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Non-Traditional Memorial

   After my father passed away, I decided a tattoo in his memory would help me heal and give me an excuse to talk about him whenever anyone asked what the tattoo meant. Because of the latter point, I decided against a traditional memorial tattoo with dates or some kind of portraiture. Instead I chose the end of a Shakespearean sonnet that had a particular meaning to us. I decided on just the last two words of the sonnet, in a very large and bold type face; one word on the outside of each hip.

I asked around the area for reliable tattoo artists and artists who were known for script pieces. After shopping around for a bit, I ended up at Shogun in Pasadena. The first guy who helped me there was middle aged and very friendly. After I looked through some artists' portfolios, I told him I thought Sal Trevino was the best artist for my piece.

"That's me!!" he said excitedly. He was very happy to tattoo me, mostly because of the intimate location of the tattoo and the fact that my ass would be in his face for a couple hours. I made an appointment with him and came back to get tattooed a few days later.

I made the mistake of bringing a friend with me while I got tattooed. Bringing a friend isn't a mistake on its own, but perhaps my choice of friend was not well thought out. I brought an equally attractive and large breasted girl friend, and between the two of us, Sal was a bit distracted. That is my only criticism of the experience—that what should have taken about an hour, hour and a half, ended up taking nearly two and a half hours because the artist did a lot of staring and chatting.

As for his actual tattooing, I have no complaints about Sal. First, he prepped my skin and shaved away the peach fuzz. He spent a long time measuring out where the words should be placed, making sure they'd be perfectly symmetrical.  He was very thorough, and we ended up reapplying the stencil at least three times just to make sure everything was perfect. He made sure I was able to get into a position on the table that would be both comfortable for me and conducive to him working. After about a half hour or so of preparation, we got started with the actual tattoo.

He wasn't heavy handed, and although grinding the machine over my hip bones wasn't the best feeling in the world, it wasn't unbearably painful by any means. It felt like the needle was going in especially deep as he outlined, and my hips sort of twitched and bucked involuntarily. Some of the outline ended up a little shakey because of this—but it's totally my fault. The outline stung while the shading just burned a little, but it honestly felt nice by comparison. The initial pain of the tattoo wore off around fifteen minutes into each side, then I went into trance mode and was able to tune everything out. But after about an hour, I really couldn't concentrate on anything but the pain, and I was ready to take a little break. I didn't though. Didn't want to look like a pansy. Having a friend there did help with the pain, because I can't stand to look weak in front of anyone really. So watching her watch me helped me tough it out. I laid on my sides as he went through the arduously long outlining processes (more painful for me than the shading) and thought about the reason for the tattoo. I thought, this pain is minor compared to whatever my father must have been going through, and it's going to be worth it in the end.

Prior to the tattoo, and during the whole time I was being tattooed, I was nervous. Not nervous about the tattoo, but nervous that Sal would ask me for the reason behind these random words and nervous that I either wouldn't be able to respond or would break down when I did. Sure enough, about half way through the piece, Sal asks, "So what's this mean anyway?" I looked at my friend like, "Here goes..." and I began to explain.

"It's the last two words Shakespeare's sonnet 65..." and Sal stopped me.
"Whoa, whoa, ok, shouldn't have asked, I don't know a damn thing about Shakespeare, so nevermind." I was incredibly relieved. Let him think it's about Shakespeare, I wasn't ready to explain yet anyway.

For whatever reason, I healed very slowly, and there was some color fallout. After a couple of weeks, when I could stand it, I went back to Sal (alone this time; much smarter) and he touched everything up immediately. Now, they look perfect, and they healed much more quickly the second time around. I honestly couldn't be happier with the tattoos. They're everything I was looking for and I've gotten nothing but positive reactions to them.


submitted by: Anonymous
on: 07 April 2008
in Tattoos

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Artist: Sal+Trevino
Studio: Shogun
Location: Pasadena%2C+Ca

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