• Dave Smith (left) and Tiplo Tsotetsi are the owner-artists at Black and White Tattoos, a popular parlor in Johannesburg’s Rosebank district that scribes original work on men and women. (Photo by Darren Taylor)
  • Tsotetsi etched his favorite work on the pect of client David Holland. If it weren’t for Nelson Mandela, Tsotetsi said he and his business partner “would not have been allowed to work together equally like this.” (Photo by Darren Taylor)
  • One of the most elaborate of Tsotetsi’s creations includes the words of one of Mandela’s favorite poem’s, “Master of my fate, Captain of my soul.” (Photo by Darren Taylor)
  • Lifestyle coach Zane Collier selects the Latin inscription, 'Love Conquers All' for his chest, his third tattoo by Tsotetsi. (Photo by Darren Taylor)
  • “The first five minutes takes some getting used to,” says Collier. “It’s uncomfortable, but then you start to enjoy the pain …” (Photo by Darren Taylor)
  • “Think about what you’re doing,” Tsotetsi cautions clients, “because … when you’re older … you aren’t going to appreciate your tattoos.” (Photo by Darren Taylor)
  • Women are less squeamish than men when under the needle. “They’re now doing everything men used to do,” says Tsotetsi. They ask for tattoos that cover their arms. (Photo by Darren Taylor)
  • They counsel many of their clients to be discreet about where the tattoo will go, says Smith. “Think about where you’re going to have that tat,” he says, in case you go to a job interview. (Photo by Darren Taylor)
  • When a customer comes in asking for a cross, the owners say fine, but consider giving that image a little bit of an original twist. (Photo by Darren Taylor)

Where the art only goes skin deep

Darren Taylor

Published August 26, 2014

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