Using his own collection of life-saving instruments as inspiration for the past two and a half years, Matt has paid some serious visit-time to his tattooist, and there's apparently no end in sight as long as he sees plain, untouched skin. But don’t ask him which is his favourite — like a proud father he loves them all dearly and equally.
Vice: What's with the medical equipment obsession?
Matt: I’ve always liked medical instruments, probably from
spending a lot of time as a child in hospitals. I’m not scared of hospitals or
What did you get first?
I got my diabetic tattoo before I went on holidays to
Mexico to traipse around on donkeys. It says “I am an insulin dependent diabetic. If I seem drunk give me
So, what started out
as something serious, has turned into something really serious?
Yes. Now when I see my leg I don’t see the tattooed space, I
see the un-tattooed space.
How many instruments
have you got?
I've got a tethoscope, reflex hammer, otoscope, sphygmomanometer,
forceps, a bone saw, oxygen mask, latex gloves, surgical string, skin grafting
razor, trephine skull drill, a medical warning label, and a syringe.
Surely your tattooist
gets really excited whenever you go in.
We have a really good relationship. I take the instruments
from my collection, or otherwise photographs of the instruments, and we talk together about
where they should go. I also have a collection of old medical instrument
catalogues with really cool illustrations. She gets a bit nervous because I’m a
very discerning customer.
Does it help you study, cos you’re like an encyclopaedia of medical tools?
I hadn’t thought of that… that’s a good idea.
Any concern you might freak people out?
Well I don’t think I’ll ever be turning up to work wearing hot-pants, but yeah they have freaked people out before. So be it.
HELEN J GROSEPHOTOS BY MARTY WHITSITT