At Ego, a UK Artist Rebuilds the Tattoo Machine to Save the Hand That Inks

Athletes have ACL and hamstring injuries; astronauts have muscle atrophy and radiation exposure – many professions with unique physical challenges come with corresponding ailments. Although you may be surprised to hear it, tattoo artistry is no different.

“Arthritis and other rheumatic diseases are common not only in tattooists but in anybody holding something like a pen or pencil for prolonged periods of time,” says Richard Beston, known professionally as ‘Bez’.

“When we draw or write, our grip uses more muscle power than we’re aware of, which causes strain to the body,” he says. “When we use a weighted, vibrating tattoo machine, the strain is amplified, so there’s more potential for health complications. Conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome are common in tattooists and can mean a short career.”

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