Remember those temporary tattoos that you got when you were young? Daley's love affair began with those. Now she's an illustrator with most of her tattoos based on her own designs.
Paper planes by Ann Monterroso
How old were you when you started thinking about getting a tattoo?
To be honest, I have probably wanted one since I was about nine. Maybe a lil younger. I know it was definitely around the time I found a love for drawing. I spent all my spare time drawing Dragon Ball Z characters and all my pocket money on magazines or sweets that would include temporary tattoos.
What role do tattoos play in your life?
Weirdly, they are probably my most prized possession. For the past five years, each tattoo I had was designed by myself, to show a different milestone in my life. They tell my story. They made me love myself when times were dark and are a reminder of all I have accomplished and how far I have come. I never get a tattoo without an idea sticking with me for at least six months, mainly because laser removal is expensive, plus I want them to be something I never regret. They definitely have played a huge role in making me become the person that I am at present. I’ll probably be the person who, at 82, is still making memories and telling stories through tattoos.
I find if I tell [people] the story of where and how I got my tattoos they are then interested in knowing more about me.
Do you mind it when people comment on your tattoos?
Not at all! Generally I am quite a shy and anxious person, but I am asked about my tattoos on a daily basis. Why I got it, who did it, why did I make that choice - the questions go on. They’ve become a way for me to easily break the ice when interacting with new people. I truly believe that my tattoos help others understand the way that I am as a person. I work in a cafe/bar in King's Cross and am often approached about the origami paper planes I have on my right arm, done by Ann Monterroso. People usually want to know why and who did them and are pretty nice, saying that they are beautiful. I find if I tell them the story of where and how I got them they are then interested in knowing more about me.
How do you feel before getting a tattoo?
Although I have eight tattoos, I still worry about the pain every time. Usually any fear has gone as soon as the gun touches my skin and I am always excited about it, which outweighs the pain factor.
When you're getting tattooed or right beforehand, do you have any methods for dealing with the pain or preparing for the experience?
About an hour before I have something to eat. There is no other way really to deal with the adrenaline that comes immediately after the session is finished. In the time leading up to it, I would have gone over the idea a million times in my head, so I am sure and certain the design is going to be exactly what I want. Sometimes I look into the artist if they're new. If the pain is too much to bear, it's super easy to distract yourself once you’re in the chair. A good tattoo artist will always be able to tell how you’re feeling, talking you through the process or maybe talking about something random or playing some music to distract you. Every time is different, so there's no real way to prepare for it.
What style of tattooing do you like the most? Are there qualities you look for in a tattoo artist?
I go more for traditional-style tattoos, although I am a massive fan of stick and poke. I especially like line work, so will go for an artist who can put a lot of detail into their piece. At the moment, I am looking at work by Otto Dambra and Thomas Hooper. They are some of the most inspirational artists for me. They both have adopted styles which allow them to be traditional and have complex ways of putting mundane objects together.
Can you tell us a few of the stories behind some of your tattoos and what they mean to you?
When I got my first tattoo (the glasses on my right arm), my ma was super unhappy saying that I had permanently damaged my body and that if she had the money she would pay for it to be removed. So what did I do? I got her birthdate in roman numerals tattooed on me! She hasn't frowned upon any other of my tattoos since!
When I hit a period of depression at university, when I lost faith and it was super hard for me to progress and get to the same level as my peers, I watched a lot of documentaries about music. My gramophone tattoo with the words 'everything that’s worth doing is worth overdoing’, shows my feelings in those times and how I got through it.
My weirdest tattoo for others is probably on the back of my left arm. It’s deciphered by people at first glance in a lot of weird ways. It’s actually one of my favourites as it reminds me of my nan. People at first glance are always confused by what’s coming out of the skull’s mouth. THEY ARE NOT JELLYFISH! They’re rose petals on fire. My hair was as thick as anything when I was younger and it was super hard for me to sit and get it done without crying my eyes out. My nan used to always hum songs and tell me 'pain is beauty'. It took me a long time to understand what she meant, but it's stayed with me.
Check out Daley's illustrations on Instagram