One of the things that consistently surprises people who have recently met me, is the amount of tattoos I currently own.
That number would be one.
People see me, then catch a glimpse of my itty bitty bit of ink and then ask the inevitable next question “So what else have you got?”
I guess that is not so unfair. The only time anyone gets a glimpse of my tattoo is when I am in a skirt, shorter pants, or without my ubiquitous Harley boots. I am pretty solid across the rest of my hems, being in the traditionally stiff business I work in, so it is not too big of a stretch of the imagination to assume “that strange goth chick” is hiding more than that. I used to answer with a “well, just one for now…” or “you know how it is with the business…” but now I simply have stopped bothering. You get a “Yup!” and I move on. There are a few reasons for this that anyone who has never received one or WANTED to receive one seem to blank out on.
First place, I hate flash. Not on other people! Just on me. I just cannot wrap my head around wandering in and pointing at something a hundred other dudes MAY have and saying “yes, please”. I just….can’t. Therefore, the process is that much more involved for me. Bring in my idea, rough sketch (drawing is not my deal), and waiting to see what the artist draws up. Many artists won’t even attempt to draw anything up unless you pay them first, and then GOD HELP YOU if you don’t like it. Or, at least that was MY personal bad experience with it. I understand them not wanting you to wander to another shop with their art, but to throw a hissy when I ask for changes to the PERMANENT piece I am asking you to put on me? That is where I draw lines.
Secondly, I am a black and white girl. Shading only, no strange colours, nothing like that. I am also a diagnosed OCD girl with a chronic need to check, check, check. In shops this means I want to see your certifications, your proof of clean, all that good stuff. I need to look through books and see examples of this sort of work. I need to see if you specialize in one thing or show prowess in different styles. I grew up in Japan. All my future planned pieces reflect this. I need someone who can do the work well using ONLY two colours and with the style necessary. If you cannot show it to me, and won’t draw an example without a huge amount of cash to prove your my guy/gal if it is not in your portfolio, sadly I must continue my quest.
Most shops contain multiple artists who seem to work on commission. This means that the minute you walk in the door, you are beset by free artists looking for some money. Are these the one’s who fit your needs? Will they be keen on letting you figure that out? Depends on the shop. As I still have one little piece, my personal experience is a big fat no. I was in a shop in Colorado Springs, and actually was BERATED for wanting to check out other artist’s books by the available dude. On what I had clearly stated was an information gathering trip that would possibly result in future appointment. Perhaps that shop held the artist that would complete me and wander away with hundreds of my dollars. Too bad for him, as his buddy lost it with his “too cool, my book is the only book you need to see” ‘tude.
I have also have had the worst tattoo experience ever. The tattoo artist who thought my art was too simple and not worth his time. From the “Is that it?” in a disdaining tone of voice to the ten minute session that resulted in something that only approached the transfer he shoved on me, the entire experience left a sour taste that perhaps influences my over analyzing of shops and their keepers (AND he wanted a bloody tip on top of it!). In addition to any new pieces, I will eventually need to have some upkeep done on the current bit, as it is a little obvious where the gent lost his interest. Sadly, the area that the interest was lost in seems, to my untrained eye, a bit difficult to fix.
To a certain extent, I am not terribly upset. I have saved money and kept my personal ideals. My body is modified based on religious needs, and the one I have fulfills them all by itself (slightly wonky or not); it really does not NEED friends.
I just miss the sound and feel of the needle. Gods, I love that noise.