In memory of Sheila May
Sheila May started tattooing in 1966. Becoming a cosmetic artist and finally opening a studio in 1978 exclusively for ladies, creating pastel feminine tattoos together with permanent make up.
Initially friends and colleagues thought she was crazy and that her work, with its working class connotations, would never be accepted by the upper echelons of the beauty industry! However she kept in mind the great George Burchett, Tattooist of the 1930s who was probably the first to apply permanent make up to the high society ladies of the day.
As her business grew she began to receive referrals from MDs for scar coverage as well as permanent make up. Her work was regarded as the best in the country and what made May’s work so good is the fact that no matter what she called herself she was a TATTOOIST first and foremostly!
For year Ms May struggled with the working class associations of the tattoo world & so coined the phrase `derma pigmentation’ to avoid the stigma associated with tattoo parlours! She no longer called herself a tattooist but in the end she had to admit with pride, that she was indeed just that, a tattooist. Doctors who carried out cosmetic tattooing also referred to it as micro pigment implantation or derma pigmentation, anything but tattooing.
Like all the great tattooists, Sheila May always ensured she used the very finest tattoo machines and pigments in order to obtain the best possible results.
Doctors found that even though they were masters of the scalpel, they really didn’t know much about tattoo equipment or technique and eventually had to admit that it takes years of experience and an artistic eye to apply a good tattoo and cosmetic reconstructive tattoos are just that!