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The journey of getting my first tattoo

 When I was seventeen, I was looking forward to turning eighteen for only one reason: getting tattoos.  While others my age were trying to sneak into bars with fake ID's, I was trying to find a way to get a tattoo as soon as possible.  Growing up in Tonawanda, NY (a suburb of Buffalo), I always heard stories of people going up to Canada to get tattooed before they were eighteen.  Even though I knew my mother would hate it, I made it my goal to get a tattoo in the great white north.  Not having a license myself, I had to hope my best friend at the time was interested in the adventure.  Luckily when I told him my idea, he was super excited.  Once we told another friend of ours, he jumped on board and we set a date a few weeks ahead so we'd have time to save up the money.  The weeks dragged by, and when the day finally came a rushed over to my friends house.  Unfortunately, when I arrived I was told some bad news.  Apparently neither of my friends had the money, and I was th

e only one who remembered to save up for the trip. Needless to say, we didn't go up to Canada.

All was not lost because I was turning eighteen in just a few months. A few weeks after my birthday, I took a walk across the bridge over the Erie Canal into North Tonawanda to the local tattoo shop, American Skin Art. I had walked past the shop hundreds of times, but never dared to go in due to being underage and timid. There was a short line of people ahead of me. One young girl looked like a deer in headlights she was so nervous. Then there were a couple guys covered in tattoos who had a bored look on their face, sick of reading the same magazines and eager to get back into the chair. I signed in at the desk and waited patiently with everyone else. I thumbed through a tattered issue of Tattoo Magazine for a few minutes, but I spent most of the time staring at the floor and trying to calm myself. After about 45 minutes of waiting, they finally called my name and I walked into the studio of Nastee Bob.

I didn't just go to Nastee Bob on a whim, he was recommended to me by a good friend of mine. He had received an Infest tattoo from Bob a few weeks prior and I really liked how well it was done. Plus, it didn't hurt that Bob was the singer of a local band that I liked and had seen play many times, Red Eyed Stare. When I walked into the room, I was hoping Bob would have recognized me from the many Red Eyed Stare shows I had been to in the past months, but unfortunately I did not see it in his eyes so I didn't mention it out of fear of being awkward. As I sat down, for the first time I realized how much bigger Bob was than my scrawny eighteen year old self. This intimidated me for a minute, but eased up after a minute of talking with him. He might have looked tough, but he turned out to be a super nice guy. After we got formalities out of the way (ID, waiver, etc...), he asked the obvious question, "What do you want tattooed?"

Obviously, what to get my first tattoo of is a big deal and is something I thought long and hard about. When I was 15 I was introduced to the world of hardcore/punk by a friend lending me a tape by the band Inside Out. I fell in love with the sound, and next he introduced me to Gorilla Biscuits. They instantly became my new favorite band. I brought my walkman everywhere with me and it always had a Gorilla Biscuits tape in it. When it came time for me to choose what to get a tattoo of, I knew I wanted something that represented the band that changed my life. An acquaintance of mine already had the Gorilla Biscuits caveman tattooed on his arm, so that was immediately ruled out. I finally decided on the gorilla on the cover of their first 7". It's a great drawing of a gorilla wearing a hoodie, standing tall with his arms crossed in front of his chest. Not only did it represent the band to me, but also the idea of standing up for what I believe in, which is something I'v e always felt strongly about.

After I handed Bob the cd sleeve, he got really excited as he was also a Gorilla Biscuits fan. He was disappointed that I didn't bring the cd to listen to, but he put Cannibal Corpse on instead as he started to prep my left calf. I have a lot of hair on my legs (as well as the rest of my body) so it was weird to see half of my leg shaved of all its hair. As he came close to my leg with the needle, I turned away and braced myself for the pain. To my surprise, it wasn't that painful. When the needle was on the muscle, it felt like a safety pin being dragged across my skin. The only time it really hurt was the few parts of the design that got close to my fibula where there wasn't much muscle. Despite the design being fairly intricate, it only took a little over an hour to complete. When I saw the finished product, it looked better than I even imagined it would. I tipped Bob $30 and then walked home a happy customer, and the proud owner of his first tattoo.

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submitted by: Anonymous
on: 13 Oct. 2008
in Tattoos

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Artist: Nastee+Bob
Studio: American+Skin+Art
Location: North+Tonawanda%2C+NY

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