My First, Second and impending Third Tattoos
s story probably follows along the lines of all 'My First Tattoo' stories. All the same, I want to tell it...
After my last vacation to Florida in the USA, I was left with a burning desire to become inked. So many people my age were sporting Tribal/Celtic work, and I had never really seen too much of it before - I was inspired. Upon my return to the UK, I sought out a local tat' studio and was amazed by the flash art - these artists have the raw talent that mainstream artists can only dream of. The design that I 'just had to have' was on a flash sheet by Rand Johnson (Cherry Creek Flash) and was a tribal armband in the barbed wire/thorns genre.
I made an appointment to get art added to my body, and I then made my first mistake - I talked about my impending addition with my wife! Boy did she tear a strip off me - I think devil worship would have been more acceptable! So I cancelled the appointment (with regret) and put the idea into hypersleep!
Several months later my wife and I split up, and in the process of re-building my life, thoughts of the tattoo crept back into my mind. After the disappointment of my marriage (not a rosy period in my life) I felt the need for something permanent, some sort of commitment I suppose. A new appointment was made, and this time I was not going to have anyone alter my direction.
The tattooist looked as rough as they come, and yet treated me with a respect that I have yet to come across elsewhere.
Nervously I sat in the 'barbers' chair and my arm was cleaned with disinfectant of some description (to be honest, I was so charged by this point that it could have been maple syrup - I wouldn't have noticed!). I was then treated to a little 'localised' shaving, and to my surprise he wiped my arm with a deodorant stick - perhaps tattooing is a particularly sweaty job, I thought - enquired as to why this was done, and when the stencil was applied to my arm it was evident that the purple/blue outline needed to be adhered to your skin in some way! Bizarre.
Black ink was poured into a little plastic cup, mounted in a rack and then the machine was started. Buzzzzzzz.
I waited for the first excruciating jab of pain (with my body in a heightened state of tension), which in fact never materialised - sure, it isn't a lovely feeling, but pain wasn't the way I would describe it, more like an annoying hot feeling. Then BANG - adrenaline rush. Wow. Five minutes into the outline, Paul (the tattoist) said 'you look crap, do you want a break?' I gratefully accepted a glass of water, had a cigarette and composed myself while Paul something like 'I love tattooing virgins, they think it's gonna hurt so much and when it doesn't they get a 'rush' and feel crap'. He then continued and the whole area of my upper left arm sort of numbed itself! Bizarre again.
The only area that was painful was the inside of my arm - stung like a bitch! But not unbearably so.
After only 40 minutes of outline and a further 25 minutes of in-fill (plus a cigarette break) I had got my first tat'.
I felt amazing, like this was the most positive thing I had ever done in my life.
Seven days later, with my first tattoo healing nicely, I went back to Paul and got him to ink a barcode of my date of birth, vertically on my right outside hip/thigh - this time though, instead of not watching through fear of what I might see, I was eager to see this being added to my skin. Twenty minutes later I was a 'product'. The same euphoria was present, and a sneaking suspicion that I was going to be experiencing this again soon. Today, I went to see Paul again, a mere two weeks down the road, and have asked him create a larger custom tribal piece on my right shoulder - it will be centred around a Japanese kanji symbol with an organic, spreading feel to the Wild Style/Tribal 'fingers' extending down onto my upper arm, my upper chest and my upper shoulder blade. Big black lines, un-balanced, un-symmetrical, a little in the style of the 'Clooney' tattoo in 'From Dusk till Dawn'.
Well, I intend to get some photos done of all my tats' and if anyone is interested they can e-mail me to see them.
Can't wait until next week to get my third piece started.
Steve Cardy, Hertfordhire, England.
submitted by: Anonymous
on: 15 June 1999