From celtic to water color - first tattoo
I recently got my first tattoo. It currently resides on the outside of my thigh and takes up that entire canvas. The image that I finally settled on with my artist was that of a Japanese cherry blossom tree - black and gray with red blossoms. But getting there was more of a journey than lying on the table and getting the ink set.
I thought of the tattoo of a tree of life 4 years ago after numerous friends of mine died. The symbolism of the roots and branches connecting was comforting to me when I was sad that so many of my friends were no longer with me. At this time I was wanting to get the Celtic knot work placed on the inside of my left wrist.
2 years later when I turned 18 I thought strongly of getting my tattoo. I moved the placement to the middle of my forearm because of the pain that wrists entailed. I looked into shops, went to Slave to the Needle and got my septum pierced to try out the shop, and got scared off of getting my tattoo for then. I was still wanting to get it done, but if the people were that unfriendly, then I wouldn't want to get a tattoo at that particular shop.
1 year later I moved the placement of my tattoo to my ribs and broadened the idea to something perhaps less knot work and more flowing. I moved the placement because of my dedication to my career and keeping my options open if I were to change it. I hope to become an opera singer, and having tattoos on easily visible skin makes that harder. I looked in The Stranger, Seattle's subculture newspaper, and ran across an add for Super Genius. I liked the name so I looked online and found that not only was the shop 8 blocks from my home, but Paul Thomas' first picture was of a tree. His bio also mentioned he liked puppies, which certainly didn't hurt. So I found my shop and artist completely by accident. If I hadn't stopped in for dinner by myself, hadn't found the right paper, hadn't flipped to the right page, I very well might not be tattooed. Needless to say, I didn't get my tattoo right then.
9 months ago I moved the placement to my thigh: less pain, more canvas, and even less likely to be a problem when performing.
This past July I went to the Oregon County Fair. For those who don't know it, it's a huge hippie fest - lots of organic food, happy people, and topless women: a safe haven. It was there that I found that I was ready to get my tattoo. As soon as I got back to Seattle, I went down to Super Genius, set up an appointment with Paul, and talked with him about designs. He came up with the idea of Japanese water color. I was thrilled. Part of what I planned into my tattoo was that I noticed the trend that my ideal tattoos were getting more soft than more edgy. When I was talking to Paul, I had only recently thought of adding flowers to my tree, but even now since I got my tattoo, I am more and more happy with the decision to make the image soft and feminine.
3 weeks later I was getting prepared and ready (and about ready to piss myself with nervousness). Paul was amazingly gentle and reassuring the entire time. He took baby steps with me until he finally started working on me at which point I said, "Oh!... That's it?" and settled in for 3 hours of work. A small stream of expletives, but other than that it was pretty uneventful until my adrenaline ran out and I wasn't able to continue. I went back 2 weeks later and got it finished up - another 2.5 hours. It was actually less painful than the first half.
Now when I show off my tattoo to my friends, I get a reaction of, "Wow! This is such beautiful ART!" I think that this is a reaction I would not have gotten if I were to have gotten my tattoo when I first thought of it, or when I was 18, or even when I was 19.
I strongly encourage finding an image that has a strong emotional connection for you and waiting even past when you think you're ready for the commitment until you know that you're ready for the commitment. And, of course, Paul Thomas is amazing, and I would not be nearly as happy with my tattoo if he had not been a part of the process. I plan on getting many more pieces of his art work on my body.
submitted by: Anonymous
on: 21 Oct. 2008