I was covered in tattoos by 18 but dont want any more as people keep staring

A tattoo artist who covered her own body in ink by the time she was 18 has admitted that she didn’t put much thought into how it would impact her life.

Cleo Kinnaman’s childhood was spent globetrotting between various locations including Brussels, Sweden and LA, before she embarked on a career as a tattoo artist at the young age of 14.

Now a contemporary artist based in the US, Cleo has over 210,000 Instagram followers and is also an ambassador for charity WaterAid.

READ MORE:Dad who inked body black is unrecognisable before tattoos – when he was 7st heavier

As well as making a living tattooing other people’s skin, Cleo’s own body is covered in artwork which often results in strangers passing judgement on her.

“I got tattooed really quickly, so by the time I was 18, I was pretty much covered; I almost looked the way I do now,” she recalled, speaking on the Heavily Inked YouTube channel.

“So for me, I’ve looked this way for so long that I don’t really identify with my tattoos anymore.

“If I didn’t have any today, I’m not even sure I would get any. Maybe some small ones but there wasn’t an aesthetic I was chasing.”

Cleo admitted that she hadn’t put too much thought into how people might react when they saw her in public.

In particular, the tattoo artist looked back on the time she had got her neck and hands inked in the winter, before being surprised at people’s reaction when she suddenly had more skin on show.

“Then summer came around, I walked with my mother in the city centre, I remember catching everyone’s eyes, and I could tell that they all had been staring at me,” she explained.

“I told my mother, ‘I need to go home, it’s too stressful’, because I wasn’t counting on the attention, and she just looked at me like, ‘what were you expecting?’

“It took years for me to feel comfortable because people stop you, people want to talk. A lot of people don’t know what they want to talk to you about so tattoos are the first thing.

“I like doing what I want when I want, and if you get a lot of attention – if you have a lot of tattoos then people are going to pay attention to you – you kind of lose your anonymity a little bit.”

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Cleo has now accepted that she didn’t have many plans to increase the amount of artwork on her body in the future.

“I’m kind of over it,” she observed. “It sucks, it just hurts. I can’t do more than three or four hours.”


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