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Forearm tattoo at "Into You", London

I had my first tattoo at the age of 23; it was a barcode tattoo inked in by a well meaning scratcher who told me that it would be temporary because the ink wasn't going in as far. What can I say, I was foolish and naive, but I never regretted that tattoo until recently, as ugly and uneven as it was, until I finally decided to cover it up with a beautiful piece that I adore.

This isn't the tale of my barcode tattoo, or my cover-up, though. This is about my second tattoo, a text based piece on my forearm that I had last year. Unlike my first tattoo, the barcode, I put a lot of thought and time and effort into researching everything about this tattoo. I hired a calligrapher who had created custom tattoo designs before to design the piece based on my specifications, and when he emailed me the final proof, I was delighted...it was exactly what I wanted.

Now I just needed to find a tattoo artist. I didn't know anyone with a tattoo that I admired enough to want to use the same artist as them, and the local studio didn't feel quite right; I had looked in and while it looked clean enough, I didn't feel comfortable, and so I left.

I did my research online, and decided that "Into You" seemed to have a pretty good reputation. I didn't mind waiting for an appointment – not that I could make an appointment without going down in person anyway..."Into You" did not take appointments over the phone, even if you offered to pay the deposit they wanted by credit card. So it was a little while before I was able to make the trip down to London, and all the while, I kept placing the printed image on my arm, imagining what it would be like to finally see it tattooed there forever.

My trip down to London to make the appointment did not go especially well. The front of the shop (the actual tattooing studio is in the back) was a large space, but it still managed to feel oppressive and unwelcoming. The 'receptionist' behind the counter was definitely rude (compared, for instance, to the guy at 'Frith Street Tattoos', also in London) , but I figured I wasn't here to get tattooed by her, so I wouldn't let this put me off.

I showed her my design, and she instantly told me that no one would be able to do it. Too intricate. No way. I think, at that point, if I hadn't travelled so far, I'd have left. But I was persistent, and eventually she went to go check with someone in the back. When she came back, she told me that Tas was willing to do the design for me, and she booked me an appointment about 4 months away, and I paid my deposit (cash) and left.

I was extremely stoked when I went back for my appointment. I had an early appointment, but when I got there (on time) the studio was shut. I waited quite some time past 'opening time' before the shop was opened, which I found somewhat annoying – I'm sure if I had turned up late, they'd have cancelled my appointment and kept my deposit. Still, when I got in, finally, I was taken through to the back and the actual tattooing area. It was one large room where the different artists all work, and already it was quite full, although mostly with the artists sitting around and talking or eating.

Tas, the tattooist who was going to work on my design, was quiet and professional. I felt comfortable with him from the off, simply because he seemed so serious about his work. He put the transfer on me, checked it a couple of times, and then started on the design. He was very quick and efficient, and not into talking at all, which was fine with me. I know some people find forearm tattooing painful, but other the initial "ouch" when the needle first goes in, I found it a not-altogether unpleasant sensation. Definitely nothing to get worked up about; I've had waxes that hurt more!

All in all, from start to finish, it took about half an hour, and then it was time to wrap it all up and me to go. I thanked Tas profusely, and shuffled off home.

The tattoo has healed wonderfully, and I'm still very happy with it. While I'd recommend Tas, I don't think I'd go back to "Into You" – they do good work, if their style is what you want, but I found it a little too unwelcoming and, having been to other studios since, its just not the atmosphere I like in a studio.

Still, my tattoo is lovely, which is, ultimately, all that matters.

Details

submitted by: Anonymous
on: 13 March 2008
in Tattoos

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Artist: Tas
Studio: Into+You
Location: London

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