Studio 13 - the Art of Tattoos and Piercing

Self expression is paramount to healthy living, and tattoos and piercings are two of the most satisfying ways to put your stamp on yourself.

Feature by Sophie Kyle | 15 Feb 2006

When you're sixteen almost everyone wants a tattoo, or piercing, or some kind of long-lasting difference imposed on their bodies. Not just to make your mother scream, but to assert to yourself and the outside world that you can do whatever the fuck you like. It's not that your body isn't different enough, but more the fact that you can make it different. It's a power thing. However, the ability to make the decision and willingly put yourself under the needle is as important as working out which image to choose, as well as what it means to you and how it will look on your skin for years to come.

They say that once you start you can't stop, and tattooing certainly isn't just for sixteen year olds with angry hormones. It is thought that humans have been permanently marking their skin since they could walk, and not just for self assertive reasons, but as outward signs of personal abilities, and as hidden markers of rebellion. The Tahitians warded away illness with marks on their fingers and wrists, the Romans marked their slaves, Polynesians used tattoos to signify familial ties, tattoos in Asia were used on women to mark social status and suitability for marriage and Asian women were often tattooists. Greek spies used tattoos to recognise each other, Japanese marked their criminals across the forehead with a series of lines and arcs and used tattoos as a sign of Rebellion against laws where only royal families could wear ornate clothes - creating the Japanese body suit, and later in America tattoos were used cosmetically for eyeliner, lipstick and blusher. Some also believe the Celts tattooed themselves with the blue paint so famously made Hollywood by Mel Gibson's Braveheart.

So if tattooing isn't a new way of self expression how can you make yours different? Jeff at Studio 13 is more than happy to help – his shop and studio are decorated floor to ceiling with a massive variety of original tattoo based art, and it's all for sale. The Studio 13 gallery is lined with inspiration, and Jeff, Mat and Tamas are also able to help create your own custom designed tattoo. Originally from Nebraska, Jeff has had over twenty years experience inking people all over the globe. Travelling extensively with his needle, he has worked in North Carolina, Philadelphia and Amsterdam, before setting up Studio 13 on July 16 last year.

Over the last year Studio 13 has established itself not only as a tattoo shop that caters to every inky need, but also as a reputable tattoo based art gallery and piercing house – the shop sells a wide range of beautiful body jewellery and has two in house piercers, Kate and Jo.

Self-expression is paramount to healthy living, and tattoos and piercings are two of the most satisfying ways to put your stamp on yourself. Everyone is different, but everyone has the chance to be more different, and Studio 13, with their extensive experience and creativity, is the ideal place to help.

Studio 13, 6 Jeffrey St, Edinburgh, 0131 558 2974.