Davo Wieckowski's first tattoo isn't his best, but he loves it all the same.
A wizard on his lower leg, he did it himself with a tattoo gun he made out of a slot-car controller.
He was just 16 at the time, and although it took three days and hurt like hell, he didn't want to stop.
With a plush studio in Tuncurry these days he's come a long way since then, but his journey here certainly hasn't lacked any colour.
After following up that first tattoo with a few more of his own, Davo bought a tattoo gun and graduated to tattooing his friends and family, before a relationship led him from Sydney to Perth.
In need of money, he started charging for his services, making enough to get by.
Then he hit the road.
Spending the better part of the next 10 years hitchhiking around Australia, he often ended up tattooing the same people giving him a ride.
"It was great," he remembered.
"I'd go back to their place, tattoo them, get a bed, a feed, and a good time meeting people."
As fun as the lifestyle was, Davo knew it couldn't go on forever, but it wasn't until he landed in Forster that he found a place to settle down.
"I only came here to tattoo someone," he said.
"But I love it. It's my favourite place."
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With the laws around being a tattoo artist tightening, Davo applied for a license and became a fully-qualified operator.
He opened the Dr Goodpain studio three years ago and has been welcoming new customers ever since.
But while he now has the responsibility of running his own business, he hardly sees what he does as work.
"It's an adrenaline rush," he said.
"It's a very satisfying job."
Passionate about the art form, he doesn't favour one style over another, but instead enjoys the challenge of interpreting people's ideas and creating something unique.
And while he believed improvements in technology had made his job easier, he said it definitely wasn't something just anyone could do.
"You either have it or you don't," he said.
"I was born with a gift."
He believes a big part of that gift lies not just in understanding everyone has different skin, but in knowing how to work the skin.
Understanding the settings on the machines and what needles to use is crucial as well.
Around a year ago he took on fellow artist Brett Nicholson, who's been learning the ropes from Davo and impressing plenty of customers.
"He's an amazing artist," Davo said.
"It's been great watching him grow."
Aside from the laws and technology, the other thing that's changed is the public's attitude towards tattoos, which Davo is obviously stoked about.
"Just because you've got a tattoo doesn't mean you're bad," he said.
"I'm doing school teachers. I'm doing elderly people. It's gorgeous to see."
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There's also a therapeutic side to what Davo does that he finds immensely rewarding.
Over the years he's helped 'slashers', or people who cut themselves, by turning them onto the experience of getting tattooed, which in turn has brought them a far less destructive form of relief.
He's also worked on burn victims, bringing colour and beauty to their damaged skin.
"We actually help a lot of people," he said.
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