all started... well, I've been vaguely obsessed with wings as long as I can remember. I've wanted a pair for a long time, but I've seen wing tattoos and didn't like most of them, at least for me. I'm a bit of a purist, I guess, and know I'm not going to sprout any. What to do? Why, ask Tony DiTerlizzi of Magic and Dungeons and Dragons Planescape fame to draw mechanical-looking batwings for me. I emailed him, and he knows who I am, at least vaguely, so he said "as long as we're talking doodle here, it'll take a while, but sure." I waited several months for the design. I waited more after I got it, to make sure I really wanted that, and to make sure I had enough money for it. I waited and waited and waited. (OK, not as long as the 4 years for my first tattoo, but hey...)
Well, I had waited anxiously long enough. Had made an appointment well in advance. Had been a good kid and taken my design to Earth's Edge a week early so Robert (Frazier) could be doodling my wings on things. And finally, it was time to leave. I collected my audience (Liz and Lee -- he has a tattoo, she does not) and proceeded to the tattoo place, where I was harassed by Byron (the owner) for being 8 minutes late. (Note: this is not a bad thing. It's a 'we like you' type of harassing because I'm there all the damn time. Don't be scared off.) At this point, Robert and I discussed the nature of the appointment. We agreed he would definitely line the wings and touch up my tribal dragons (he did them in October), and, depending on the time and how I felt, he might also color the wings. Then began placement -- he cleaned my back with various substances (using a spray bottle. I felt kind of like a window) then applied deodorant so the transfer would stick. He applied the transfers to my shoulder-blade area (redoing the second one a few times) to get them even. I looked and asked him to change the rotation of the wings, orienting them more horizontally. He did so, starting the cleaning process over again, and putting the transfers on horizontally. I approved the placement after confirmation of straightness and evenness from Robert and the peanut gallery. I was left to dry and Robert went to have his pre-tattoo smoke. He came back, and I bitched about having to sit on a folding chair for 2 hours or so. Robert pulled out a bench (a weight bench, I think) and tilted it correctly so I could lie down on it. After one last nervous glare at the folding chair (in which Liz was sitting by that point) and the arrival of friend Heath, we were ready to begin. The familiar buzz began again, and I felt the needle for the first time. According to Liz, I was a bit pale, but otherwise OK. And now, a day later, I don't really remember the pain. Except that the touch-up was way worse. =] So the tattooing continued, I was entertained by my friends, Chris (Friend, my piercer) came in to look at the tattoo on the base of my spine (laughing 'cause I couldn't move) and watch the progress in general. I told him I had broken in to his high school's auditorium with a friend the night before, and he looked slightly incredulous (according to Liz, as I couldn't see him) and wandered off again. (I think he went to wash up for a piercing, but I'm not sure.) I continued staring at the side of the tracing table and an amazing painting hanging above it. At some point, I realized Robert the tattoo artist was also Robert the damn good painter. Wow. I was surprised he wasn't painting for a living.
It makes one feel good to know one's tattoo artist is damn talented in the art department. I mean, if I want to buy a painting from a tattoo artist, I'm a lot more confident that what he's going to put on my body is going to be good. I mean, I'm not saying that every painter should be doing tattoos, but really, it's nice to know the guy with the needle has good aesthetic sensibility.
At this point, another lady came in to get Byron to tattoo something on her back. It was small and colorful. Other than that, I couldn't see what it was. (I'm guessing a Celtic knot of some sort, as there was a piece of bright knotwork flash beside Byron.) She was... well, inarticulate would be the best way to put it, I guess. We got a few good laughs out of her, anyway. By then, Robert was done outlining the first wing, and there was a smoke-and-stretch break. I woke my right leg from its sound slumber and brought it with me outside to smoke, downed a can of Mello Yello, and it was back to the bench. Lee and Heath left and I settled down again. The inarticulate lady was finishing up, so she left, and it was Liz, Robert, and I, chatting about tattooing in general. (Well, OK, Robert was just making the occasional comment, usually when I said "that tickles" or "that makes my other tattoo itch" or "that makes my leg want to twitch". He had many wise but surly things to say about being tattooed.) He finished the other wing without much event, and then touched up the 2 dragons he had done. Ow, fuck. That hurt way more than everything else, put together. Those 10 minutes were by far the worst. Oh well. After this, I was paper-towelled into submission. (Note: I was impressed that when Robert dropped the tape. He immediately picked up a new roll. When Kelly (Weeks, the other owner and counter person) told him where it was, he looked at her like she was kinda dumb and goes, "I can't use that. It's hit the floor." I like a tattooist that's anal about stuff like that.) So I hugged Kelly g'bye and we watched Byron try to get his big purple Harley in the shop (while I was drooling over it) and left.
And that's about it. Expect another post about my tattoo's first RABbit exposure soon. (No, Jemshaid, I did not forget that phone call.)
submitted by: Anonymous
on: 01 May 1999