A TATTOO artist proved he has an eye for design by winning two top awards at a festival celebrating the skill.
Paul Egan, who has a tattoo parlour in Hartlepool, received the praise at the recent Peterlee Tattoo Convention.
He did not go along himself, but two of his subjects were given prizes for his designs.
Tom Hay won best male sleeve and Paul Jackson won best Celtic or tribal tattoo.
Mr Egan said: “I’m delighted to get these two awards as it is always good for your work to be appreciated.
“Lots of people ask for these kind of designs now. They are very intricate and take a lot of time, but they do look great.
“These are the first awards I have won as I don’t usually enter. It’s a job that I do because I love it so much.”
Both of the intricate pieces of work took several sittings with each man having to endure 24 hours of needlework.
They are both Polynesian designs, which Paul says has become his “niche” at his Wishful Inkin parlour, in Murray Street.
The dad-of-three, from Haswell Avenue, Hartlepool, has mastered the art form after first picking up a tattooing tool 13 years ago.
Paul, who is married to Elaine, 32, had been working as a DJ on the Greek island of Corfu for eight years when he befriended a Hartlepool couple who visited there on holiday.
Paul, who is originally from Fleetwood, near Blackpool, said: “They asked me to start drawing designs and I ended up coming to Hartlepool to work in their shop for a few years.
“I’ve had my own place now for 10 years and it has gone really well. Business is good as tattoos are really popular now.
“I get people of all ages coming in to get one done.
“You are always trying to perfect things and always learning. There’s so many people doing it now, but it is an art form and it takes a lot of time and work to be good at it.”
The 10th annual Peterlee Tattoo Convention was held at Peterlee Leisure Centre, in St Cuthbert’s Way, at the end of last month.
Scores of enthusiasts took part in the event that had a Las Vegas theme.
Overseas tattooists from countries including Norway, Poland, Bulgaria, the United Arab Emirates and South Africa were among the exhibitors.