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Art drives change in attitude to office tattoos –

Posted in Tattoo Designs on Jul 12, 2017


Last updated10:45, July 12 2017

Kevin Stent

Roman Dvorsky, tattooo artist at Wellington’s Sinatra Tattoos, works on police sergeant Peter Greenland’s whakapapa shoulder tattoo.

Longregarded as a lifestyle choice favoured mostlyby society’soutsidersand artists, contemporarytattoos are now more art than anti-social statement, with watercolour techniques, beautifully rendered bespoke designs andintricately craftedmokodrawingin a more high-brow, high-flyingfan base.

As tatts got prettier and more common, it was inevitablethe dim view most employers once had of ink would change.

“Part of the reason tattoos have become more acceptable [in the office] is that over time society has learned to appreciate them artisticallyand because all sorts of people now have them,” employment lawyerSusan Hornsby-Geluk says.

Kevin Stent

Peter Greenland’s whakapapa tattoo signifies has a shark tooth motif, signifying his 18 years as a dog handler.

“If we stop looking at tattoos as being graffiti and start looking at them as art, why should they be any more offensive than bare skin?”

“Most professions, particularly creative industries, are perfectly comfortable with visible tattoos.That said, it is up to the business owner to set the rules as to dress code.”

InNew Zealand today,policemen, nurses and lawyers all sport piecesand it’s all perfectly acceptable office attire – depending on what the tattoois and where it is placed.

Raciel Cruz Pena/Sinatras Tattoo

Watercolour artwork, one of the styles favoured by professionals.

Ten years ago, things were different in the police, Wellington sergeant Peter Greenland says from hischair atSinatra Tattoos,as artistRomanDvorskyinks a customtatton his shoulder.

“I think they’re a lot more accepting of tattoos now, the police.

“Just day to day, you see a lot more people [in the force] with them.”

Kyle Dyhrberg/Sinatras Tattoo

Portraits such as this, by Kyle Dyhrberg’s Sinatras Tattoo parlour are also popular.

“I’ve noticed a lot of our interaction [with the public] starts with tattoos – people admiring them.”

This emphasis on building an authenticrelationshipwith the public is the reason police launched thePoliceInk campaign on their Instagram account.

“The purpose of it wasto show the public that underneath it all police officers are human just like everyone else who have values, opinions, beliefs, family histories, and meaningful stories,”a spokesperson for New Zealand police says.

READ MORE: *Christchurch man gets large Patrick Gower tattoo *Freckle tattoos are the latest beauty craze *Six things everyone who gets tattoos is asked

“Instead of just telling people that, we thought we could show them through some of the tattoos we have.

“There’s a lot more to us than just a blue uniform and by sharing that with public, we were able to positively engage with them and hopefully break down a few barriers.”

Dvorskyhas noticed more affluent and educated clientele coming through his door and it’s not just the long tattooed arm of the law getting inked.”Definitely more professional people [are getting tattooed],” the31-year-oldsays.

The change started about five years ago andDvorskyattributes it to the improved artisticreputation of the craftand office trailblazers.

“I think now all it takes is that brave person that’s done it in their workplace.”

“You knowthey’re a good worker, andthat tattoo hasn’t changed who they are as a person and hasn’t affected their work. Sothen other people start to be more brave with tattoos.”

Acceptance of tattoos in teaching and across the retail, legal and beautyindustries varies between each individual business.

“Being able to display tattoos of religious or ethnic significance such as moko or tribal tattoos likepe’ais protected by the Human Rights Act,” says thepresident of the New Zealand Law SocietyKathryn Beck. “Iwould expect it isrespectedwithin law firms as it is elsewhere.”

“However, when it comes to other tattoos, thepolicy will depend on the firm. There is no rule, per se, and as tattooing becomes more common and prevalent, I suspect some have become more relaxed.”

Some schoolswouldn’t approve of visible tattoos, others would be fine, according toPPTA president Jack Boyle.

“We care about high-quality teaching and children getting the skills, confidence, values and knowledge they need to succeed in life. As far as we are aware, there is no correlation between tattoos and quality of teaching.”

McDonald’shasa similar dress codeto the police,onlyrequesting questionable tattoos bediscreetlycovered, but elements of themedical profession are moretolerant.Nurses at public hospitals are allowedvisible tattoos and moko.

“This is great progress for women,” saysNew Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) spokeswomanKarenColtman.”There are many personal reasons women have tattoos and also they are significant for Maori and Pacific people. It appears it’s not negatively affecting employment options in nursing.”

AurelieLe Gall from Hays Specialist Recruitment encourageshercorporatecandidates to cover-up for first interviews,but she acknowledgesthat companies who reject otherwise suitable candidates on thebasis of their tattoos are considerably narrowing their own candidate pool.

“It is all about maintaining a balance between allowing individuals to be individuals and live the life they want to live outside of workbut refraining from showing off outwardly offensive or controversialtattoos.”

“We certainly see a large proportion of candidates withtattoos.”

There are still notable industry-wideexceptions to this friendly, flexible approach to body art.

At Air New Zealand,”uniformed staff in customer facing roles cannot have visible tattoos”. It is the same at Jetstar.”Tattoos must not be visible when team members are in uniform.”


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Art drives change in attitude to office tattoos –

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