The Ink Link is an ongoing project at CN&CO that showcases the diversity of tattoos. One of the great things about a tattoo is that it goes against the commonly-held viewpoint that “what you see is what you get”. There’s a misguided belief in certain quarters that only “some” people get a tattoo. 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.

We met Blythe Linger a couple of months ago through our association with the Shakespeare Schools Festival (which – as we can’t emphasise enough – is totally fabulous). When we met, we saw some peek-a-boo evidence of ink and sent Blythe a few questions about his tats. Here are his responses…

Tell us a little about your personal and/or professional life – job, hobbies, interests, family, etc.

I guess the better question is, “What personal life?” I spend most of my time working; you will always find me on my phone, behind my laptop or in a rehearsal room doing something to make money… with a cup of coffee in my hand of course.

I always struggle to explain this to people when they ask me what I do. The best title I can give myself is an arts administrator, just because it is simply too difficult to pin down one task or skill that I use. On any given day I will go from negotiating an artist’s fee with a producer, reading, amending and signing contracts, to drawing up budgets, doing a financial recon of projects within the arts, designing social media posts, sourcing costumes, planing logistics of international tours and the list goes on and on. It is for this reason that I use the title arts administrator. I do everything that requires business, creativity and administration.

Thank goodness I have a fiancé, Kiroshan Naidoo, who works just as hard as I do – if not harder! He is an amazingly talented actor and often reminds me that I need to have fun and let loose!

Blythe contemplating his next 25 tattoos

A lot of the people I work with don’t know that I have flown my solo flight while training to get my private pilot’s licence when I was younger and I am also classically trained in guitar and play a variety of instruments. I love music!

What tattoo/s do you have?

I am getting 25 more tattoos in the next few weeks, but I currently have a few tattoos – a compass over my heart/chest, and my own name (yes, I was young when I had this done).

I have a large flight route around my whole upper body, with all of my favourite aeroplanes on it, along with international airport codes that I have flown to. I also have a phrase “more than just words”.

What was the inspiration behind your tattoo/s?

I personally only like getting tattoos that have a meaning to me as my tattoos are for myself and not necessarily for showing off. I got my name tattooed on myself when I was younger. This may seem like a terrible idea, but looking back I realise that I didn’t have a sense of guidance or sense of belonging in my environment while I was growing up. At times I felt that all I had was me; all I had was Blythe.

The other inspirations are mostly my love for travel and aviation. And lastly, I am a firm believer in more than just words; talk is cheap. “Keep us from just speaking and move us into action.”

Which tattoo parlour and/or artist did you go to?

Majority of my tattoos are done by Chris, who was at Body Architects in Cape Town. 

Any interesting stories about where/when you got your ink?

I absolutely hate getting the tattoos done! it is painful and I have a really low pain threshold. BUT! once they are on it is all worth it! I often wish that there was a way I could be tattooed while asleep. My last tattoo lasted 4,5 hours in one sitting and I was sweating!

Was there any response from your family and friends?

Those who are lucky enough to come across my name tattoed along the V-line leading to my groin often laugh and ask if I am scared of forgetting my name. I guess that one has kind of gotten old.

A MacBook and coffee are two elements that will feature in Blythe’s future tattoo

Other than that, my mother is never keen for me to get more tattoos. It’s the first thing she asks me whenever she sees me, if I have a new one. She also complains about my stretchies/tunnels that I have in my ears.

What was the response to your tattoo/s in your professional environment?

None of my tattoos really show when I wear shirts, which is kind of always the case. BUT! I am currently on a mission to find an artist to do a sleeve that is made up of random objects that feature in my life like my MacBook, coffee, avocado, my sphinx cat and many others. I will not be able to hide those as easily.

That being said I have never tried to hide them; I work in a creative space and my tattoos are a form of self-expression. We also live in a time where the taboo of having tattoos in professional spaces is becoming less. I mean, I would choose a heart surgeon who has a sleeve over one who doesn’t in a flash. Wouldn’t you?