Another good reason to get a professional...
pon a time, a young man by the name of Kenny de Frank decided that he couldn't wait any longer to be a tattoo artist, so, at fifteen years old, he made for himself a tattoo gun with a ball-point pen, a needle, remote control car motor, a series of rubber bands, and India ink. I was slightly impressed as he did all of this without having seen any plans for a gun. Next, he came up with a few great designs, and wanted to actually ink them. The problem with this was rather simple: Kenny was living in a group home with me. The caretakers at the Berean Home are straight-laced Christians who obviously didn't approve of body art. Earrings weren't even allowed there, much less some of the piercings I was used to seeing every day on my friends. Tattoos were definitely taboo. He experimented without ink for a while on himself, to get the feel of the gun. Most of the guys watched him, thinking it would be so cool to get their girl's name tattooed on their arm, or to ink a rebel flag on their chest. Kenny's room was next to mine, so most of the time, the comforting buzz of the machine put me to sleep.
Anyway, after a while he convinced a few of the guys to allow him to do some work on them, producing some semi-decent work. The guy who lived on the far end of the hallway had tRu inked in an arch over his stomach. Another guy had "thug life" done on his arm. The idiot on the OTHER end of the hall, had a crappy tattoo, because it's what he wanted. There's no hope for that boy... Even after all of the quality work I had seen, I was still apprehensive of letting a 15 year old near my body with a needle. Day after day for a week he begged me to allow him to do my first tattoo. He asked me one day, "If you ever were going to get a tattoo, what would you get?". I was very fascinated by glyphs at the time, and I knew that ankhs not only looked cool, they also stood for eternal life. He sketched it out for me, and I really liked his drawing. He told me he could do it for me and it would look just like the drawing on the paper. I, being younger and not quite as bright, finally went for it. We went into my room, turned on the stereo to a decent level to block out the sound of the motor. I remember that he kept on getting up to change the CD, taking about 2-3 minutes every time. And he continually put on No Limit Records. I have no real problem with rap. I like some of it, even. But this was all about making ME comfortable. And I couldn't even convince him to put in something softer on my ears like Metallica. He decided he was going to do a GREAT job on me, so he made sure the ink went in NICE and DEEP. He was going to make sure that it didn't fade quickly (it faded within the first week, mostly from the deep scarring showing up as little white patches). I noticed that I was bleeding a lot more than normal, and commented on it. He assured me that all the tattoos he had seen had bled this much. My fears somewhat assuaged, I laid back on my bed and told him to continue his work. Finally, after about 2 hours of pain, it was done. Instead of letting me look at it right away, he put Jergen's hand lotion on it, and bandaged it with gauze and duck tape. He warned me that it would look bad right now, as it had just been done and it needed time to heal. This being my first tattoo, I naturally assumed he knew what he was talking about. The next morning, I showered with the bandage on, but that night, I was curious to find out what it looked like. My eyes widened when I saw his work. He had ripped my back to pieces and left a scarring bluish-black blob on my right shoulder blade. We had a lengthy, very physical discussion about this later on that night. It was also wonderful when the home caretakers decided that we all needed to get tested for hepatitis and AIDS. All in all, my first experience was not great, but not enough to stop me from my next one! It did teach me to only go with a reputed artist or you may regret your decision later on. Now, all I need is an artist who can do something with the lump of scar tissue on my back, and I'll be set.
submitted by: Anonymous
on: 31 March 2000