Tattoo artist inks tribute to former leader

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A TATTOOIST claimed he was “compelled” to ink a likeness of Nelson Mandela as a personal tribute to the former South African leader.

Artist Chris Moss made the free offer on his shop’s Facebook page and it was taken up by Gareth Smith, 43, a carpet fitter from Catterick Village in North Yorkshire. Mr Moss took three hours to ink the design, which is about two hands wide, onto Mr Smith’s thigh. The artist who runs the K2 Body Art shop in Richmond, North Yorkshire, was inspired to make the offer after watching tributes to Mr Mandela on television.

He said: “I am a spiritual man and I was compelled to do it. When I decided to do it, I said a prayer and I searched on the computer for ‘iconic images of Nelson Mandela’. I looked through three pages of images and then this one knocked me out.”

Mr Moss mapped the design out in preparation for inking it onto a customer. Mr Smith saw the advert and was delighted to take up the offer.

He said: “I think it is an amazing tattoo. Everyone I know has commented on it and he has caught such a good likeness.”

Mr Smith already has a dragon image on his shoulder which was done by Mr Moss, a former pig farmer who became a tattooist in the wake of the foot and mouth disease outbreak.