The Ink Link – Kurt Solomon

The Ink Link is an ongoing project at CN&CO that showcases tattoos in the workplace. If you or anyone you know would like to be featured, please get in contact with us.


My family has always ​been number one to me and we were all ​close to each other​! ​My ​late ​mom and I were especially close​ and I was definitely a mommy’s boy (although helluva independent and never home).  She was also an incredible role model to me and many people that knew her. ​A week or two before​ my 16th birthday, when we were still living in Durban, ​I was having brunch at Umhlanga Sands hotel​ with my mom and she asked me what I wanted as a present​.

I knew she had already bought me something, as she usually did, but she would try go the extra mile always​. She was quite s​old fashioned in some ways (obviously over-caring) but reasonable. Without hesitation I answered  ​”​I really want a tattoo​ Mom”. Without hesitation she laughed that one off. Undeterred, I drew up a rough design at the table​ ​and showed it to her​. I said to her ​(with all the respect in the world that only a son could have for his mother) ​that I was going to get a tattoo​ whether it was​ now or in 5 years’ time. For that reason I really wanted her to approve of it. After some classic Lebanese negotiating, I managed to twist her arm…kinda. She said I could get one but it could only be 2cm big and on my bum where it wouldn’t be visible. I immediately said “NO WAYS  Mom, whats the point, I am proud of the design and want people to see it!” ​To my amazement, ​she agreed ​to go chat to the tattoo artist and get an in-depth explanation of the process of getting inked!

20160118_114414The plan was to chat with the artist​ and ​potentially book a date ​(if my mom approved of course). The artist was M​ully​,​ a proper surfer-type guy, long blonde hair and very laid back​. His studio was in Umhlanga ​Rocks ​across from Beverly Hills​ with the catchy name of Electric Eye. He had done many celebs’ tats and won numerous awards so I figured he was legit. There were many fascinating pics of his work on the wall but one that caught my attention was the metro police van filled with a dagga​ ​plantation. Mully was extremely proud of that pic…and his home grown plantation which is probably what inspired that tattoo. ​He looked at my design, handed it over to his wife who perfected it on the computer​ while their son sat happily in his cot playing with toys: a proper family business! Then Mully started getting the needles​ ready, sanitising the chair​ and checking on the ink levels. At this point, I was getting the tattoo done, there and then,  much to my mother’s shock and horror.​

I sat down in the chair, faced forward, Mully turned on the machine and started tapping my neck. When he asked if it was sore I arrogantly replied “this is nothing.” He laughed and said “Good man, I haven’t even started”. ​So I got my​ first​ tattoo with my mom beside me, which will always be a special memory.

The design is orientated around my family and consists of  their names. My late dad, MJ Solomon, ​​is at the top and below that is ​ my mom’s maiden name​, AM Harvey. I used her maiden name because her brother​s​ never had any sons​ and I wanted to personally keep that name alive. ​In the middle is my​ brother’s name, Dane, ​who is another role model of mine​. The entire tattoo is in the shape of an eye, as all of us are watching over each other ​always. There is a heart on the left and cross on the right, signifying the love that we have for each other through God.  I decided to get the tattoo at the base of my neck as I thought anywhere else on my body wouldn’t suit the design.

My tattoo hasn’t personally affected my career​ at all (nor in school) ​as it is almost always covered up​ (unfortunately)​. The only time it is visible is when I am maybe being “very social” on a work function dance floor​, running through the streets of Joburg in a speedo or wearing a t-shirt. I think people who have tattoos are judged harshly in the workplace (and in general) today and I disagree strongly with that. More and more people are starting to realise that just because you have ink doesn’t mean you are a convict or thug. A business man in a suit who has a sleeve of tattoos doesn’t make him any less of a respectable person, it merely shows that those tattoos are significant to him in a personal way.

​Would I get more ink? Definitely​, although most likely not a sleeve, it just won’t suit me! I ​do want to get another one at some stage, but it has to be meaningful to me. It will probably involve aspects of my mother​ and grandmother as both have played a massive role in my upbringing and life​. The design may include a bit of a cancer emblem as cancer has had a direct impact on my life but I have yet to decide on a concrete design or where it will be.​ Watch this space! 😉

The final question I often get asked; was it sore? Nope! Although I really psyched myself up and to me it is important to go to a reputable and clean ​artist. Mully was a champ!