Tattoo Fixers’ Sketch: ‘Don’t get a giant cock done’

The E4 star offers advice on getting ink and reveals why he’ll never have any of his own tattoos fixed.

Sketch from E4’s Tattoo Fixers – Loaded
Sketch artist The Tattoo Fixers man has become a cover-up specialist from being on the show. Image Photo Channel 4

Despite being one of the best known faces in the country for mending body art calamities, Tattoo Fixers’ Sketch says he’ll never get a cover-up himself.

Sketch, real name Steven Porter, is one of three tattooists on the hit E4 series that specialises in fixing body ink disasters.

But he says he would personally never get a tattoo fixed as each is part of his story.

“The ink that you carry is there for a reason,” he tells Loaded. “Just because I don’t look at it now and think it’s amazing, I did when I got it and I want to carry that memory. I’ve got a lot of tattoos that I did on myself when I first started out that aren’t brilliant, but there’s not one that I’d take away.”

The south Londoner says he sees people as “walking canvasses”, but despite that fact, the 28-year-old father-of-four does admit he’s seen things on the show he has been more than happy to fix.

“I’d never come across someone having a big cock before going on the show,” Sketch explains. “And some of them are massive. You really wonder how the hell they walk around with them in daily life”

Sketch, Jay and Alice from Channel 4’s Tattoo Fixers – Loaded
The fixers Sketch, Jay and Alice from E4’s Tattoo Fixers. Image Photo Channel 4

So what advice would he offer someone to avoid a visit to a fixer?

“Well don’t go out and get a giant cock done,” he laughs. “But it really depends who you are. I wouldn’t say not to get a stupid tattoo, but definitely think about what you want to get. Look at an artist’s portfolio and make sure they’ve got the style you’re looking for.

“You can get a really crap tattoo that’s done really well. It often isn’t the artist that’s the problem, it’s the person that’s come up with the design idea. So make sure it’s something you know you’re going to want in the future.”

He also has interesting advice for dealing with tattoo pain.

“It’s funny but I’m absolutely terrible at getting tattoos,” he explains. “I’m just in agony and have no threshold for it, but I do have an active imagination. If you can you’ve got to remove yourself from the reality of it.

“You really wonder how the hell do they walk around with that in daily life”

“I just do a bit of a Buddhist monk thing and take myself to a really nice place like a nudist beach.”

Sketch, who stars on the show alongside Jay Hutton and Alice Perrin, was picked from 500 candidates for the cast, and says he feels its been such a hit because of the chemistry between the three artists.

“Jay’s definitely a life-long friend,” he explains. “They took us to a pub before the show started and within twenty-minutes of meeting each other you could tell it was just going to be a nightmare for the people trying to film us.

“The show works so well as it’s not too serious. We’re looking at the crap side of tattoos and stupid things, plus we all like taking the mickey out of each other.”

Tattoo Fixers has been worth some good laughs, with a girl recently going on to have an inking of Keith Lemon on her arse turned into a much more tasteful Native American design. Sketch says his funniest story so far though is Sam Stringer, who had ‘#topcunt’ tattooed on his back.

Sketch and Jay from Channel 4’s Tattoo Fixers – Loaded
Lifelong friends Sketch says he’s found a mate for life in Jay. Image Photo Instagram

“It was hilarious because of the story that went behind it,” Sketch explains. “He said he was just trying to pull some girls.”

However, the show does have a serious side too. During its first season, soldier Andy Gran appeared after losing a leg whilst serving in Afghanistan as a Royal Marine. His Liverpool FC tattoo was left reading ‘you’ll never walk’ after he lost the word ‘alone’ on his knee. Vicky Balch who was on The Smiler carriage that malfunctioned Alton Towers in June was also on the new series.

But the emotional aspect of these stories, Sketch says it’s still a part of the job that he can take some pleasure from.

“All you can do is listen to their story,” he explains. “You’re like an old bartender. You let them get anything they want to get off their chests and then try to give them a good memory of something that was bad for them. Most of the time it’s great to see how happy they are afterwards.”

Sketch opened his studio Reppin Ink in south London in 2011, and since the show started has seen a huge boom in clients there. He’s also gone on to win a number of awards including first place at Croydon Tattoo Show last year.

“I just take myself to a really nice place like a nudist beach”

“All I’m really doing are cover ups now,” he says. “But the show is demonstrating to people that most things can be fixed. We’ve had people come in and say that studios have told them there’s nothing that can be done. The programme gives them a chance to see that with the right manipulation, pretty much anything can. You’ve just got to work out a way to get it over the top.”

But despite specialising in cover ups for some time now, Sketch still sees things that continue to amaze him.

“I had someone come into my studio with a girls name and ‘I love you’ written underneath it the other day,” he explains. “He wanted to cover it with a big heart, and his girlfriend’s name around it.

“I asked if it was his wife and he told me he’d been with her for three weeks and that he wanted to make a statement. I was amazed,” he concludes. “You can only advise, but sometimes you’re left stood thinking: ‘Is this not why we’re here in the first place?’”

Tattoo Fixers airs Tuesday evenings on E4 at 9pm.

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Loaded reporter Robert McCallum has written for many leading culture magazines and websites about music, sport, science, politics, fashion and arts. Follow Robert at @therobmccallum

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