The Ink Link: Jonathan Plank and his ‘Disciples’

The Ink Link is an ongoing project at CN&CO that showcases tattoos in the workplace. One of the great things about a tattoo is it goes against the commonly-held viewpoint that “what you see is what you get”. There’s a misguided belief in certain quarters that in order to be a working professional, it is categorically *impossible* to have a tattoo…because how can someone with a tattoo be a professional? We are putting paid to that perception through the stories showcased in the Ink Link. If you or anyone you know would like to be featured, please get in contact with us. In this edition, we profile Disciples Ink Tattoo Parlor and its satisfied customers. 

Being a lifestyle business, we have the privilege of interacting and mingling with people from all kinds of industries from the corporate world of insurance to the artsy tattoo industry. Founded in 2008 by Jonathan Plank and his wife Lindie Plank, Disciples Ink Tattoo is a tattoo parlor started in Richards Bay in KZN. Since its inception, Disciples Ink Tattoo has had tremendous success, leading to Jono having to open a few more shops in Durbanville and Stellenbosch where he is currently based.

The team of nine prides itself on giving customers a professional and comfortable environment to ensure customers are at ease- which is important, especially for first timers. The highly skilled team is dedicated to giving the customer an awesome experience and tattoos they LOVE! It is no wonder Disciples Ink Tattoo is the shop of choice for Carel; read more about Carel’s tattoos in his InkLink.

With the growth and success of his shops, Jono and his team have been receiving rave reviews for their exceptional service and talents. Here are some InkLink stories and some of the praises.

  • Lindie Plank is Jono’s wife and co-owner of Disciples Ink Tattoo

“I was born an artist. No matter where I went in life, the beauty of art always followed me. I got my first tattoo when I was 15, it was a small butterfly on my hip and have been adding to myself ever since.

I love my tattoos, they are an expression of who I am- colorful, happy and fun are words I can use to describe me.

My favorite tattoo is a neo traditional swan and roses on my left upper arm. Its bold lines and lots of colour. My husband did the tattoo and I just love it. 

With professional tattoo studios and health regulations, everyone is getting tattooed or thinking of having one done. People are inspired by family, loved ones, memorials and simply their passions in life and it is showing in what one chooses as a tattoo.

Lawyers, doctors, engineers, teachers, nurses, winemakers, business owners, no matter their background are getting tattooed as it has become socially acceptable. 

Tattoos do not change who you are, they merely add to your awesomeness!

Annarene is a maths tutor by day and a writer in her spare time.

I have four large tattoos on my legs, one of which was done by Jono. I got my first tattoo when I was 15 years old (which I never recommend to the teenagers I work with) and drifted from artist to artist until I discovered Jono. He did a beautiful rendition of cherry blossoms on my left leg in remembrance of my late father. It has by far received the most compliments and has the most meaning for me.

I have since taken my husband to Jono for his first tattoo as well as one of my best friends. Regardless of the fact that Jono’s work is stunning, he is warm and welcoming to everyone who walks into his studio. For me there is also a highly religious aspect as we share a common belief and I can rest assured that no malice is poured into my skin.

I am getting my first tattoo on one of my arms this year and it was a difficult decision as to where to place it. For many years I walked around with jeans or long dresses at work because I feared rejection or repulsion from my manager and our customers. However, for the last three years I have started wearing more revealing clothes more often. Not one customer has expressed disgust or left because of my tattoos. In fact, many parents have even complimented them.

Over December I started dying my hair blue and I’ve had multiple piercings in my ears since high school. One parent was surprised at my hair colour but still phones in frequently to ask my opinion on hair colours and piercings.

I believe that the notion that visible tattoos and piercings will lead to loss of business is not true anymore. It is usually prejudice exacted by employer or co-worker which costs people like us our jobs and not because of clients.

Doreen is a native of Stellenbosch and a huge fan tattoos

“I was born and grew up in Stellenbosch, still live in the legendary street, Dorp Street, Stellenbosch. Growing up I always wanted tattoos.

I got my first tattoo at the age of 37. I remember telling my husband I am going for a tattoo on my upper leg and he said I showed him my hand (thinking this will be the size of the tattoo). Jono Plank was recommended by someone I know, I made an appointment with him long before I went.

I first thought it would be a good idea to contact the guy who designs my husband’s wine label to create a 1950s pin-up, Harley tattoo for me. I soon realized that you should rather be in charge of your own design – and this guy is a genius label designer, for the record.

One cold winters’ day, I visited Jono and Lindie Plank from Disciples Ink  for my first outline work. I really loved spending time with these two. I think their hearts are genuinely made out of gold. Jono’s a brilliant artist. By the way, if someone says it’s not sore – they are either lying or just being brave. I spend the first four hours getting tattooed and ended up with a huge tattoo covering my entire thigh. I remember my husband’s face when I returned home, but he loved it. In the meantime, he got a full back piece.

I do not think tattoos must always have a meaning. As long as you use the best artist for you and feel proud of what you are wearing on your skin. Like I said, I like the 1950s theme, being a Harley rider, some Harley signature and loving the pin-up look. I have six tattoos and I recently started getting something small in every country I visit.

Tattoos in the workplace.

Let’s be honest, HR manager and tattoos do not belong in the same sentence. I remember years ago I had this incident where a colleague came to work a few times with a visible tattoo and as her HR manager, I had to ask her to cover it. Long after she resigned we attended a friend’s 40th birthday where she worked at as a staff member. I had on a summers dress and all you saw was tattoos. She must have thought I am the biggest hypocrite ever. I had a good giggle though.

Stellenbosch is definitely not ready for tattoos. Not yet. It’s getting better, but I can still see the confusion in people’s eyes when we walk into a fine dining restaurant and you are covered in tattoos. Then you just kill them with kindness and smile, smile, smile.
If it wasn’t for my career, I would probably have a full sleeve. For now, I keep them covered at work and show them off proudly when I go out.”


Peter Barnard: “The first project I undertook with Jono was the wolf. It represents a few things for me.

Firstly, that it’s okay to be strong on your own, that you don’t need to belong anywhere in order to achieve. I guess that was born out of never really fitting in.

Secondly, there’s a link to the moon that I like. When I was younger, and went through some bad times, there was always this sense of comfort at strength that I found when the moon was out. One evening, when I was lying on the ground after a bad night and felt I’d hit rock bottom, the moon was full and shining bright. A wave of comfort and calm washed over me, and that feeling has always been there whenever I see a full moon.

Lastly, it’s important to be true to yourself. Be true to your nature, and don’t let others define you. That’s a slippery slope you can get lost going down; when eventually you wake up one day and have no idea who you are because you’ve let others tell you what to be.

The second project was the dragon / tiger / crane. That was an extension of the Taiji symbol that I already had. The Taiji symbol talks back to a style of kung fu that I am fairly proficient in, is a written form of the ying yang symbol, and effectively means the balance of life. Being a lawyer, it’s easy to lose that – so I like the reminder.

The extension of the dragon, tiger and crane talks back to the kung fu style, how you learn it, and effectively is a metaphor for life.

The dragon represents power and form, the tiger movement and the shifting from one form to another, and the crane is middle point, knowledge, to tie it all together.

With such awesome reviews, Disciples Ink Tattoos is not only the place to go for some amazing ink but also stellar piercings. If you find yourself at any of the locations, Jono and his team are offering some great deals on piercings. The winter piercing special runs from June-July. Also keep abreast with the studio on Instagram (@jonoplank_tattoo).