Story #1: SKIN DEEP (Dropping Feb 20)

Skin Deep started as a casual conversation between friends. A bunch of us on the Betanarratives team were talking about getting inked at sixteen and forever after being asked how we’d feel about our “foolish decision” when we turned sixty. What started as a couple of laughs and aimless speculations about the future turned into a mini-social experiment in which we searched for sixty-year olds covered in tatts dating back to their teenage years and asked them how they felt about their ink today. These dining table conversations between the elderly and the young turned into a fascinating journey into the world of tattoo culture. We had the honour of interviewing, filming and illustrating Bev Robinson (also known by her stage name, Cindy Ray), a legend in the tattoo industry, who started off her career as a tattooed model and unexpectedly ended up as the first female tattoo artist in Australia. We also interviewed John Kenney, a man with tattoos scrawled over every inch of his body (including his tongue, eyelids and eyeballs). Both of them were fascinating subjects and both of their stories reminded us how tattoos—permanent marks in an age of impermanence—can represent the desire to control the uncontrollable.

The finished piece is not only a feat of beautifully sensitive and inquisitive writing on Brendan McDougall’s part but is also an all-consuming experience to interact with involving html5 parallax scrolling, mesmerising documentary style film (by Angeline Armstrong and Simon Gilberg), illustrated and animated re-interpretations of real-life tattoos (by Meg Gough-Brooks) and beautiful soundscapes (by Esmond Angeles). We hope you like it very much.

Jessica Yu
Editor-in-Chief of Betanarratives