Meet the man giving himself a new tattoo every day during lockdown

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  • Chris Woodhead
    British educationalist
(Chris Woodhead)
A man has given himself a new tattoo for every day the UK has been in lockdown. (Chris Woodhead)

A dad-to-be has found a unique way of recording his time in quarantine by giving himself a new tattoo for every day spent in coronavirus lockdown.

Chris Woodhead, 33, from London, has been inking various quarantine-inspired tats on himself each day in isolation.

The professional tattoo artist, who works in a studio in Hackney Wick called Maria Paradise, decided to take on the lockdown challenge after the studio was forced to close due to social distancing measures.

After going into isolation with his pregnant wife, Woodhead decided to add one new tattoo per day for as long as it continued as a way of giving his days some structure.

“I’m a tattoo artist by trade and am no stranger to tattooing myself, so it just seemed like a really good way to spend my time,” he tells Yahoo UK.

“I’m already covered in tattoos so I thought another 100 or so more shouldn't make too much difference.”

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At the beginning of the lockdown, Woodhead had around 1,000 designs on his body, now, in a reminder of just how long the UK has been in lockdown, he has 46 more, and counting.

“All my friends and family know me as being heavily tattooed so weren't too surprised by when I took on the self tattoo project.

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The coroanvirus particle on his leg. (Chris Woodhead)
The coroanvirus particle on his leg. (Chris Woodhead)

Each afternoon between 2pm and 4pm, the tattoo artist sits down to sketch designs inspired by the current situation.

According to BBC he uses a low-tech tattooing technique known as hand poking in which a hand-held needle is used to push ink deep into the skin, without the use of electricity, making it less intrusive and painful than getting inked with a tattoo gun.

From a coronavirus particle, to a leaping tiger in tribute to the hit Netflix show Tiger King, which has kept so many entertained during lockdown, each tattoo is an homage to the unique time spent in isolation.

On the skin of the sole of his left foot, Woodhead has written the words, ‘When will it end?’, but his favourite lockdown tattoo is the NHS tribute he has on his sternum, “for obvious reasons.”

“The sad thing is that we had to watch the world collapse for some people to appreciate them,” he says.

Woodhead has tattooed 'When will it end?' on his body during lockdown. (Chris Woodhead)
Woodhead has tattooed 'When will it end?' on his body during lockdown. (Chris Woodhead)

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Woodhead says the only real challenging tat has been the one on the sole of his foot because “it was hard to reach and had a high pain factor, but other than that it’s pretty breezy.”

The longer we remain in lockdown the harder it may be to find a gap to tattoo, but Woodhead isn’t worried he’ll run out of room.

“There's always space to fill, the human body is a huge mass of skin. I enjoy the challenge of finding the small spaces,” he explains.

A tribute to the hit show, Tiger King. (Chris Woodhead)
A tribute to the hit show, Tiger King. (Chris Woodhead)

Since sharing his lockdown tattoo project to his Instagram platform, the tattoo artist has seen a huge reaction from people all over the globe.

“It's been really nice to see such a big and positive reaction,” he says. “It makes it feel even more worth it.”

While the overwhelming reaction has been that of support, the Internet being the Internet, Woodhead has also received a handful of negative comments, which he’s tried to ignore.

“I can imagine for people who live in the public eye it can get pretty wearing on their mental health,” he says. “This is the only time in my life I have received it and it’s truly sad that some people can carry such negativity.”

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Like all of us, Woodhead is longing for the day he can return to work and is looking forward to being able to tattoo others, rather than just himself.

“Meeting people is the best part of being a tattoo artist,” he says.

And the dad-to-be has another important reason to look to the future.

“I'm most looking forward to the birth of my child once this is all over,” he adds.

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