Veteran Cally tattooist Lord Montana-Blue: Why you should think before you get inked – and how I got the name

Lord Montana-Blue at Jolie Blue in the Cally. Picture: Lindsay Riley

Lord Montana-Blue at Jolie Blue in the Cally. Picture: Lindsay Riley - Credit: Archant

Veteran Cally tattoo artist Lord Montana-Blue (part of that is his real name) shares the sage advice he gives anyone who enters parlour Jolie Rouge on a whim.

Lord Montana-Blue. Picture: Lindsay Riley

Lord Montana-Blue. Picture: Lindsay Riley - Credit: Archant

Thinking about getting a tattoo while drunk? Then visit Cally Road tattoo shop Jolie Rouge and ask for veteran artist Lord Montana-Blue – he’ll definitely straighten your head.

“The words ‘to’ and ‘for’ are very important to me in tattooing,” he told the Gazette.

“When I’m doing something, I’m doing it for you. If I ever feel like I’m doing something to you, I just won’t do it.”

The Gazette spoke to the artist right after his time at the two-day convention in Newcastle, The Big North Tattoo Show.

He said he would always give a bit of a speech when he feels someone’s heading towards an irresponsible tattoo.

“I have to make sure people understand the social ramifications of getting one,” he said.

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“Not everybody deserves a tattoo. You have to earn it.”

Lord (his real first name), who’s been a part of Jolie Rouge for nearly 10 years, got the rest of his moniker by spilling blue paint all over his clothing during his time at university.

“Everyone found it funny,” he said, “so I thought that it’d be better to own the name rather than fight against it.”

By constantly showing up unannounced at Jolie Rouge owner Matt Difa’s old workplace, he started to slowly gain the skills of a tattoo artist.

When Matt opened his own tattoo shop, Lord was invited to work there as an apprentice.

He’d had enough of being a graphic designer and wanted to challenge himself.

He reckoned there was a big divide between tattoo artists doing quality work and ones who weren’t.

That was the engine that pushed him to enter the sector. “When you’re pursuing a new industry, make sure you’re providing something that only you could do,” he said. “Because otherwise, what’s the point?”

In his opinion, the secret to a good tattoo is the initial idea. He emphasised how important it is to enter the shop with a deep understanding of what you want. This way the artist will be able to “embellish upon the idea”, he said.

“Having a tattoo isn’t like walking into a shop and buying a pair of shoes. It’s special and I think it should be treated with the same reverence.”

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