Zine Review: Stories Behind the Ink

Stories Behind the Ink
Compiled by Mel Buttigieg

Stories Behind the Ink is an A5, full-colour zine collection of real tattoos and the stories behind them.

If I have biases with this zine, they’re that I like tattoos, have tattoos, and am irritated by the amount of unwelcome commentary people with tattoos get from others.

Mel says much of the same at the start of this zine. With black print on a red background, the first page isn’t one to read in low lighting. However, it was worth the light delay of finding a better lamp as Mel writes about the strange (annoying, confronting, etc) phenomena where some people think they have a right to ask personal questions of and even touch tattooed people simply because they bear art on their skin.

But enough with the things that get my teeth grinding in profound understanding and empathy.

Stories Behind the Ink shows off glorious tattoo photos in full colour and on glossy paper. Along with the tattoo/s, each page shares the pertinent details (age, artist, etc) and the stories behind the art. Every page (with a full spread or two) are clearly titled with the person’s name.

I think I would have enjoyed this zine even if I didn’t have tattoos. It’s so interesting to me to read about the decisions behind each tattoos, the memories, the fun, and sometimes the heartfelt meanings. Whether they chose the art for smiles or to honour others and themselves, I loved reading about it.

I really adored Sylvia’s story – one of how even seeming permanence can still change. Of how we can adapt and grow with those changes.

I think this is a great zine to pick up. Especially if you have tattoos, want tattoos, or are a tattoo voyeur. Haha.

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