Sue Maffullo looks forward to the day she can sit her grandchildren in her lap and share the stories of her life.
And already she has the illustrations - etched in her skin.
‘’I’m a walking story book,’’ Sue says.
‘’Obviously I have a few more chapters … but I love it… having my story written all over my body.’’
Sue loves tattoos plain and simple. She got her first ink at 23 and her chosen profession means she can live and breathe body art.
As the ‘’Girl Boss’’ at Crown Ink in Wollongong - she has the knuckle tats to prove it - she is better placed than most to avoid any flak for her heavily inked limbs and neck.
‘’I got into the tattoo industry about 10 years ago,’’ Sue explains.
‘’I had a lucky break. I started as an apprentice and got the opportunity to buy the business.’’
Sue and her husband Mick are now in the process of opening another Crown Ink in Narellan.
Sue says clients at the Crown St business often follow trends, but some just stick to their own style and personal desire.
Generally speaking though, young female customers love the typical small symbols like tiny hearts, crosses, infinity symbols and small quotes and words.
Men from about 25 to 40 – ‘’the tradies, white collar and gym boys’’ – are into the ‘’full black and grey full sleeve work’’.
‘’Teens are more into the different custom pieces being drawn up for them, like geometric, dot work and neo traditional pieces,’’ Sue said.
‘’I chose to get tattoos as a form of expression on my body because I like them personally for one, and being a tattoo artist in the industry, for my work I suppose - as a walking advertisement.
‘’I’m an artist myself and having them displayed on my body is a great way to carry them around with me all the time.’’
Two of her favourites are the tiny drawings her children drew for her when they were six-years-old.
‘’I was sick of all the little drawings falling off my fridge, so I copied them and put them on my body.’’
The letters ‘’PMA’’ on her hand are another favourite - to remind her each day to have a positive mental attitude.
‘’Sometimes we need a kick in the butt, sometimes you need a reminder,’’ she says. ‘’To wake up seeing that, reminded that in everything you do is a good thing.’’
Sue’s two children Ella, 15, and Ethan, 13, lover her tattoos.
‘’I told them both that I have to be the one who gives them their first tattoo when they're old enough,’’ she says.
Sue is one of 12 Illawarra woman sharing her story for the Mercury series More Than Skin Deep. More at illawarramercury.com.au