Finally getting the tattoo I'm proud of
This is just my story about a tattoo I've always wanted to get (well, let's not say always, but for the past five years), and perhaps a warning about getting a tattoo as well.
I was raised on a 30 foot sail boat when I was a kid, and for twelve years we lived strictly off the sea and what the sea could provide for us. We travelled through South America typically, though to get there from Canada was a long journey through the US and then the Bahamas. That part of my life is something I hold very close to me because it helped shape me as the person I am today, and living like that opened my eyes to all kinds of life and all the people that make up our planet. When I was thirteen, we came back to Vancouver, BC, and my sister and I went to high school. The dramatic change from how I grew up, and then the culture of living in a city was ridiculous and stunned me. It took me years to stop missing the sea and my life style before, but finally I managed to identify who I was and what I wanted out of life, but I can always remember never wanting to forget where I'm truly from.
When I first moved off of the boat, I remember hearing how Sailors used to get tattoos of birds, because the rumour goes that when you're lost at sea, all you have to do is look for a bird and you know your close to land, and after 11 years of living at sea and surviving a man would get a bird tattooed on him. Now, I'm not a man, but I knew at 13 what I wanted for a tattoo. My dad had a tattoo of a bird on his arm, and it literally became my main focus that at 18 I would get my own tattoo.
So I waited, and then finally on my 18th birthday I looked for a tattoo shop. I knew I wanted two Swallows, one on each side of my chest. I knew I wanted them to not be traditional, I wanted colours, and for it to be representative of me. So having never gotten a tattoo before, I found a shop in the area I lived in. It was clean, the guy seemed knowledgeable enough, and it all seemed great. Then, things just started to get suspicious. First of all, he not only didn't draw the tattoo, he used a stencil off of the internet, which I shrugged off (despite telling me he would draw it there for me), then as he started the outline he asked me if I had any percocets that I could trade for tattoos...now, come ON. I don't care what you do in your spare time, but really? asking a customer? Well, he couldn't finish the tattoos all in one sitting, so he told me to come back two days later. I didn't really understand at the time that two days isn't long enough for your already damaged skin to heal, and my skin in particular refused to take ink. When I came back and the colour wouldn't stay in my skin, he just pressed HARDER with the needle, and repeatedly went over the same spot. I just told him i'd come back in a week. I came back, he put in the rest of the colour fine, but I was pretty disappointed. Some of the lines were off, the colour was a mess, and it was just flat out WRONG. I never heard tell of that guy again, his shop went out of business a month later and he moved.
I was honestly devastated, these were my first tattoos and probably some of the most meaningful i'll ever get. They weren't completely a loss, the outline was decent, but the colour was just ridiculous looking. Now, I'm not sure whose more stupid -- the tattoo artist, or me for not just getting up and walking right out of the shop from the moment he asked me for drugs. Now I was back in University, and I really couldn't afford a re-build done by another tattoo artist.
Almost six months later, when I could afford it, I researched tattoo places, this time thoroughly. I found an amazing tattoo place called Outworld Tattoos in the city near where I live, with two tattoo artists that were trained in Ontario. They were really professional, they cleaned up all the lines on my tattoo, fixed the colour completely, and I loved them so much I went back to get more tattoos! I was devastated when the tattoos I had wanted for so long turned out so bad, but they truly made them into the work of art I wanted them to be!
So my piece of advice: Always do your research on a tattoo artist, many are brilliant, but there are always the few pill heads with a clean shop and a tattoo gun!
submitted by: kaylam_
on: 12 March 2011
in Old School (and Old) Tattoos