Ethical vegan bodybuilder Mr Universe embarks on career change as a tattoo artist offering cruelty-free ink

Read Time:   |  20th February 2017

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Ethical vegan champion bodybuilder, Mr Universe, has turned his hand to the tattoo gun and is now working as a tattoo artist offering cruelty-free inks to conscious customers.

Photo: Barny du Plessis

Champion bodybuilder Barny du Plessis has competed in almost 60 shows during his 20 year career flexing his muscles on stage, and in the process has picked up numerous national and international bodybuilding titles, including the prestigious Mr Universe in 2014.

But now Barny is trying his hand at something new and has embarked on a career change, offering cruelty-free tattoos at Demon Inkorporation tattoo and piercing studio in London.

Tattoos are often unsuitable for those concerned about animal welfare as the inks can contain ingredients derived from animals, and artists often practice on pig skin before tattooing onto human skin. This is good news for Barny as his phone has been ringing off the hook for bookings, despite only being in the early stages of his career as vegan tattoo artists, and artists using cruelty-free inks can be hard to come by.

Photo: Barny du Plessis

Speaking to The Metro, Barny says: ‘I am a keen, recently qualified tattoo artist working now at Demon Inkorporation in New Eltham. I’m already getting bookings from vegans far and wide who are prepared to travel just to get a vegan tattoo by a vegan artist. I am still junior so my skills are still quite basic, but time and experience will develop my abilities.’

He says: ‘At Demon Ink I am the only vegan artist and supplier of vegan tattoo products. The studio is happy to include this important aspect and service as they are aware of the need in the growing marketplace.’

But that doesn’t mean you have to be vegan to get a tattoo from Barny, as he says his tattoos are for all – regardless of whether they eat meat or not: ‘Both Demon studios use vegan certified inks already anyway, as they’re of better quality. I offer tattoos to everyone not just vegans.’

Photo: Barny du Plessis

This change in career may come as a surprise to some, but the former bodybuilder explains how he decided to pursue a career in tattooing.

He says: ‘Whilst on our six-month sabbatical in Spain a few years ago, my wife Josie and I had time to reflect and seriously think about our lives and our futures. It was apparent that we had spent the majority of our time pursuing a career in the bodybuilding and fitness industry in various degrees. We were under no illusions that we weren’t getting any younger and our years left as competitive athletes, and able to work a high output of physical capacity for years to come were limited. In the knowledge that the fitness industry was changing and was heading in a direction, we didn’t particularly want to be a part of it anymore.

Photo: Barny du Plessis

‘This made us think we needed to act quick about what we realistically were able to do at our age and our level of skills. As I had limited time, choice and funds available to me, Josie mentioned that I should consider tattooing. Luckily we were friends with Barry and Karen Saunders who are the owners of Demon Inkorporation tattoo studios.’


You can get tattooed by him at the studio in New Eltham, open Tuesday to Saturday 9.30am-6pm. As a junior artist, Barny offers tattoos at a reduced rate for a short while before going full price.

Source: The Metro

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