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Scalp Tattooing Experience

Scalp Tattooing

On Tuesday, April 2nd I drove three hours from my apartment in Austin, TX to visit friends at Obscurities Piercing / Trilogy Tattoo in Dallas, TX and have my scalp tattooed. It had been over a year since I had previously been tattooed, my work as a performer often makes it difficult to schedule in getting and healing new tattoos or other mods, and it would be the first time that anyone other than Mad Pup of Mad Pup Tattooing in Plattsburgh, NY would tattoo me since beginning my transformation project. Choosing to have work done at Obscurities / Trilogy was not a hard one. I have known the owner, Allen Falkner, since 1998 when I met him performing at Night of 1000 Scars in NYC. He was there with his suspension troupe, TSD, and I was there doing various sideshow acts under the name Spidergod5. My show assistant, and great friend Scott Durland, and I became fast friends with the TSD crew at the event and shortly afterwards found ourselves traveling to, and sometimes partic ipating in, their shows and events. From my first visit to the shop I found the facilities and staff to be forward thinking and very much ahead of the curve in both procedures and ability. Now, given my recent (August 2001) relocation to Austin, TX, it seemed obvious that I should take advantage of the chance to be a client to the shop and staff I had so often recommended before.

I arrived at about 1pm to find Allen, Shan, and Mike working at the shop. Shortly thereafter, I went along with Allen to pick up his girlfriend, Masuimi, do a supply run at Sam's Club, and get some lunch. We got back to the shop a little after 2pm – Shan and Mike were relaxing outside the shop in the sidewalk, things were a bit slow. After unloading the supplies, I talked with Mike about what I had envisioned for my scalp. Originally, at the time I got my face tattooed (1999) I had decided to keep my hair and so my facial scales and the scales on the back of my neck only went up my hairline. Now, having decided that even if I grew my hair back, I wanted to have scalp tattooed with scales and a black center stripe – not unlike a mohawk. Mike made a stencil for the stripe and after a bit of explanation and scribbling we decided it would be easiest for him to simply draw on the scale outline rather than try to stencil for it. In preparation for this, I had used electric clippers to trim my hair down as close as possible a couple days beforehand. Then, two days before, I shaved my head using a razor and on the day before I shaved with a razor once again but this time against the grain in order to get the smoothest possible surface. As a result, no shaving was needed to beginning the session. Mike simply prepared the skin, applied the stencil for the stripe, and began working. Mike's procedure was, as expected, top notch with perfect attention to avoiding cross-contamination, timely glove changes, and an overall attention to detail.

My expectation was, given available time, that we would likely only be able to outline the stripe and hopefully a significant portion of the scales. However, Mike settled in for the long haul, so to speak, and began to fill the stripe after outlining it. This would be the majority of the day's work (nearly nine hours) as Mike packed in as solid a piece of blackwork as I have ever seen. That's not just my opinion, many people commented on it later that night when we were out at July Alley and even days later when I was back in Austin having my eyelids tattooed at Forbidden Fruit the artists there were remarking on it and having others come take a look.

Once the stripe was finished, we took a short break and then Mike drew on the scale outline for one side of my head. I checked it with a mirror and then it was back to work. I think it was somewhere during this part of the day that Allen remarked on how much work I was getting done. The outlining went fairly quickly and soon Mike was drawing on the other side. It was during the work on this side that closing time (10pm) came and went and Mike made the rational decision that it was time to call it a day. I was incredibly happy with the progress, only a small space on the back of my head remained to be outlined with scales.

With the shop closed, we made our way down to July Alley and met up with most of the rest of the staff from the shop and friends, old & new. I had expected to crash at Allen & Masuimi's and the maybe grab some food before heading back to Austin in the morning but at some point during the evening at the bar it was decided that Mike and I would get together the next night at the shop and finish the remaining section of scales. So, Wednesday afternoon I had another meal with Allen & Masuimi and then went into Obscurities for another half an hour or so of outlining. Afterwards, I climbed in my car and headed back for Austin.

I would describe the actual sensation of scalp tattooing, versus other areas of the body, to be slightly more tender than most and a bit unusual due to the vibration felt on the skull. As anyone familiar with head injuries will attest, this area does tend to bleed a bit more which can slow things down a little. In terms of the healing process, the hair does present an added twist. As was the case with my beard hair when my facial tattoos were done, the hair continued to grow unabated at its usual pace through the healing tattoo. This presents a couple of complications. Early on, the hair makes it a bit harder to completely dry the tattoo after cleaning but persistent patting with a towel will take care of this. As the piece begins to flake the scab (if any) and flaking skin will be caught in the hair / stubble. Finally, it can be difficult to apply lotions or creams if that is part of your aftercare. Personally, I wait at least a week before shaving again (even with electric clippers) and even then I am very careful to avoid harming the healing tattoo. Better to go a little ragged looking for awhile than hurt the piece.


submitted by: Anonymous
on: 12 April 2002
in Tattoos

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Artist: Mike+Tidwell
Studio: Obscurities+%2F+Trilogy
Location: Dallas%2C+TX

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