Armed With Compassion – My Vegan Tattoos

By Chantelle Leach

I have a confession. I used to hate tattoos. But, I also used to enjoy Foie Gras; things change.

Not only am I now vegan (so Fois Gras is definitely off the menu), I am also covered in tattoos, and not only that, my tattoos are vegan.

I don’t just mean the ink my tattooist uses is vegan, or that he sanitises my tattoos with vegan-friendly products – that’s a given; I am referring to the recurring vegan theme that my tattoos possess. Even though I have a number of tattoos (on my legs mostly) from my pre-vegan days, most of my tattoos are now on my arms. I have an entire sleeve dedicated to veganism.

Now comes my second confession. Even when I started getting tattoos, I was completely against the idea of having any tattoos anywhere else on my body, aside from my legs. I mean, what would my tattoos look like when I’m older? How would I get a job with an arm full of tattoos? What would my dad say? These are just some of the questions that are thrown around when people without tattoos speak to those with them.

So why did I decide to get an arm sleeve? Veganism is the reason. I am so passionate about the cause – I practically live and breathe veganism. I applied for my job at Vegan Life Magazine because of this passion; I wanted to dedicate as many aspects of my life as possible to veganism (and yes, I had tattoos when I got the job). Therefore, it felt right to ‘show off’ about veganism through artwork that people can relate to. I wanted tattoos that could be admired but also spark interest and potentially initiate a vegan-related conversation.

On a recent holiday to France, people were literally gawping at mine and my partner’s heavily-tattooed arms and we got stopped in the street by people who wanted to tell us how lovely my tattoos were. Hopefully, the content was not lost on them and they noted that these ‘pretty’ tattoos were telling them a very vegan message.

My tattoos are designed by my tattoo artist Tom Kelly (@tom13kelly on instagram) – although the iconic image on my arm ‘We Can Do It’ was influenced by the artist Alba Paris.

Now that tattoos are becoming more acceptable, events such as The London Tattoo Convention are a huge deal to those who enjoy body art. Equally, with veganism on the rise, there is more call for vegan-friendly tattooists, tattoo ink and aftercare. Cruelty-free is a big deal now, too, as although not everyone is vegan, many people oppose animal testing. Showcasing this increased compassion in the cosmetics field, cruelty-free and vegan brands such as Killer Ink Tattoo, Yayo Familia and Electric Ink will be taking a stand at this year’s convention.

While, vegan tattooed celebrities, such as Monami Frost and Miami Ink tattooist, Kat Von D, are considered modern-day icons by vegans and non-vegans alike. They do a great job of promoting the cause through their work with cruelty-free and vegan beauty products, and merchandise such as vegan cookery books. In the latest issue of Vegan Life Magazine (October 2018, Issue 43), we feature an article about Kat Kichime, a 10-year vegan and tattooist, who like myself, uses tattoos to promote the cause.

Gone are the days when tattooed females were considered spectacles – pushed to the margins of society. Likewise, gone are the days when vegans are viewed as malnourished, tree hugging hippies (well, almost).

Tattoos are admired by an influential generation – a generation that aren’t so stuck in their ways that they can’t admire a decent piece of body art. Yeah sure, there are still some who will judge you for your tattooing decisions and at some point in your life, you will probably get a few rude comments about your tattoos. This is merely a reflection of other people’s close mindedness and lack of common courtesy.

The London Tattoo Convention is a great way to meet like-minded people, find out about new products and tattoo styles, and maybe even provide an opportunity for you to get a new tattoo or even your first tattoo. The event spans over three days (28th, 29th and 30th September) and of course, you don’t have to be tattooed to attend. There are even vegan food options at the event.

Take a look at the website to book your tickets and check out the impressive list of exhibitors including artists, suppliers and traders, or to enter our competition to win tickets to the event, click here.


The lifestyle magazine written by vegans for vegans.