AN OLDBURY man with 80 tattoos, has become a tattoo artist after being shunned by a succession of employers due to his appearance.

Retail worker, David Bruce, 22, fears other tattooed youngsters will be also stigmatised after he was forced to leave his job in retail after being told he was unsuitable for the shop floor.

The trained artist, finished college to pursue employment in 2008. However, attitudes changed when he went from having no tattoos, to 80 in two years.

Bad comments and strange glances from customers meant Mr Bruce was removed from the shopfloor into the stockrooms, so that he would be out of sight.

Mr Bruce said: “I had nothing but hassle from management because the tattoos didn’t match the working environment and I was forced to cover them. When I got more, I was completely removed from the shop-floor and put into the stockroom out of view of the customers.”

Mr Bruce fears he, and other tattooed members of his generation, may now have restricted himself in the employment market.

He said: “When I started looking for jobs, I had a problem finding people that would take on tattooed people. I then looked into setting up my own business so that I would be self-employed to save anyone judging me at job interviews.

“I am comfortable because I’m in an artist working environment, so people can appreciate the tattoos.”

He also said: “I can understand why my prospects aren't going to be good because of the tattoos but the problem is that the media have portrayed young people in a demeaning manner, which means more companies are less likely to employ young workers."