The star of a TV tattoo reality show has warned pupils at his old school not to have tattoos done before they’re 18 and to steer clear of illegal salons.
Jay Hutton, star E4 TV reality series Tattoo Fixers, dropped into Ysgol Emrys ap Iwan in Abergele to take part in an on-line interview project with pupils as part of the BBC Schools project.
While there Jay fended questions from pupils on how he became a tattoo artist and involved with the TV show, plus warned of the dangers of having tattoos done before they become an adult.
For an online video Jay was interviewed by two pupils, and also showed off some of his own tattoos – including his latest one of boxer Mike Tyson.
It is illegal in Wales and England to tattoo somebody aged under 18 – even with parental consent – and salons have to registered with their local authority. However, some tattooists carry out work illegally, claiming not to know the customer’s age, or teens opt to have the artwork created while on holiday overseas.
Jay’s TV show Tattoo Fixers involves him along with other professional tattoo artists helping members of the public cover up embarrassing tattoos – some of which were done when they were under age.
The 26-year-old, who runs his own tattoo studio, said: “I wanted to get the message across to pupils that it is totally illegal here to do a tattoo if the client is under 18.
“I wanted the pupils to think about tattoos and make sure that they understand that any reputable tattoo artist would not tattoo anyone without proof of age and identity.
“For instance, I also check ID and want absolute proof that a customer is 18 and they know what they are doing.
“Tattoos are permanent and if a tattoo artist messes up you are stuck with it. That’s why it’s really important to check out the tattoo artist who you ask to do your tattoo, ask to see their portfolio or even speak to previous customers.
“Hygiene is also really important too and something some people forget to look into. Do your research, it’s so important.”
Jay, who was drawn into his tattoo work through his love of drawing, says he really enjoyed returning to Ysgol Emrys ap Iwan as it brought back a lot of positive memories.
He said: “I enjoyed school and Emrys ap Iwan was and still is a great school. It was nice bumping into a few of the teachers who I remember from my school days.
“It was so nice to go back and I’d like to do something similar in the future although I’m always pretty busy these days.”
Jay, whose salon Adrenaline is in Ellesmere Port, revealed to students that he started his career with a salon in Abergele, and won his TV work by sending images of his artworks to celebrities via Twitter.
He has recently been filming in Greece and London with the show.
Ysgol Emrys ap Iwan English teacher, Stephanie Brettle says she was delighted to welcome Jay Hutton back to the school.
She said: “Pupils were engaged in an on-line interview for the BBC News School Report project and Year 10 learners Leon Best and Ellie O’Mahoney conducted the interview.
“Jay was frank and explained to pupils the importance of not getting tattoos under the age of 18 and the other dangers to look out for.
“It proved to be an excellent visit. Learners and staff enjoyed the day and the interview conducted by Leon and Ellie was excellent.”
Ysgol Emrys ap Iwan head teacher Lee Cummins said: “Jay created much excitement amongst learners and teachers alike. He signed autographs and learners were able to have ‘selfies’ taken with him.
“I am delighted to see Jay doing so well and yet taking time out of a busy schedule to come and talk to learners about his work. Pupils learnt some important messages from someone, other than teachers, whom they look up to.”
*See Jay talking about his work and showing off his latest Mike Tyson tattoo here: http://www.emrysapiwan.conwy.sch.uk/Learners/BBC-News-School-Report/