool. And the artist body McNeedles is really talented and I’m just really fortunate that he said come on up.
I’ve got a million ideas but it depends on who tattoos me next. I’ve got so much ink that I’ve had so many of my own ideas tattooed on me. I’ve even said to one tattoo artist to just ‘tattoo whatever the fuck you like’. I’ve got enough of my own Holden theme happening, so adding a few skulls here and there is just going to compliment what is already going on.
Do you have an Idles that you look up to?
Yeah I’ve got a few. Earlier this year I met Erik Sprague the Lizard man. I chilled with him in Adelaide and had a lot of fun. He’s one of the most awesome dudes ever, so easy to talk to and down to earth. He’s definitely an idle and has been since the 90’s. Another one is Matt Gone, he got a checkerboard theme over his face and body, and he’s been an idle since the 90’s as well.
What has been the most painful spot to get inked?
Definitely the most painful spot is the corner of my eyes. It’s like eye surgery. It doesn’t even feel like a tattoo. You can’t move. You’ve just got to take it and not move - that is really extreme. And it swells too.
Have you got your c*ck done?
I have… I need to get a bit more on there as well. I’ve had a couple try and tattoo it but they’ve wussed out. They started it but couldn’t go through with it. They start and then they’d back out, like “oh I can’t do this”. I’ve had two back out on me midstream. They’re both legends for giving it a go, but I just wish that what I asked for was delivered. There is more coming… I can’t wait
What do you say to me telling you you’re a scary looking dude?
I’m not scary at all. I’m probably more normal then a lot of people; more in tune and more real. When people talk to me for five seconds they realize that I’m not scary at all.
Get more ink and travel the world.
- Nathan Harmond