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"Matching Tribal Feet"

l, it has been about 48 hours since I got the matching tribal tattoos that now decorate the tops of my feet! I got them done Friday afternoon, in Pawtucket, RI at "Bulldog Tattoo." The artist, Autumne, did my last tat as well (a tribal sun on my left bicep) and did such a great job that I made a point of having her do my feet before I move back to California in a couple weeks.

So the new tats make numbers 6 and 7 for me, and I think they are my best work to date. I designed the initial drawing myself: a tribal flower sort of centered on my foot with some very simple lines curving away from the flower and across my foot and up my little and big toes. Autumne made copies of the design that I had drawn, and placed the tracings on my left foot in separate pieces. Then the real work began, and I don't mean the needle! We probably spent 45 minutes redrawing and moving various pieces of the design, until it really seemed to fit my foot right.

The result-the flower with radiating "S" curves-looked awesome. I totally have to give Autumne major props for her patience—she never once seemed irritated or frustrated with the whole process. Quite the opposite, actually, since she kept saying "If you don't like it, don't get it that way!" I still feel like the design is mine, but that Autumne really helped me make it better. It was a great collaboration and I really appreciate her drawing, wiping off, and RE-drawing the design so many times. I think this is an important point to remember: we the tattooed are customers, and our artists (however cool they are) are in business. Any artist who makes you uncomfortable or rushed with the design process is not doing their job correctly. Always keep in mind that your tattoo is FOREVER, and you don't want to be looking at your tattoo for the rest of your life and wishing it had come out differently simply because you were too afraid or intimidated to speak up when it was being drawn.

Anyhow, once the design (finally) looked right, it was time for the fun! Aside from the first tattoo I got back when I was 19 (that seems like a long 5 years ago!) this tattoo has made me the most nervous. I had heard that the foot is one of (if not the) most painful places to get tattooed…and what I had heard was pretty damn accurate. The other 5 tattoos I have-on my ankle, left bicep, a band on my right arm, my lower back, and across my upper back and shoulders-were nothing next to my feet. It makes sense; after all, there isn't much meat down there! Inkwork that close to the bone just hurts, plain and simple, plus the fact that our feet are sensitive to begin with. It wasn't unbearable, but it was very painful. The only part that really, really got me good was the line that curved up the outside of each of my little toes—I just about bit through the Blowpop I had in my mouth. I think tattooed feet are a great idea-they are a unique area to have a tattoo, and they look really great once they are done. However, if you are considering your first tattoo I don't know that I would recommend your feet since it will probably scare you off from any tats in the future! Well, Autumne finished my left foot in about a half-hour, and it looked really great. The entire design is in fairly fine lines, which makes it look very delicate. She wanted to know if I was going to do one foot or both that day, which may have been an issue if I wasn't moving in 2 weeks! My time constraints said I was getting both done, and Autumne went to check her appointment schedule for that day. When she returned, she said she had an hour until her next appointment—I said, "OK, let's do it." By the time she had drawn out the design on my right foot, my left was oozing slightly and only mildly painful. She started in on the right foot around 3:35pm, and I was surprised once more at the pain. The brief interval between feet had given me time to forget how much the first one hurt, plus my endorphin levels had dropped. But by 4:00, Autumne was spraying off and wiping down foot #2 and I was the proud owner of matching foot tattoos. Autumne took a picture for her book, and I was on my way.

Autumne only charged me $50 a foot, which seemed like a major deal to me. I was glad because that way I was able to give her a $50 tip. She more than deserved it! Autumne, if you ever read this (I gave her the BME web site address), thank you again! You kick ass, girl.

I have been quite surprised at how easy the healing process has been during the last two days. Granted, I am pretty much immobilized since I can't wear shoes (good thing I quit my job last week!) but there has been very little pain or oozing at all. I attribute this to the fineness of the lines that make up the design, but nonetheless there has been virtually no ink leakage. I think I'll use A & D for another day and then switch over to lotion, though I think I'll avoid shoes for a few more days.

Unfortunately, this will probably be my last tattooing experience for a while. After all, law school does start next month. I wonder if anyone in my entering class will have more tats than me? I hope I'm not the only one, or the next three years could be on the boring side! Hopefully I will get my hands on a digital camera within a month or so, since I would love to send in pictures of the tattoos I've had done. In the meanwhile, I am mighty happy propping my feet up on the coffee table and admiring my latest work while pretending to look at the TV! Hope everyone out there is having great tattooing experiences—I look forward to reading about them on BME. Take care of yourselves and your tattoos!

Amber D.

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submitted by: Anonymous
on: 01 Aug. 1999
in Tattoos

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