Doc Price got his first tattoo in 1962
Doc Price got his first tattoo – saying 'Mother' – in 1962, and started working full time just two years later.
And more than half a century on he is still welcoming clients to his studio in Plymouth, Devon.
Mr Price was the star attraction during the opening of exhibition charting the history of British tattooing at the National Maritime Museum, Falmouth in Cornwall.
He says he has witnessed dramatic changes to the industry since first inking a sailor in 1950.
It has gone from almost a dead form to being probably the most prolific, most popular way people are dressing themselves
He said his first clients were all prostitutes and his strangest ever request was for a man's will to be tattooed on his back.
Among the other memorable incidents were being asked to add a 'scar' to a British intelligence officer who wanted to join the IRA.
He has also seen some mistakes in his time – including having to tell a client they had 'Windows 7' inked on their body in Chinese writing instead of their partner's name.
Mr Price, of Plymouth, said: "It has gone from almost a dead form to being probably the most prolific, most popular way people are dressing themselves.
Mr Price says he has witnessed dramatic changes to the industry
"Young people are dressing themselves to the world today – and it is just fabulous.
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"The quality is enormously good and the versatility is wonderful. It has gone from being something interesting to being something very important to people.
"The strangest request was being asked to do a will on a man's back. When he died, they buried him – and his will."
Mr Price first opened his own tattoo studio in 1970 and has followed his passion for body art across the globe, judging at international conventions in Japan, Australia and the United States.
He added: "My interest in tattooing was instigated by a former sailor that I met whilst working as a potter.
"He had a tattoo of a butterfly on his hand and I thought it must have been magic to put that into the skin.
"That was my first seed. My second was to get tattooed by a chap called Billy Knight in Cardiff. That was my first initiation into the world of tattoos.
"It's faded now, but it said 'Mother', as they usually do.
Doc Price opened his own tattoo studio in 1970
"The industry is phenomenal now though. It's world-wide."
As a seasoned tattoo artist, Mr Price has observed many different schools and traditions of tattooing – from old school, to modern, to new school with old concepts, to Polynesian and to Japanese kabuki.
He remembers once dealing with a disturbed British Intelligence worker who entered his shop one afternoon with a loaded weapon.
He said: "This chap came in and said he was working for British Intelligence. He wanted a tattoo of a small scar beside his left eye.
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"Scars were not totally uncommon. We did a few for some people who wanted to look like they were gangsters, or hard men.
"He was immaculately dressed, really well spoken and he had this small briefcase. I thought this was all a bit odd so I quickly put a call in with a local police officer I knew and tipped him off."
While the police officer waited outside, Mr Price completed the tattoo and charged the man for his services.
As he opened his briefcase, he described his shock at seeing a large pistol the size of "a chair" inside.
Doc Price has seen his share of tattoo mistakes in his time
He said: "I thought 'Oh, Christ' – that police officer outside won't be armed! He doesn't know this guy is carrying a weapon, why would he?
"I thought, how can I let this officer know? Anyway, the man with the scar tattoo left and the policeman came back in the following day to explain what had happened.
"They had followed him after he left and found out he was based at Sandhurst.
"He was British Intelligence, but had done the Walter Mitty and lost his senses. He suffered from apparitions and mental issues.
Chinese symbols have become an incredibly popular choice of tattoo in the Western world
"Apparently, he thought he was going to get in with the IRA with this scar on his face!"
Chinese symbols have also become an incredibly popular choice of tattoo in the Western world over the past decade – but can have cruel consequences.
Mr Price added: "This chap I knew had his girlfriend's name tattooed on the back of his neck – or rather, what he thought was his girlfriend's name.
"But my girlfriend, who is from Thailand, wasn't so sure. So we took him to see a friend of ours who is Chinese and we asked her, 'what does this say here?'
"She looked at it and said, 'why have you got a tattoo of Windows 7 on your neck?' We couldn't stop laughing."