Feist, Death Cab, and Mr. Meloy
When I was ten years old, I was uprooted from my family's comfortable Floridian home with a screened in pool and plunked down straight into the middle of Budapest Hungary. It's safe to say that at the beginning I wasn't very happy with my parents' choice to move, but over time I began to love the Hungarian land, culture, and people.
It is now nine years later, and the things that I learned while growing up in Hungary are very much a part of me. It seemed fitting that my first tattoo would be a nod to my heritage and my home. My first tattoo would depict the Hungarian coat of arms - a shield with the majestic Hungarian crown placed on top.
My brother was a big part of the process of deciding what to get, and where. Briefly I considered a scarification piece of the outline of the Hungarian border, but decided that it would be better to go with a tattoo - the same one my brother was getting. We had been talking about it for the whole summer, and decided to take the plunge. He set up an appointment and the waiting began.
Tuesday the tenth rolled around and I was dying to get into the shop and get it done. My brother and I woke up early and headed into downtown Milwaukee, all the way to 3rd street. The car door closed, the studio door opened. Beyond it were two young tattoo artists, who introduced themselves as Adam and Lauren. Lauren spoke with a kind French accent, asking us to give him a final copy of the picture we wanted. While he was tracing, my brother and I looked through the demo books and flash (I'm not a huge fan of flash) - then, he was done, and began to prep for my brother's tattoo.
Ben's tattoo went moderately quickly- it was only black outline. He was pretty quiet throughout the experience, answering my questions with short replies and closing his eyes much of the time. I waited up until the last second to decide whether I would get mine in color or not, because it would probably be double the price. In the end I decided to go with it. I took the stencil into the bathroom and experimented with placement, came out and had it applied, and laid down- a moment I'd been looking forward to for a long time.
The needle surprised me, as well as the pain. I now knew why my brother had not talked very much during his tattoo. The first thought I had was "There's no going back now." I was committed. Lauren started with the blackwork, taking care to avoid squiggles in the lines and also for evenness. When the color work started, I was fascinated by the process of shading and color selection. The minutes turned into hours and soon we had a welcome break for subs. I don't know if Quizno's has ever tasted as good as it did that day. I was also thirsty, so I got a paper cup and filled it with water. I was still sitting on the tattoo table at this point, and, not thinking, I set down my cup on it. When I shifted, the water of course went everywhere. My brother and Lauren seemed to think it was funny, so I just laughed it off, even though my nerves were a bit shot at that point. Soon I was back under the bright lights, grimacing once again. The pain was worst near the collarbone- I actually felt it through my whole body and in my neck at that point. The pain was lessened by a killer combo of feist, death cab, and the decemberists, however.
Then, unceremoniously, at a moment when the pain was starting to become unbearable, I was finished. I stood up in a stupor and saw my brother staring at my chest with a satisfied smile on his face. "Go look at it," suggested Lauren. I walked into the bathroom, past all the other waiting customers, feeling elation I can only describe as heavenly. I opened the bathroom door and stepped in front of the mirror, and was shocked. I could not have been more pleased. The tattoo was gorgeous, with vibrant red and green, and intricate detailing on the crown.
Money changed hands, the saran wrap was put on, instructions on aftercare given, goodbyes and thankyous exchanged. Everything came to about 320 with the tip included- a price I was glad to pay for such quality work. My brother and I walked out of the store, knowing our lives had been interwoven even more deeply because of our outward sign of our love for our home and each other.
I highly recommend Lauren for detail work, if you're ever in the Milwaukee area and looking to get something complicated done- and I also recommend Adam Bomb Studio in general. They were professional, timely, reasonably priced, friendly, and clean. Overall just a great place to get a first tattoo (or second, or third, or fourth...)
submitted by: Anonymous
on: 28 Sept. 2008