In this day and age, self-expression through appearance is no longer a barrier in our society. SInce the pop-culture explosion of the Sixties, youths are taking advantage of every method of self-expression possible to convey their image of themselves. In the process, social taboos like body piercing, crazy hairstyles, outrageous clothing, and tattooing, have become more and more accepted into the mainstream.
Tattooing is on the rise everywhere including this merry island we call home. It is opening up to all walks of life beyond the stereotypical sailor/biker type. This may be due to our rebellious “Generation X”, but according to Keith Baldwin it can also be attributed to the artistry of contemporary tattoo tradesmen and the intricacy of body art. Baldwin, who’s been tattooing in the Whitney Pier are for nineteen years now, adds that instead of the old anchor or heart of fifteen years ago, you can get anything from a flying bird to a mural of “The Last Supper” on your body.
Tattooing is more popular than it ever was these days due, in part, to more “artists” taking up the craft and creating demand by the sheer beauty of their work. Keith (who not only tattoos bust also does commercial lettering, designs and prints sings and team logos, paints bikes and children’s bedrooms, etches glass and does airbrushing) is an artist in his own right, having done murals for Legions in Whitney Pier, Ashby, and Glace Bay. Tattoos remain his favourite medium, however, as he loves meeting people. Keith’s art appears on folks from all over the world and he claims that most of the people he works on come back for more, sometimes with their parents in tow for touch ups or new tattoos for themselves.
Although Keith would never pressure someone into getting a tattoo, he suggests that if you do get one you should get it from a professional, such as himself, who has been inspected and approved by the Board of Health, and who takes all necessary precautions against the diseases out there.
Keith does everything from touch-up work for people who may may have been in the wrong state of mind when they got something done to the high school girls who travel in packs for little doves and roses. The prices range from around $25 for a small piece to $55 per hour for larger or more detailed works.