Telling stories and keeping memories alive – Jeremy Roach

Written by Shaun Ryan

Knowing his artwork is always on display is one of Jeremy Roach’s main motivators.

While many people’s minds jump to paintings, drawings and sculptures when they hear the word ‘art’, Jeremy’s canvass is the human skin.

As a tattooer working out of Talisman Tattoo in Main Street, Pialba, Jeremy helps customers express themselves, keep memories alive and tell their most personal stories through his art.

“Tattooing has always kind of been in the family. My dad was a tattooer – and I am currently working for someone who worked with him,” Jeremy explained.

“I never had much of an interest in becoming a tattooer until I got my own tattoos and that really sparked the interest.”

Jeremy’s approach is to be as accommodating as possible to all his customers.

“I want to be able to accommodate as many different styles or types of tattoos as possible but my interests are in anime so that’s something I really enjoy doing,” he said.

Tattooing for Jeremy is not just a case of leaving a permanent mark on a customer’s body.

“We are telling people’s stories,” he said.

“It doesn’t matter what the tattoo looks like, there is always a backstory that we might not know.”

One memorable tattoo Jeremy was asked to recreate was of a butterfly drawing.

“I didn’t really understand why the customer wanted a children’s drawing of a butterfly tattooed permanently on her.

“But then when we started talking, I realised it was the last thing her child had drawn before passing away and she wanted to keep it with her forever. For someone seeing the tattoo it might mean very little but to her it was everything.”

“The meaning and importance of an artwork is always derived from the individual getting the tattoo.”
Jeremy said tattooing is like any profession or artform in that he has artists he looks up to and aspires to be like.

“People who get tattoos are walking billboards. So many conversations are started by people discussing their artwork – what it means, how long they’ve had it and inevitably who did it.”

Meanwhile, Jeremy said the taboo around tattoos has definitely started falling away since the rise of social media.

Instagram and Facebook are helping people decide on designs and artists before they even step inside a shop.

“You can follow the whole process of getting a tattoo from start to finish on social media. The stigma is being lifted and people who come in to get their first tattoo are a lot more confident.”

And it’s that experience that’s important for Jeremy.

“Someone can come in and get a tattoo, the design could be exactly what they want and look like they had envisaged, but if they don’t have a good experience with you, they’ll probably go somewhere else the next time.”

You can follow Jeremy’s artwork on social media, he’s @jeremyroachtattooer on Facebook and Instagram.