A few bad eggs spoil it for the rest of the tattoo community
THERE may be a few rotten apples in the mix, but that is no reason to discriminate against a whole community, says Rockhampton tattoo artist Kelly Webb.
Earlier this week, the Newman government proposed new legislation in an attempt to crack down on outlaw motorcycle gangs and criminal activities following an incident at Broadbeach last weekend.
If passed, the new laws would mean a ban on bikie gang members owning, operating or working in Queensland tattoo parlours.
Ms Webb has been a tattooist for nine years, and currently works at her family-owned business Redback Ink.
She said the new laws were discriminatory against a group, whose reputation was tainted by a few bad eggs.
While unaffiliated to any OMCG, Ms Webb would have no problem employing an artist who was part of a group, so long as he or she was a quality tattooist, she said.
Banning bikie members from working in the field would be negative for the industry, she added.
"Artistically it would be detrimental to the tattoo industry to remove anyone who had anything to do with bikes, as there are so many good artists out there - and many do have affiliations with bikie groups."
While bikies were prevalent in the tattoo industry, not every establishment was affiliated to an OMCG.
Ms Webb struggled to see how the new law would be enforced.
"If you have a previous history associating with one of the groups, it doesn't mean you still do...we are covered in tattoos and ride (motor) bikes and the misconception will be that we are bikies. Do we have to prove we not part of a group?" she asked, indicating herself and colleague Ed Sunley.
She rejected notions tattooing would move underground if the laws were introduced, saying "backyard crap" was already rife throughout Rockhampton.
Tattooist Jeremy Martin, an artist at Whitehouse Tattoo Studio also bags the proposed laws.
"The laws are ridiculous. It's a career - someone has worked hard to get where they are and just because they're a member of a gang doesn't mean they can't do what they do," he said.
He said the Rebels Motorcycle gang hosted tattoo shows, but did not own any studios in town.
"We support them for their tattoo shows, and in return they support us at their shows."