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Beginning to figure out who I am ...

To understand who I am, one must understand how I was raised. I was born in the deep south, to parents with strong Southern Baptist parents. I was raised to believe that alcohol was the devil, only tramps got tattoos, and if you "shacked up", you would go straight to Hell. For the most part, I allowed myself to stay within the parameters of my upbringing. I got married at the age of 20, becuase my mother and I had a HUGE fight over telling my grandparents I planned to "shack up". Fortunately, my 31st birthday is in 3 days, ... read more

My First Tattoo... Of Many To Come!

My first tattoo is something I've wanted and yet put off since I turned 18. I'd wanted it for even longer, in fact, since 17. I love the look of tattoos, and have always seen myself as almost a tattooed person without tattoos – although I’d always said I didn’t want too many (yes, “too many” is subjective and arbitrary – more on that later!) The reason behind the design came about when I was 17 too. A very close family friend (Like an uncle to me - he was there for me more than a lot of my "actual" ... read more

I wish I would've gotten this advice sooner - please learn from my mistakes!

I can’t pinpoint the exact moment that I started thinking about getting tattoos & piercings. All I knew is that I wanted a tattoo of Dopey from Snow White. It was a nickname of mine because I was short & had a tendency to wear oversized clothes. I started collecting Dopey items when I was about 17 & had the idea for the tattoo when I was 19. Here’s a little background. It was March of 1999. I was a freshman, attending a small liberal arts college that was about 45 minutes away from my hometown of Hutchinson, Kansas. The ... read more

Thigh Tattoos are Easier than Expected!

The story of my thigh tattoos. The lead up: I booked my appointment a couple of months back, and initially my artist (Ben at Tattoo City in Wellington, New Zealand) thought it might take around five hours to do, so we booked me in for half a day. I wanted red bows on the back of each thigh, and brought in colour samples and pictures of the style I was after. I also got allergy tested for red ink which involved putting ink samples under large bandages to check for a red or raised skin reaction, and then waited for ... read more

Truisms, amateurs and tattoo needles

When I had my Americanophilic period I became fascinated by the artist Jenny Holzer, and perhaps especially the story of how she one morning in 1982 let the big electronic light board in Times Square Manhattan advertise message like "Ambivalence can ruin your life", "Murder has its sexual side" and "Everything that's interesting is new ". I don’t know much more about the incident but it was enough for me. I loved the idea, truisms instead of advertising in an urban landscape, that she had chosen to work in such an artificial material, as light boards in New York - ... read more

First tattoo (wrist)

I'd wanted a tattoo for a good couple of years before I turned 18. I'd toyed with numerous ideas but couldn't seem to settle on any design for long enough. When I finally reached my 18th birthday, I was still undecided so I didn't think about it too much. I ended up getting my nape pierced instead and that preoccupied me for long enough to forget about getting a tattoo. About a month later, I started to get bored again and started to scour BME for inspiration. I decided I'd quite like something on my wrist and not long after ... read more

My first brush with tattooing

So, time to write the story of my first tattoo. I have wanted a tattoo for many years, but have never really had a ‘set’ picture of what I want, all I have known is that I have wanted an oriental dragon. Then, out of the blue I received a message in my inbox from Brendan, a brilliant tattooist from Brisbane who was coming down to Sydney for the Tattoo and Body Art Expo, seeing if anyone was interested in getting tattooed by him while he was down. I have been a huge fan of his style for ages (he ... read more

getting inked as an ambassador for an endangered species

E"Ext-Inked – 2009, the year in which the world celebrates Charles Darwin's bicentennial birthday, Ultimate Holding Company ( a Manchester based arts collective www.uhc.org.uk ) embarks on a once in a lifetime social experiment. With the expert assistance of several prominent conservation charities and the artistry of tattooists from Ink Vs Steel, Ultimate Holding Company have created ExtInked. An exhibition of drawings, individually illustrating one hundred of the most endangered species in the British Isles with the live tattooing of the drawings on one hundred willing volunteers" I read the flyer and thought. Yes. This is perfect. Right up my ... read more

First Tattoo – Advice? Shop Around!

So I had been wanting to get a tattoo since I was 17 or so, but I didn't want to rush into getting something that didn't have some sort of lasting meaning in my life. Around my 19th birthday I came up with a design I liked of a tenor saxophone placed over black and white checkers (I'm a big fan of ska music, both modern and going back all the way to Jamaica in the 60's). I've been playing saxophone since I was 10 and it has become not only my main hobby but the focus of my college ... read more

confession after confession -- my stomach tattoo

The one question I've always hated the most when people see my tattoos is the inevitable "what does it mean?" I don't really have an issue giving some explanation to the people who ask me, but most of the time, I'd just rather not. This is not because I'm a prick and don't have time for the un-tattooed masses, no. The explanation is sometimes just as painful as the tattoo, and really, having the tattoo in the first place is enough. Undoubtedly, most of the people here have stories or memories associated with their tattoos – painful, funny, embarrassing, or ... read more

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