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my "blind faith"

I will make my experience writing fairly short in order to get most of what I think should be know out. At least, that's the goal here. . .

For about 2 years now I've had a growing interest with branding, and since I've been working in tattoo shops it seems to be a re-occurring subject of conversation, mostly between myself and my ex-piercer, but none the less as subject of debate. Cautery vs. Strike, I was always on the side of cautery, personally. For reasons I wont get into now, but should be discussed with your artist if you ever decide to be branded.

At one point I went ahead and had bought myself a cautery pen, and several replacement tips, hoping that I would find a mentor to teach me how to do this. And it was about a year and 3months later at the Shades of Blue convention that I came to know a very intelligent, amazingly open minded and nice man named Josh Coburn.

I walked past his booth about 5 times, I'd say before I stopped to look at his portfolio, and once I did, and saw that he did brandings, it was hard to get me to go anywhere else. We talked for sometime about how it's done, and he showed me one that he had done on the opening day for the health inspectors to see what it was. I asked a lot of questions, mostly "what does it feel like" getting the reply, "it's intense." I explained to him how I had the cautery pen and that I had wanted to learn how to do what he was doing. He seemed to be proud of me that I took the time to get it, and didn't use it with out the knowledge of how to. (That made me very happy). He told me to bring it the next day and he would go over how it works with me, so I did. And I got a little mini lesson on it. Then he told me, "The best way to learn how to do it, is to get it done." So, I decided on what I was going to get (which happened to be the word "faith" in Braille on the top of my wrist), and he even let me watch him do one before we did mine. This helped quite a bit because the guy wasn't making horrible faces like the people I've seen get it on shows like Taboo. And I was allowed to ask Josh and the guy that was being branded both questions which also helped.

Eventually, it was my turn, and when I came back from looking at the stencil placement they all told me that they were about to take bets of if I was going to come back or not. Which I found quite funny, because I was so scared, but also determined that I was going to do it. Josh was very nice during the whole procedure, talking to me keeping, me calm and explaining to me what he was doing and why. I was very surprised at the feeling, because it wasn't hot, it was sharp. It felt like being cut, I would say, you could feel the tip set into your skin, and then the motion of the line he was doing. And the smell (which I always heard was just awful) was like if you took a handful of hair and tossed in onto a fire. It wasn't pleasant, but it wasn't horrible. (They did make jokes about wanting hamburgers while the branding was going on, but I suppose you get use to the smell after a while.) The burnt smell did hang on my wrist for a few days despite washing.

Overall the experience was so wonderful, because I had almost given up on thinking I would find the right person to do this. Only because it's seems to still be the taboo thing, especially with all the "old school" guys that don't want there to be any progress in the field. There were the comments of "it's only for slaves and cows" which is like my grandmother saying "tattoos are for sailors and hookers". Well I've been on a boat, but I have never been paid for having sex. . . its amazing to me how many closed minded people there are in this business where we're looked on as junkies, whores, and otherwise no-good-freaks. Hey, lady, I'm not gonna eat your baby, so you don't have to worry.

But, anyway, I would absolutely recommend for anyone in the Iowa area that is interested in being branded to see Josh at Slingin Ink. He does a wonderful job, and is probably one of my favorite people I've met so far in this industry. He also does piercings, and other heavier mods. And, actually, everyone that I met from their shop is very cool.

I have to say I'm so happy that I decided to do it, and that I'm also very happy that now I have someone like Josh to get advice from. I can't really describe how happy the whole experience has made me!


submitted by: Anonymous
on: 25 Feb. 2005
in Scarification

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Artist: josh+coburn
Studio: at+the+shades+of+blue+convention
Location: La+Crosse%2C+WI

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