I had always wanted a tattoo but could never decide on what to have. Had toyed with the idea of Celtic arm bands, but wasn’t sure. Then when I got to Goa in 1994 the time seemed right as nearly everyone as the Rose Garden Restaurant in Anjuna Goa was getting a tattoo done by Michelle Edge who was doing them at her studio in Baga, near Nani’s and Rani’s Restaurant. I had a few false starts but the final design I chose was an Aztec shield (or Sun emblem, or a flower!). I was convinced (by Michelle) that a tribal style was best. Although some say it is Inca and some say it is African, I have since found out that the style is Pre-Columbian Mexican which includes Aztec. I also found out that there are many of these patterns in the Pre-Columbian art and they are not necessarily emblems but could have adorned any art such as pottery or textiles.
Tattoo 2: The story went on from there for 15 years, from those photocopies that Michelle had, it took me a long time to discover it was Mexican tribal art. In 2009 I returned to Goa and met Andy Smith who has a tattoo place there. I showed him my tattoo from Michelle and he had the very book the artwork had been photocopied from. I then wangled the designs into an armband which he put on me. So, now I had two Mexican tattoos on my left upper arm.
Tattoo 3: I went for some time with the two on the left arm. Then when I was in Indonesia the lady I was running a restaurant with said our friend Agung could put the tattoo I had designed on. This was the right upper arm. However he didn’t finish the inner arm as it was basically a free tattoo. He did it right there in the café in Bukit Lawang, Sumatra, Indonesia.
Tattoo 4: I got another armband on the left arm below Andy’s one. This was by a chap in Camden, Steve Herring of I Hate Tattoos. He also knows Andy Smith, so while he tattooed me we reminisced about Goa and Andy. He did a good job of the tattoo so:
Tattoo 5: Well, not really. I asked him to join the gap on Agung’s tattoo. Which was very painful.
Where can you find the tattoo artists?
Michelle Edge: she sort of visnished but I discovered from Steve Herring that she went to live in a commune/community.
Andy Smith: https://www.facebook.com/andystattoostudiogoa/
Agung: no idea
Steve Herring: https://www.ihatetattoos.co.uk/