Would you agree to have a ‘blind tattoo’?

Merseyside tattoo studio Nomad Ink launched its ‘blind tattoo’ challenge on social media, and was inundated. Now the two chosen winners will be getting their ‘ink’ in the next few weeks. Tony McDonough reports

Nomad Ink
An example of the work of Nomad Ink tattoo artist Lewis Sherlock


A Wirral tattoo studio is give a free large tattoo worth up to £1,000 to two lucky customers  in the next few weeks – but with a big catch.

Neither Jon Richards nor Ruth Redfearn will have any input into the design of their ‘ink’ and will have no idea what it will look like until the tattoo artist, Lewis Sherlock, has finished his work.

When Nomad Ink in Seaview Road, Wallasey, launched its ‘blind tattoo’ challenge on social media, it only expected a few takers. But within two days the business was inundated with more than 100 people keen to take their chances.

After closing the application window they then narrowed down the hopefuls to 25. Then, after rounds of questionnaires and face-to-face meetings, they were whittled down to a final two.

Nomad studio manager Joanne Byrne told LBN: “Art work was created for both finalists, a process that was supposed to help decide a winner. However, unable to choose between them, it has now been decided that both finalists will receive their blind tattoo.”

On Saturday, February 22, Jon Richards of Wallasey, will put his faith in Lewis for the first blind tattoo. Second candidate, Ruth Redfearn, will travel from Devon in April to do the same.

Joanne added: “The idea behind the blind tattoo is not shock value. Lewis wants those chosen for this unique opportunity to love their new tattoo. The aim is to create something fresh and adventurous – a piece of art that reflects the client in a way they may not have thought of.

“Lewis did not have a preconceived idea of the design he would create for the winner. It depended entirely on the information gathered about who they are, what they’re about and what makes them tick.”

Lewis Sherlock
Lewis Sherlock, tattoo artist at Nomad Ink in Wirral


Almost all tattoos done at Nomad Ink are bespoke designs. There are no tattoo designs on the walls to choose from and every client gets the opportunity to tell their story using the talents of two skilled artists.

“However, it often feels like customers are unsure when faced with a tattoo design that is not like those found easily on the internet,” said Joanne. “When approving their own art work there is a reluctance to choose something that someone might ask, ‘why that?’

“Even if they personally love the piece. There is a fear of judgement and as a result designs are asked to be modified to make them (artistically) a little more safe. Allowing an artist to create your design without external influence removes the need to control that process. If someone ever asks why, what a story they’ll have to tell.”

She said people had many reasons for wanting a blind tattoo such as overcoming illness or a person tragedy. In other cases it was to mark major personal achievements. But the common thread was a “desire to be daring and carefree”.

“Others simply felt they have always lived on the safe side of life and had reached an age where they want to let go of that control,” added Joanne. “Whatever the reason, the blind tattoo has captured the imagination of many, and momentum continues to grow.”

The blind tattoo process can be followed on Nomad Ink’s social media channels www.instagram.com/nomad.inkart and www.facebook.com/nomad.ink.uk 

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