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As part of Women’s Month, I knew I wanted to do a focus on women who have achieved a lot in an industry that is predominantly run by men.  Instagram has been a great tool to search & look for inspiration of ideas of women who are pushing boundaries, achieving what was previously unachievable, & pretty much just rocking at life in general!

Tory is one of these amazing women.  I have been following her for some time & her style of tattooing is something that has literally drawn me to her since the very first image I saw.  Tattoos are something I have always been interested in & I always admire people’s pieces of art when we are out & about.  People have a lot of opinions about tattoos, their meaning & who gets them; so if you are one of those judgemental people then maybe it is better that you don’t carry on reading.  Make sure you follow her FB page here.

I got my first tattoo just before my 21st birthday.  It is 5 stars, & the word KARMA – an acronym of our family’s initials. Family has always been everything to me & I wanted something to remember this.  When my mum found out, she literally walked out of the shop that we were in & left me behind in the change room with no handbag or cellphone.  She was really not impressed!  I am the “naughty” one in the family for having tattoos, even though I have tried to explain the meaning & significance behind each of them.  They are a reminder of the importance of certain things in my life, how I have survived what I was not meant to have, & the inner fight that all women possess to get them through difficult times.395742_10151287187295198_882887635_n38492191_10160512065170198_154205449233629184_nWhatsApp Image 2018-08-12 at 09.52.50

According to Wiki, “A tattoo is a form of body modification where a design is made by inserting ink, dyes and pigments, either indelible or temporary, into the dermis layer of the skin to change the pigment. The art of making tattoos is tattooing.”

People are now using tattoos as a way of expressing themselves, showing their individuality & as a symbolic reason.  Whereas in earlier days tattoos were often seeing as something that only sailors owned, these are seen on a daily basis now on women & men, young & old.

But now, onto my interview with the amazing Tory – da da daaaaaaaaa…


Full name:  Tory Sutherland-Dadds

How long have you been doing this for:  Been doing this 12 years now this last July. Need to have a party

What made you get into this:  I have always loved art and drawing since my earliest memories, and I just love skin as a canvas. I was building homemade machines at around 13 years old which I was strictly forbidden from using on myself or any other person.  To add to that…have just always loved tattoos and had no doubt about what I wanted to do.

What is your favourite tattoo:  My favorite tattoo was a leg sleeve I did on a friend a couple years after I started. Every session was so much fun, and we had so many laughs along the way. She gave me free reign to do whatever I wanted and we landed up winning ‘Best full leg’ at Ink and Iron with that piece in 2011.

What style of tattoos is your favourite:  I absolutely love doing large, detailed black and grey pieces. I also LOVE doing pointillism pieces, and watercolour tattoos are incredibly fun as well. It’s so hard to decide, because I also love doing very fine, intricate line work. I just love tattoos!

How many tattoos do you have:  I lost count of my tattoos when I was around 19/20. And it’s difficult to count as well. I have a sleeve made up of smaller pieces, so is that one piece, or do we count each individual piece? If we count individuals, I counted about 40 when I was 25ish, and I’ve had a lot more done since then.

What advice do you have for people who want to get a tattoo:  Research artists and find the one they love. Get a quote and save for whatever their price is. Cheap tattoos are not good, because the top quality equipment, inks and needles are not cheap. It’s investing in yourself in one of the most visible and lasting ways, so don’t go cheap!

A funny tattoo story:  I have only ever really made one horrible mistake on a tattoo in 2010. It was on a girl named Candi, on a posterized Marilyn Monroe portrait. I got distracted by a query at the door and colored black on the nose where it should have been light grey. I freaked out and told her what had happened, and she giggled in response saying she was sure I would sort it out. I did manage to sort it out by tattooing white into it, and that tattoo made part of a sleeve that one us ‘Best black and grey’ and ‘Best overall tattooed female’ at a convention. She is also now my best friend in the world.WhatsApp Image 2018-08-11 at 21.01.41

The quote that I live by is my primary school motto: “Be first that you may be of service”

The best way is to whatsapp me on this number (0795797385) with any queries or bookings!

Thank you so much Tory for taking the time to answer my questions, & for just being absolutely amazing!  You are inspiring & so so creative.  I have loved chatting to you – & thank you for paving the way for more women in South Africa that want to get into this industry & can grow through your example.


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