Justin Borg: The man with the face tattoos

Ten questions for someone with face tattoos

Justin Borg: The man with the face tattoos
Justin Borg: The man with the face tattoos
Justin Borg: The man with the face tattoos

When did you get your first tattoo?

I think I got my first tattoo when I was 22. I started from up here and I continued slightly below it, then I stopped because I wasn’t really sure what I was going to get, and then I continued here and till now I still don’t know how I’m going to continue that’s why this part is still empty.

Have you ever been turned down from a job for the way you look?

Yes I have. I tried getting into the army, nowadays they’re accepting them more. I tried becoming a fireman, I had long hair and a long beard, they first told me ‘because of your hair’, then because of the beard, and then they started hinting about the tattoos  I went to the interview for nothing, but it passed as well. I never had a problem working in construction, I have been working there for 14 years, and I also worked in shops without any problems.

Justin Borg: Photo by James Bianchi
Justin Borg: Photo by James Bianchi

Do you think people find your tattoos sexy?

I don’t know, girls can tell you that…

Do you believe that someone with a face tattoo can still be fit for jobs like doctors, lawyers and police work?

I think it’s more of an issue on how the clients of, for example doctors, feel about tattoos and they feel a little uncomfortable about it. But whoever it is, beyond work he has his own life and style, and there is nothing wrong with it. But not everyone sees it that way.

What did your mum say when you got your face tattooed?

It was a little bit rough, and she was taken aback, but nowadays they are getting used to it, and whenever I have a new piece, they are now excited to see what I tattooed, even my siblings, not as it was before.

I started tattooing on my arm, then my third tattoo was on my neck and I didn’t have anywhere else, then I started tattooing more extreme tattoos. She does tell me to think twice about tattooing, even more than twice but at the end of the day I have my own life and I make my own decisions.

Photo by James Bianchi
Photo by James Bianchi

Isn’t getting tattooed in the face too painful to be worth the trouble of it all?

It does hurt; had I been fine without it, I wouldn’t have tattooed it. I had long hair and shaved it to tattoo my head – a lot of years waiting and caring for my hair to grow that long and one day I woke up, I had been planning it for long, I woke up one morning and said I will shave my head and start the process. I started booking appointments and nowadays I’ve completed my head tattoos.

Why did you get your head tattooed?

 I like it a lot, it’s something which not everyone can have, and I always admired the tattoos people had in foreign conventions.

Do you get looked at with suspicion because of your face tattoos?

Yes, yes, yes, restaurants mostly, you see people nudging each other in the leg or the elbow, because someone with tattoos entered the room.

I don’t bother myself with children, they are innocent, but the adults… Sometimes you wonder how adults act in such a way. Once we were in a restaurant, we were out as friends, and one of my friends saw someone who was dining there, who stood up and came behind me to make sure he was seeing someone with tattoos on his head.

In the beginning, it was a little bit… I knew what I was putting myself into, but nowadays it has become something normal to see someone look at you three times because you have tattoos.

If you had kids would you let them get face tattoos?

First and foremost, he has to be 18 or older, and still at that age you’re still young and foolish and if he decides to start tattooing and he happens to be like me and he starts liking them, then it’s his decision to make. I’m still going to warn him about work and people. I can tell him that because I’ve experienced it first hand but at the end of the day its his decision.

If you could remove all your tattoos and start fresh, what would you tattoo?

Photo by James Bianchi
Photo by James Bianchi

I think I would re-do the majority of my current tattoos, but I have old-school pieces here and there, and I would tattoo more blackwork style. It’s a darker style of tattooing where the skin is barely visible; sometimes you see tattoo sleeves which are completely black.

What is the general public’s perception on tattoos?

There is still stigma, but we have improved a lot, but you still find people who think that way like airports, not only in Malta, when you’re leaving or arriving, while passing through the scanner, they would be sure that you don’t have anything on you, but they still search you, even the way security personnel look at you.