Here’s the weird thing about Matthew, the founder and owner of Crow & Butterfly Tattoo Hull. He is a bespoke tattoo artist, and a post operative Transman of 17 years. So why does that matter?
He told us that "A lot of people tell me I’m really brave for transitioning. While I appreciate this, I don’t feel brave. I did this for me, no one else." he says no family or friends could have changed his mind. He believes you get back what you put into the world and says he tries to put good thing in.
Many transgender people experience social exclusion, in various ways in which they remain socially marginalised, and because of that many are usually unable to express their identities in the public sphere. The mainstream at large is often afraid of people who are 'different' or gender ambiguous. This makes gender exclusion a very major problem. Gender ambiguous people are challenged to able to successfully 'pass' as male or female.
Mathew says he knows how this feels. He relates to transwomen feeling different in a binary gender specific world. Mathew says "The need to pass was and still is the most important part of my social transition." Through this challenge he turned to art of tattooing to express himself on his body whilst masculinising himself through art.
"Sometimes there’s no better way to express yourself than through a tattoo, especially if it's a body positive tattoo."
Although getting inked is a commitment to say the least, the results of sporting an amazing tattoo can be absolutely life-changing. One of the services Mathew offers is feminisation and masculinisation of tattoos specifically for Trans customers, in a safe, private, non judgmental and comfortable space.
"I’ve been drawing since I was, like, two years old. I’ve been drawing for years, but I started tattooing 4 years ago, after mum died suddenly of cancer. Through the encouragement of my girlfriend this gave me the push to fulfil my dreams of being a tattooist." Mathew understands that life is too short, and although he's not been in this business for a very long time has established himself myself well. He is currently rated the third best tattoo shop in Hull.
Mathew has a degree in Art & Design, specialising in 3D Design, He is a versatile artist and enjoys all aspects of tattooing. And, he is self-taught.
He had to figure it out himself, navigating challenges. This seems poetic since transpeople have to navigate challenges everyday.
Mathew said thta "l like to think that my work speaks for itself, which counts for something as customers keep coming back for my art work." People are more educated now because of the TV shows. They don’t walk into a tattoo studio and say I want a design off the wall. They say I want something custom, which is where Mathew thrives. He provides a one off, totally custom design from Crow and Butterfly Tattoo Hull, which he feels reflects the person being tattooed more personally.
He says he constantly strives for personal growth. That has led him to becoming better at what he does, everyday. Not only that, but it made him appreciate what he does even more.
He says that an open mind has helped him in his transition and his art.
You may wonder why we spotlighted a transman on a transwoman magazine. Because in the end, our stories of self-journey, the need to find self are similar, even as the life experiences may be different. We an all learn from each other.
Find out more about Crow and Butterfly, info, there website, social links and contact. see them in our directory here.