SCOTLAND’S top tattoo artist is to represent Norway as well as his homeland at the world’s most prestigious body art event.
Max MacAndrews, 39, originally from Peebles, moved to the Norwegian city of Tromsø in 2010.
The tatoo artist has developed such a huge fan base there – including Miss Norway 2011 – that he has been chosen to represent them at the New York International Tattoo Convention.
Tattoo fans from all over Norway have travelled to Tromsø, inside the Arctic Circle, to get inked and a fan said the decision to have him represent the country was a “no-brainer”.
Max, who has almost 19 years experience, was the first tatoo artist from the UK to be invited to the prestigious event.
Now he will represent both Scotland and his adopted homeland for the first time.
The talented artist got the call to attend the event just two weeks ago.
“It’s a very formal procedure. They normally call you up to invite you, and then they send a letter to make it official. It’s the kind of event that if you’re invited, you just drop everything to go.
“The event is invite only so this is really the highlight of my career. It is very prestigious and is smack bang in the middle of Times Square. They only ever call the best of the best so I feel very privileged to have been asked.
“This is my seventh year in a row visiting the conference, but it is the first time that I am officially representing Norway as well as Scotland, it’s very exciting.
“I struggled to find cheap flights but you just have to drop everything and get there no matter what.”
The conference will be a collection of the world’s biggest names in the tattoo industry who will compete for a number of tattoo titles.
Miss Norway 2011, Anna Zahl , has had several tattoos inked by Max, including a large one on her leg which reads “tranquility” in English.
She said: “When I saw his work, it was a no-brainer.”
“Norwegians are a reserved and not very outspoken people but Max has truly made his mark as an honest, hard-working guy who gets along with everyone.
“People take the time to travel from the southern regions to get inked by Max, and I think he is considered one of the best tattoo artists inNorway. To represent Scotland, as well as Norway, is a true honour.”
Speaking about his decision to quit Scotland for Tromsø, he said: “I knew the first moment I visited that this was the place I wanted to be.
“The sacrifice was enormous and most who knew me thought I was mental. I had it all and I walked away from it because I found my place in the world, inNorway. “
The 39-year-old has inked several famous people in the past.
“I’ve done work on two different Miss Norways, models, actors, porn stars, and I’ve been approached by the president of Universal Studios, Ron Meyer. I’ve also done work on FHM models and ESPN sports presenters. There’s been quite a few major names in the past.
Prices for Max’s work can start from £100-per-hour but vary depending on the designs.
“I don’t like to put price tags on anything I do, because then it just comes down to a price war and that’s not what tattoos are about.”
Tattoo enthusiasts travel from all over the world to have Max work on them.
He said: “I had a client who flew in from the states and I worked on him for four days and then he flew home. Clients fly from Scotland all the time to have work done on them. It’s not easy to get here, it takes three plane journeys, but they think it’s worth it which is great.
“I travel every year to have my tattoos done by a Japanese artist so I understand why people travel from far and wide to get what they want done. They money is worth it and they’ll save for months and months to get here.”
He added: “I see tattooing as a way of giving ordinary people a piece of handmade art they can take wherever they go, even to the grave.”
The New York International Tattoo Convention will take place from May 18-20.