So, I had some more work done on the body mural. My tattoo artist is working out of a new studio, and I got to meet a few of the other artists. Walking around nearly topless is a great way to meet people.
I love listening to the professional and not so professional banter between these tattoo people. It’s a whole other culture and I’m down with “alternative” cultures. I listen to music I wouldn’t normally be exposed to and get to swap tattoo stories with other people.
Now, I have noticed that there are 3, basic types of tattoo people. Douchey, twits that think a little ink makes then edgy. Their tattoos have little meaning other than “I was drunk.” or “It looks cool.” Think tramp stamps, tribal arm bands and Chinese script.(Unless you’re Chinese, or seriously into martial arts, these make you look like an idiot in my eyes.)
Masochists who like colorful souvenirs and have a ton of disposable income or a tattoo artists friend. They are covered with ink and always talk about getting more. Their stories vary on the tattoos and they usually have a ton of piercings. It seems to be an addiction. Personalities vary. I met a highly tattooed professional at the shop. If I hadn’t seen the dragon on his skinny, white leg. I would have wondered why this escapee from a cubical was there. Chatting with him briefly, I discovered what a tattoo junkie he was. Some people go to extreme sports for their adrenaline high. Others sit in a chair or lay on a table and have a needle vibrate/stab ink into their skin. Whatever keeps you off the streets at night.
I’m the third type. I fell in love with Ray Bradbury’s The Illustrated Man when I read it as a child. My tattoos are like my art. Each one is a story, a piece of my History or spiritual journey. A dear friend started calling my tattoo work, the body mural. I’m not into pain. Yes, tattoos hurt. Depending on the location and time spent on the area it could go from a minor discomfort to mind altering pain. The longest I’ve ever been able to endure, with breaks, was 3 hours. It was a huge area on my back and when I got home I started to suffer from mild shock. Think of a tattoo as being like a burn. The skin is raw and weeping fluid. It hurts like hell and don’t even look at it! Unless you’re spraying Bactine on it.
I’m looking forward to finishing the back piece. I’ve seen too many people with unfinished tattoos and I don’t know why they don’t get them finished. It drives me crazy. This is the one problem with large pieces. My son wants a sleeve. I advised him to go in pieces and to make sure each piece stands on its own. Don’t get a primadonna tattoo artists who refuses to mix their work with another artist’s.
Tattoo people are diverse and usually very cool people. I got to have a booth at a tattoo show, doing chair massage. I met some trippy people! An arm less tattoo artists who used his feet, a legendary artists in his 80’s and another artist who was a retired Navy Seal. This man was a certified Masochist and covered! He had some interesting stories and was hilarious.
I’ve had strangers compliment me on my tattoos and I’ve complimented strangers on their beautiful work.
I’ve also had creepy guys hit on me because, apparently having tattoos makes you “easy, dirty, and stupid.”
You want to get friendly with a tattooed person? Ask them the story behind their ink. A particular piece is even better. I guarantee you’ll start an interesting conversation.