Tattoo artist Byron Pearman has more reason than most to hope Middlesbrough Football Club are promoted back to the Premier League this season.
The last promotion brought a queue of fans wanting permanent “Up the Boro” mementoes. This time – with the opening of his own shop in the town’s Dundas Market – Byron sees success for the team as a handy kick-start for his new business, Beardy Giant Tattoos.
Thirty-six-year-old Byron, who is well over six feet tall, chose the name before his beard was shaved off for charity. Although his facial hair is not quite what it was, his passion for tattoos – he has 20 – remains.
“As long as I can remember I wanted tattoos and I started getting some as soon as I was old enough. Through that I started drawing and speaking to people in the industry and got into it that way,” he said.
He grew up in Gloucestershire, came to Middlesbrough to study, and stayed. He qualified as a lifeguard and gym instructor and managed a leisure centre in Stockton.
“While I was doing that I was doing my apprenticeship. I’d go to work from 6am until 2pm in the leisure centre and do the rest of the day in a tattoo shop and practice drawing at home,” he said.
His first job as a professional tattoo artist was with The Festival Shop in the Dundas Shopping Centre, which decided to stop offering tattoos two years ago. Byron is now back at the Dundas Shopping Centre, just a short walk away, in the indoor market.
“It’s the sort of place that suits a tattooist,” he said. “Working for myself I’ll be able to give people a good quality product for a decent price.”
Byron specialises in “old school” tattoos – hearts, daggers and swallows – but is an accomplished artist in a variety of styles. “I tattoo using both an electric machine and also by hand,” he said. “I believe I am the only person in Middlesbrough also offering hand poke and Tebori-style tattooing.”
When he was young he said he was attracted by the rebellious aspect of having a tattoo. “That’s not so apparent anymore because everybody has them,” he said. “In the past there were probably the same number of people being tattooed – bank managers, office workers – but they didn’t display them. Going further back, the Victorians were some of the most heavily tattooed people going.”
The opening of Beardy Giant Tattoos has been supported by Dundas Market’s manager David Harris. “It’s good to see a familiar face back here and all of us, but especially the people at The Festival Shop, and other traders who already know Byron, wish him the best of luck,” he said.
“Part of the success of the market is the sense of community generated by all the businesses – and I know Byron will fit in very well.
“Although space on our market is at a premium, I am still are keen to hear from new and established retailers, especially from the types of business we know are in demand and which will enhance our offer. I would be especially interested in hearing from greengrocers, bakers, ethnic food suppliers, vintage memorabilia retailers, sweets sellers, and fruit juice or milkshake bar operators.
“Start-up businesses can rent one of a small number of Enterprise Units. They cost from just £60 per week and are available on a short term tenancy agreement.”
Dundas Indoor Market is located in the Dundas Shopping Centre where all the shops offer value for money, from national brands like B&M, Fulton Foods and Cooplands to well-known local independents like The Festival Shop, Tik Tok, Homefair Blinds, Buckshees Military Surplus, LD Printing and Miss Unique, many of which started life trading in Dundas Market.