84-year-old tattoo artist has some advice for our grandkids… and it’ll surprise you

Lyle Tuttle has been tattooing for over 60 years but he has some advice for anyone who wants to get

Lyle Tuttle has been tattooing for over 60 years but he has some advice for anyone who wants to get a tattoo: don’t get one!

The 84-year-old US tattoo artist was once featured on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine and had famous musicians as clients at his San Francisco tattoo shop.

Janis Joplin was one of those stars, and he said she asked for two tattoos; a bracelet design on her wrist and a tiny heart on her breast.

“I got the bracelet on, she went downstairs and had a couple of drinks, and then I put the little one on.

“I must’ve put a few hundred of those on after she passed on, people got them in memory of Janis”, he told the ABC.

He talked of how tattoos and society’s views have changed over the years, particularly during the women’s liberation movement in America.

Before that, the industry had been associated with drunken sailors or ex-prisoners.

“All of a sudden it became a kinder, softer, gentler form of art,” he says.

“With women’s liberation, they were getting them on their breasts, inside their bikini line.

“I’ve seen a lot of pubic hair in my time”.

But on the subject of whether he thinks people should get tattoos, he said “now it’s a trend and a fad, and trends and fads end”.

“Don’t get one, and stay unique,” was Lyle’s advice, and also said he was against tattooing face, neck and hand tattoos.

“Tattooing used to be a compulsion. In my era, I just had to have a tattoo. It just seemed like a step in growing up,” he says.

Some may disagree with his thoughts but there’s no doubt that there’s a growing industry for tattoo removal – around 10 per cent of tattoos are removed.

Tell us, do you think this is good advice or should everyone do what they want with their bodies? Do you love or hate ink?


  1. One of my sons surprised/shocked us with a Japanese symbol on his upper arm and told us it meant respect your mother and father! I wish I knew Japanese😁

  2. I like many of the different tattoos ….. however, I have never had one done myself as I know that after a while I would just become bored with it, and would not like not being able to change it/them frequently.

  3. I got my tat on my 55th birthday. It’s a red belly snake on my inner wrist. I got it as a reminder after I was bitten by a snake that life is short you can die anytime. I love my tat it reminds me constantly to JUST BE AND LIVE.

    • Yes I was in the middle of nowhere camping and I went for a swim the bloody thing was in the river and bit me. It took 2 hours to get to the hospital all the way me thinking god what a silly way of dying. But no I lived and I think the snake bit me because I frightened it. So my tat reminds me that you can never be sure if tomorrow.

    • More lucky than brave. I live in a bush area I have many snakes around sometimes they venture onto veranda but seldom. If you leave them alone they go away. Thank god we mainly have red Bella’s they keep the Browns away. Oh and I have a very big fat Python living near and around my chook house in mid summer it eats all the eggs. The chicks can defend themselves so I’m not worried. You just need to look down at my property

    • I could never go to your house, unless I was wearing armour and carried a cannon, am scared of snakes Pythons or not

  4. Dianne Evans  

    I am used too them but they are not even shock now. I have never wanted one but as long as people remember you sometimes have too hide them for work and in our hot climate covering up is hard.

  5. My dad got a large one on his upper arm in the war, I love Louise – would love to have known who Louise was? Maybe a beautiful maiden in the Solomons…but she’d have a more exotic name? Guess you should be careful what you choose.

  6. I have never been into tattoos. but that was probably something my mother drummed into me, I don’t mind them on others, we all make choices in life. Plus I hate needles..age has not cured me of that

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