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Going Batty

Going Batty

Nearly 8 years ago, I got my first tattoo.

I was 18 and my sister was 16 and though she was underage, was able to go to a shop and get tattooed, with only a note from our parents saying it was okay. She had two tattoos and wanted a third so she convinced me to go with her to get one too. At this point in my life I was very interested in body mods but my parents were a lot stricter with me then my sister and I was more interested in piercings then tattoos which for some reason they were strictly against. So though I was 18, I had to wait until I moved out to get any piercings. I also didn't know much about what to look for in piercing and tattoo shops as we didn't have the internet and few of my friends had any piercings and tattoos. I wish I would have known now what I did then! Looking back, my sister's tattoos from that shop looked great at the time, but they were just simple black stars and I didn't know any better. Seeing them now- they are terrible!

Anyway, so she took me to this shop she had always gone to and it was pretty bad. They seemed like more of a flash only shop that did a lot of biker tattoos. Not knowing any better and never have seeing another tattoo shop I assumed it was fine. I had an elaborate design in my head, I wanted a chinese good luck or happiness bat, (called a Fu bat) between my shoulder blades. I didn't have a photo and it was hard to explain to the "artist" what I wanted. All he was able to draw up was a bat that looked suspiciously like the Batman logo. I wasn't happy but he seemed disinterested in redrawing it and was anxious to get me on the table. Not knowing any better, and feeling intimidated and stupid, I let him prepare me. The more he did the more uneasy I became. He smelled like whiskey and had me lay down on a table where he straddled me with my arms pinned under his legs and he made several inappropriate jokes as their piercer smoked a cigarette only inches away from my head. He bega n the outline and at this point I knew that things were wrong so I asked him to find a good place to stop so I could have a cigarette. He stopped after outlining the bat and let me up. Then I told him I didn't want to finish. He laughed at me for being a wimp and said I could come back to have it finished on any sort of drug that would make it easier for me and insisted I pay for the entire tattoo before he let me leave. I am very glad I did not let him finish my tattoo but was sad I let him go as far as he did, now I had an ugly outline on my back that I hid with my long hair and clothing as often as I could.

Needless to say, that put me off tattoos for a long time, but I did get piercings and seeing the tattoo shops and putting in more research I noticed that that shop was not the norm. I now found places that did beautiful art work and the tattoo artists cared about their art and kept a clean shop. Tattoos are expensive, and for a long time I didn't have the money to get my bat covered up. I did get a small tattoo on my chest- the start of a chest piece and that was such a great experience I decided that I would save up to do my bat.

Nearly a year went by before I found myself with some extra money and the timing was right, my roommate had just started piercing at a new shop and said that the tattoo artists were great so when I went in for a couple new piercings, I also went prepared to talk tattoos. I took a photo of what I already had, printed out a couple of Fu bat drawings that I thought could be redrawn to fit into what was already there and after my piercings, I was able to talk with one of the tattoo artists.

I ended up talking with one artist, who seemed excited and assured me that he could cover my ugly design. I looked at his portfolio and then set up an appointment. As I waited for the appointment to arrive, I stopped in a few times to visit my roommate and figured I'd check on the artwork while I was there. Sadly, the artist didn't have the work done or had left it at home. Finally my appointment had arrived and I still hadn't seen anything so needless to say I was nervous! I had dreams the whole night about arriving and seeing the artwork and hating it, so I when I woke up, I printed out a design for a piece of my chest tattoo so that if I REALLY hated the bat design I could have that done instead. My boyfriend and I ate a big dinner, which is important for me to do before getting pierced or tattooed, then I changed into a tank top and tied my long hair up, and we headed to the shop. We found out when we got there that we were an hour early. Oops! That's okay, we hung out wi th my roommate and talked about new piercings and while Benny set up for my tattoo, My boyfriend and roommate played a few games of Magic. I would have joined in but was sure we'd be mid-game when Benny was ready to begin.

I was a little nervous when Benny told me that he had drawn several things but just had decided to do the tattoo free hand. Honestly, I wasn't sure I liked that idea but after shaving and disinfecting my back, he began to drawn a rough design on my back to illustrate what he meant and I liked what he drew so I decided to trust him. The design was a lot bigger then what I started with, which I wasn't expecting. I had my roommate and boyfriend look at it too and they were very impressed, so we got started. He had me sit in backwards in a chair with my arms on an armrest. I sat so I could kind of watch my roommate and boyfriend play Magic and that helped. Benny started out by going over the pen marks with the gun and doing the outlining. In some parts the pain was intense, but for the most part the outlining went fine. We took one short break when I got very thirsty and shaky but quickly got back to work. Once we started on the color (beautiful red, pink, and yellow tones), my b oyfriend and roommate got bored with Magic and had decided to do a spontaneous piercing, my boyfriend wanted a tragus orbital so they disappeared for a while to do that.

The coloring was worse, but maybe that was because I had nothing to distract me anymore. Benny switched back to some line work when my roommate and boyfriend reappeared and peeked over Benny's shoulder and assured me it was beautiful and I would love it! My boyfriend crouched down to show me his tragus which looked really cool! 2 hours was just about up and I was growing tired, restless and hungry and the sound of the gun was starting to annoy me when Benny said that he could add more detailing, and wanted to- but he could stop for the day if I'd like. I told him I was tired and so he let me get up and see the tattoo and he pointed out where he would like to add more before covering it in plastic wrap. I love what he did, and while I do agree it needs a little more, it looked beautiful as it was and 2 hours was enough for one day! I'll go back when it's healed up for the detailing and we may add a bat on either side and some swirly clouds in between them.

I'm glad I trusted him to do it despite my worries. It turned out much MUCH different then I expected but he did a great job and I think his design suits me very well and is better then what I had in mind. I can't stop looking at it, and everyone I've shown it off to has been impressed and tells me how much better it looks.

I will certainly be going back to Benny for the rest of my tattoos.

Aftercare was interesting, it was hard for me to wash and apply the ointment myself due to the area it is in so luckily my boyfriend was around to help get the areas I can't reach! Benny gave me Aquaphore ointment to use on my tattoo and told me that it cuts healing time in half so I used that. I also washed my tattoo once a day in warm water with a mild antibacterial soap. I was sure to always wash my hands before touching the tattoo.

The first night I slept in a loose t-shirt and when I woke up my shirt was cemented to the tattoo! My boyfriend soaked the shirt with a warm washcloth and slowly peeled the t-shirt from the tattoo. That worked well and didn't happen again. For the most part I tried to wear tank tops and wear my hair up but when I had to wear t-shirts I'd put on clean loose cotton ones.

After a week and half the peeling and itching was just about over so I switched to unscented lotion to keep the tattoo moist. It's less messy and easy to carry around and apply.

It healed up beautifully and I can't wait to go back and get more tattoos at Fluid Ink!

Details

submitted by: Anonymous
on: 16 June 2008
in Tattoos

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Artist: Benny
Studio: Fluid+Ink
Location: St.+Paul%2C+Minneasota

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