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My sleeve experience, Episode 1

eeve or not to sleeve, that is the question. It took me a long time to decide if I was that committed to body art. I have several other tattoos, but none as involved as a full sleeve. The idea stemmed from my desire to forever immortalize my all time favorite villain, Maleficent, from Disney's Sleeping Beauty. But how could I possibly fit her Royal Badness and everything else from the film I wanted into one tattoo? The answer seemed clear. If I was going to do it, I was going to do it right, which meant a serious commitment of skin space. So I went in and discussed the idea with my artist, Darren Ashbaugh. I knew if it was to be done, he was the only one to do it. He has been my main tattoo artist for nearly 5 years now. I originally went to Darren because of his reputation in the area, and the tattoos I had seen from him on other people. I stayed with him because of his talent and professionalism. And he's become a good friend over the years as well. I have a small coin by him on my neck, as well as a knee to ankle black and gray piece with the focal point being Isis, surrounded by the animal forms of Rae, Tooth, Anus, and Hours. My other pieces have come from artists in his studio, J.T. Caldron (since moved to Austin, TX), and Dustin Mendenhall. Darren immediately loved the idea. I told him I wanted a tattoo of Maleficent, and other dark aspects of the film. He asked me where I wanted it. My reply? That my entire right arm was his playground. He was thrilled. He immediately started the drawing, and set up an appointment. The three weeks before my appointment passed slowly. (Darren is very much in demand for his incredible custom-only work, so he is usually booked up weeks in advance. Actually, he runs the first and only custom-work-only shop in our area.) During the wait, I listed the pros and cons of being sleeved, and spend many hours mulling the idea over. I work in a professional office; I am the controller for a small management company, so keeping my tattoos undercover is important. But I am dedicated to skin art, so lo and behold, the pros outweighed the cons. I was and still am confident that I made the right decision for myself. I already have a good beginning to an incredible art collection, and I know this will be a valuable asset to it. Finally the day was at hand. I went in to begin my outline. I was completely blown away by the drawing. As usual, Darren's artwork far exceeded my expectations. He is an incredible talent, even though he is hardly a recognized name. On that first day, we outlined my entire upper arm with the Maleficent portrait, with her surrounded by a gothic-style archway, as well as the spinning wheel on the inside of my elbow, and a heart at my inner wrist featuring Prince Philip and Princess Aurora. Later, we will add the three fairies around the wrist, connected by the heart, as well as the Maleficent-Dragon on the underside of my upper arm, Princess Aurora in her sleep on my upper forearm, and the castle at night on my elbow. These, of course, are merely focal points. The rest of the arm will be filled in with various images from the movie. As usual, it was a pleasure being tattooed by Darren. He's light-handed and fairly quick. Of course the fist place he started was right in the bend of my underarm. The feel of the needle in my skin again was incredible. (Although he is looking forward to drilling my elbow, his initiation for every sleeve he does.. ~ouch~ ) The 2 other artist in the shop, Chad and Dustin, were awestruck by the piece as it progressed that day. When the sitting was finished, and I saw the beginning of my sleeve in the mirror for the first time, I couldn't stop smiling. I still have many hours of work left, but I am completely happy thus far. I can't wait to see the finished product The healing process was rather quick, although the itching in the bend of my elbow was nearly unbearable. Within a week, the scabs were gone. There is still a slight bit of flaky skin on the solid black spots, but all in all, I'm ready for my second sitting. That was 2 weeks ago, my next sitting is coming up next week. As the progress continues, I will send in updates, as well as post progress pics on my homepage. Thanks for allowing me to share my excitement! ~Angie

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submitted by: Anonymous
on: 14 Oct. 1999
in Tattoos

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Artist: Darren+Ashbaugh
Studio: Golgotha+Tattoos
Location: Carbondale%2C+Illinois

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