SHE only had a tiny tattoo of a lizard on her shoulder – until she fell in love with her tattoo artist four years ago.

Justyna has since undergone more than 100 hours under the needle of renowned Southampton artist, Eugene Rubuls, in designs covering her entire right side and part of her back.

But for the 35-year-old, the pain was worth it – she has a body she loves, a husband and a change of career.

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Justyna, who has now quit her job as a care worker to become a tattoo artist herself, says: “My passion for tattoos has changed my entire life.

“I believe everything happens for a reason.”

Justyna, who got her first tattoo of a lizard when she turned 18 in Poland, went to see Eugene four years ago to get it covered with an orchid design, but never expected to fall in love.

“It was love at first sight. I was so impressed at his talent and his passion. It was like he was from a totally different world.”

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She kept going back for consultations and soon the pair became friends before their relationship, literally, blossomed.

“We fell in love and Eugene began doing more and more work. I chose the wildlife theme for my tattoos as we’re both huge animal lovers and have respect for every living being.

“One of my favourite quotes is ‘Look deep into nature, and you will understand everything better.’”

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Today Justyna’s body art features everything from flowers, love birds and an ocelot. If she was a paying customer, the work would cost more than £6,000.

The pair got married alone in Mauritius in November and now inspired by Eugene’s love for tattoos, Justyna has perfected her skills to get a job alongside her husband at Ian Ink Studio in Shirley.

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Justyna, smiles: “I always knew I wanted more tattoos, but I didn’t expect the ink to spread that much!

“Tattoos have given me so much confidence and have made me a happier person. I now love every inch of my inked skin.

“Meeting Eugene has totally changed my life. He is my inspiration, best friend and soul mate.

“He proved to me that dreams can come true and I should not be afraid of changes.”

Most evenings Justyna is a canvas for her husband at their Southampton home, but she is hoping to create a floral design on Eugene’s leg soon.

“I will be extremely nervous when it comes to the tattoo on him. He has taught me everything about tattoos.”