When trainees start out on the wrestling scene and begin to gain a little traction they will almost certainly always be labeled as ‘up and coming’. Ian Skinner has been in this category for long enough now, continuing to impress on a consistent basis, and when shows eventually do get back up and running it will only be a short matter of time before he breaks into the next stage of his career, becoming a major draw for the big boys in the business. So I better take my chance to get a few words with him now while he’s still approachable and not too busy to talk to an amateur ‘interviewer’ like myself.
Ian, welcome, thank you for taking the time to talk to me. I’m going to try and veer away as much as possible from the usual questions and rather focus on the stories behind your tattoos if that’s ok? Can we start with an obvious one though? What tattoos have you got?
“So my first tattoo was a cool comic style Nightwing symbol on my shoulder, then I got the Sigil of Leviathan and Lucifer on my back, then a comic-y Shibata on my chest, a tribute to my dog on my calf and most recently I filled in space on my shoulder with some mazes and cool sh*t.”
You’re my second interview in SWN’s Behind the Art tattoo series and I’m amazed once again by the variety of tattoos that people have. What interests you in getting inked?
“I’ve always been interested in body art – whenever I’d play Tony Hawk’s games, I’d always give my characters cool tattoos and shtuff. It’s kinda like putting your passions into your skin and making it permanent.”
When did you get your tattoos?
“I timestamp all my tattoos like a lil’ Easter egg, so Nightwing was 18, the occultist sh*t was 21 , Shibata was 22, my dog and my shoulder filler was 23. As the tattoo shows me, my first tattoo, I was 18 – it must have been April 2013 or so.”
Who did them for you and how long did they take?
“The semiotics on my back were 2 hours or so, my first tattoo was like 3-4 hours and my other tattoos have taken about 3 hours.”
Do you enjoy the whole process of getting a tattoo?
“In all honesty, the permanentness of the tattoos sometimes causes me major anxiety – like I’ll be second guessing myself like “is this what I want” over and over – it’s good to chat nonsense with the artist and it definitely gets uncomfortable towards the end of sessions – not gonna lie.”
Let’s slow the interview down a bit now and talk about what you’ve got then. You got your Nightwing tattoo when you were 18. Was that about the time you started wrestling training? Did you get that tattoo because you felt like training to become a wrestler was like being a trainee superhero or am I reading too much into it? Is it just that you’re a big Batman fan?
“The Nightwing tattoo is because I’m a HUGE Batman fan. I don’t know whether it was the animated series or the movies that drew me in as a kid, but Nightwing from the animated series always made me be like “yeah! He’s super cool and independent” – I’d been living away from my parents for the first time when I got this tattoo, so it felt like Robin had left the nest and become Nightwing y’know? The semiotic stays with me, if you look at some of the designs on my trunks – you’ll see the bird on them.“
The Sigil of Leviathan and Lucifer. Please, if you can. Tell me what fascinated you enough to get yourself branded by the mark of the devil?
“So I got into Satanism and alternative ideologies through the music I listen to. Hardcore and Deathcore are rife with counter culture ideologies and that’s what I see these semiotics as. I’m not very cool with organised religion or forcing beliefs upon people. The Sigil of Leviathan rang true to me because it is that kinda “power of the human spirit and mortal energy” semiotic. (Also coloured blue and yellow like a superhero’s costume). The sigil of Lucifier, probably angsty as anything but it’s a semiotic of a fallen angel – like it’s a cool semiotic and it’s got a cool story behind it (depending on what story you read).”
That sounds interesting. I’ll have to look into that further… I listened to the podcast that you did with Billy for this very website earlier in the year and it was abundantly obvious that you love Japanese wrestling just with the pure enthusiasm that you talked about it, and as your tattoo shows you have particular love for Katsuyori Shibata. What is it about him that inspires you?
“Katsuyori Shibata on my chest, he captured my passion and love for wrestling and aspiring to be like his has been a driving force in my career. My heart aches for I’ll never be able to get in the ring with him or see him do his work live (fingers crossed however). Fighting Spirit is about having a strong heart and fighting forward – the image of him sitting crossed legged, having his moment of peace after a victory kinda resonates with me personally. Whether it’s acting, comedy or wrestling – it’s all go 100%, 100mph until it’s over… then it’s time to reflect, close your eyes and relax.”
Talking of reflection. I’m an animal lover and was heartbroken when I lost my pet a couple of years ago. But they never truly leave you do they? What was your dogs name and just how special was he/she to you?
“My dog was called Broxie, he was a rescue dog from the Edinburgh dog and cat home. The day we got him, I didn’t know we were getting a dog until we arrived, we walked along all these different cages and my parents were drawn to him because he was shy and a bit timid. He was a member of the family at the end of the day, he passed away the night I made my debut. I regret not visiting home that year for Christmas but I’ll always have the memories. The photo used for reference is actually taken from the last photo I took with him.”
Animals are just great aren’t they?… Just to back track a little now. Occultist symbols are not my specialist subject as I’m sure you could tell but while trying to do my research on the Sigil of Leviathan and Lucifer tattoos I came across the Squared Circle symbol, which is a nice tie in to wrestling I don’t know if you’ve seen it or not. Might want to get that one too to add to your collection, haha. Are there any tattoos that you’re jealous off? Any more planned?
“I had to look up the Squared Circle myself and an even weirder link is – it’s called the Philosopher’s Stone. Granted to me, it’s a cool ass symbol – from a philosophical stand it means to look four directions up, down, inside and out. That’s pretty mint!
Wanna get damaged across my forehead…. kidding. There’s a tattoo @jd_tattoo posted on the 20th August, it’s like a full body torso piece with some maze designs and more sleek line work.
I love me some dot and line work – so something along that.
A concrete idea I’ve got cemented in my head is an Oni Mask tattooed on my knee – that’d be rad.”
Ian Skinner, thank you for your time.