A politician and a monk walk into a tattoo parlour...

Mad Monk Tattoo owner Dave Phare after he tattooed George Christensen in February 2014.
Mad Monk Tattoo owner Dave Phare after he tattooed George Christensen in February 2014.

A SPIRITUALLY minded tattoo artist and a conservative National Party politician wouldn't typically see eye to eye ... but that's not the case in Mackay.

On Wednesday, Mad Monk Tattoo owner Dave Phare had his work spread around Australia as a photo of Member for Dawson George Christensen's ink trended on Twitter.

People were shocked to see the tattoo of an icon of Virgin Mary and baby Jesus on Mr Christensen's shoulder as well as him in a Jackie Howe singlet holding a whip.

But Mr Phare, affectionately known as Monk, said the Member for Dawson was not the usual right-wing conservative politician that wouldn't get a tattoo - the pair first bonded talking about spirituality.

"We were just talking about our spirituality and he said he wouldn't mind getting a tattoo of the Mother Mary," he said.

"I called his bluff and got him to come in."

It was a couple of years ago now but Mr Phare remembers talking about the decline in business while working on Mr Christensen for three hours.


"He was picking my brains a bit to find out where things are on the street," he said.

"Because I'm someone who tattoos everyone in town, I get all the lowdown and he wanted to know what was going on.

"We have had quite a lot of discussions since then, he spent time with my family and small business owners at my house."

And business "is absolutely terrible" at the moment for Mr Phare.

He said he has gone from employing five people during the boom to now just an apprentice.

With 15-20 clients a week he is able to do all of the tattoos himself and doesn't mind not having "a chop shop" like he did in the past, but financially it's more difficult.

But he is grateful for the return customers.

When asked what the worst tattoo was for someone to get, Mr Phare didn't take long to find an answer.

"Their partner's name," he said.

"It happens more often than you think. But we like repeat business when they come back to cover it up."

Topics:  business editors picks george christensen mackay money tattoos

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