Geoff Deakin faces losing his Richmond tattoo
but you can be a pig with a
conviction...crap or what ...
Feel the Steel faces axe: Tattoo shop
operators Paul Surridge and Geoff Deakin are fighting to
keep the business open after what they believe is unfair
targetting of Mr Deakin by licensing authorities. Picture:
RICHMOND tattooist Geoff Deakin faces losing
his business, Feel the Steel, despite operating it for seven
years without any complaints or any problems with the law.
On August 18, NSW Fair Trading contacted him
to state that under new licensing laws, he was not considered a
fit person to be operating a tattoo shop.
Mr Deakin, 34, said it was because of a
non-custodial, criminal conviction recorded when he was 22.
He said it was for a non-violent offence and
he has never been in jail or in trouble with the law since.
‘‘I was young and I was punished for the
offence,’’ Mr Deakin said. ‘‘To be punished again doesn’t seem
He said the law, enacted in 2013, was aimed at
breaking up criminal bikie gangs.
But he said he never had any ties with
criminals. ‘‘I’m a businessman and a family man now,’’ Mr Deakin
‘‘I’ve been tattooing for 12 years and there’s
never been an incident.’’
His business partner and subcontractor, Paul
Surridge, said Feel the Steel’s closure would punish him and his
‘‘I have a mortgage in Kurrajong, where I
moved two years ago, and two children in day care,’’ Mr Surridge
‘‘I’m 41 and tattooing is the only way I can
make a living. If the shop closes I will probably lose my
He also said it was ironic Mr Deakin’s past
conviction could prevent him continuing his chosen career.
‘‘Tattooing is the reason Geoff has turned his
life around,’’ Mr Surridge said.
‘‘Taking that away from him is just silly.’’
Both men said it was unfortunate that tattoo
shops had a poor image of being associated with criminal gangs.
‘‘I don’t smoke or drink and I’ve never been
in trouble with the law,’’ Mr Surridge said.
‘‘I like this work and I hate the stigma
attached to it.’’
Mr Deakin said it was about more than making a
‘‘This is our life; we work hard and we’re
dedicated,’’ he said.
‘‘We’ve won awards; we’re passionate about
Mr Surridge said many customers called Feel
the Steel the best tattoo shop in the Sydney basin.
‘‘We want people to feel they can walk in here
and get the best artwork they want,’’ he said.
Mr Deakin and Mr Surridge are working on an
appeal against the closure, to be heard in the NSW Civil and
Administrative Tribunal on October 30.
They said they were touched by so many
businesses and customers supporting them.
Hawkesbury MP Dominic Perrottet said he
referred Mr Deakin’s concerns to Better Regulation Minister
Victor Dominello and would inform him once he received a reply.
‘‘I understand and appreciate the concerns
raised by Geoff Deakin,’’ Mr Perrottet said.
‘‘Local businesses make an important
contribution to our community.’’
The Gazette also contacted Fair Trading, and
was referred to the NSW Police who referred us to the
The Attorney-General's office was contacted on
September 14, and has yet to respond at 10:14am, September 22,
the publication time of this story online.