More Than Skin Deep – Owen Meredith | CYD #8

Apprentice tattoo-artist Owen Meredith doesn’t envision an end goal for his artistic development. His story so far has been measured in milestones: from getting his first tattoo to enrolling as an apprentice artist; from experimenting on himself (and working through the pain) to practicing on colleagues; from the daunting experience of his first customer to finally feeling at ease in what he hopes will one day be his sole source of income, and what is evidently his vocation.

After stumbling through three years of graphic design at university, Owen found himself at a complete loss of direction and fell into his old hobby of drawing. While his artwork was rapidly improving, he got his first tattoo – and the infatuation began. The sudden sense of purpose was unlike anything he’d known before, and he soon resolved to become a tattoo artist, enrolling as a tattoo apprentice as soon as the opportunity arose.

Owen cites Gustave Dore’s detailed etchings of religious figures as a formative presence in his early artistic development, and this influence manifests itself in the proliferation of small lines in his work. This fascination with detail is at the core of his love for tattooing, and his fervour to continue exploring new techniques and styles is part of a desire to draw ever more detailed and intricate designs.

His love of tattoo artistry has spilled over into a tattoo addiction, so Owen understands fully the significance of his work – the knowledge that he is allowing people to express themselves permanently and with finality makes this the most rewarding job he could imagine. In the nature of his art as well as with his own story, Owen is inspiring and enabling others to celebrate their difference. It might not be considered high art by some, but to Owen – and to Nosakhari – there can be no higher calling.