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The Tattoo from Hell

ave several belly tats, all of which seem to fit together in a symmetrical pattern. One is a pentagram halfway between my navel and the root of my dick. My girlfriend and I are Wiccans, so we designed a celtic pentagram design, and both had it tattoed in the same spot. The art work is esquisite, and was done by a master tattooist in Flagstaff Arizona.

There was a space to fill below it, and it kind of bugged me. As anyone with tattoos could tell you, one is seldom enough when it comes to tats. On a trip to Las Vegas, I had another celtic design added below the pentagram, a crescent moon in knotwork, with the horns facing up.

Yeah, then I had to have something above the pentagram too, so I freehanded a design of a pair of antlers tied together with some celtic knotwork. I used a skeleton head of a buck I found in the woods of Maryland as a model.

I designed another tattoo, also a celtic design of two lovers embracing, with their hair and feet turning into knotwork and ending up surrounded by a knotwork circle. All of these tattoos have personal meaning for me, which is important. The antlers and the celtic lovers were done by Dr. Julian in Flagstaff.

You should never just get some meaningless piece of flash that holds no significance for you. It is a lot easier to get a tattoo than to remove it. The skin art is there for life, unless you want to go through lengthy and expensive removal.

There is great satisfaction in designing your own tattoos. Most artists use copy machines or thermographs with heat sensitive paper to make the transfers which they trace the designs out on your skin with, so they can copy your design as well as they can any piece of off-the-wall stuff.

Like I said, once you start you are never really done with tattoos. I wanted to expand on those, so I created a holly leaf design that would sit to the left and right of the pentagram. The holly leaves have an underlying celtic knotwork that ties them all together.

Earlier in 1998, I attended a Tattoo show in Phoenix, and liked the work of a female tattoo artist from a shop here. I decided to have her do my work. The day I wanted it done, I had stubbornly decided to get it done NOW.

Kerry wasn't in...she and most of the other artists in the shop were out of town at another show. Instead of waiting, like a dumbass I decided to have the guy who was available do it. He had no book, and worked part-time. But I thought what the heck, I have the design, which I put on a transparency sheet of clear plastic, how can he screw it up?

To start with, this gent had injured his back seriously and had no business working that day. He was apparently doped up on pain killers, too.

The spot where I had them done, left and right of center lower abdomen, was on an area of fat with no backstop, which you will find is one of those areas of the body where tattooing is more painful than, say, your upper arm, where you can hardly feel it. I once almost fell asleep getting an arm tattoo.

But this guy really had trouble doing the job, going over both sides several times, and was really bearing down, pushing hard, way too hard. He over-inked the tattoo for five solid hours on what basically was two tattoos covering about 2x3 inches.

He had no consideration for the pain he was causing, probably because he was in pain himself. This was one painful pair of tats! I have six others, and none of them hurt this much. After he finished, I paid him and left, figuring well, at least it's finished.

But that wasn't the end of it. When I got home, I noticed my normally flat lower abdomen was all swollen out of shape from the trauma of the tattoo. A sort of edema set in, and stayed that way for about ten days.

I laid off showering until the next day, and put Bag Balm on it, after cleaning tup five hours later. But The tattoo began to weep ink. It wept ink literally for weeks, with me oozing green ink all over whatever clothing or underwear was touching it. The worst was the ink was sticking to the clothing, and when I took them off, I it was like tearing a bandage off to get my pants down.

Just opening my zipper was a chore, as if I stuck my hand it to pull out the package to take a leak, the ink sticking to the clothing made it a painful process.

The whole agony lasted more than one month, and the worst part is I didn't like it when it was done. It looked like just a mass of green with no definition.

So I set out to have the artist I originally wanted to do the job touch it up. She did so, and painlessly. Her touch was much more gentle and her ideas for highlighting were creative and effective. I am now happy with the tat, and grudgingly acknowledge the lessons that come with them.

What did I learn from this? All tattoo artists are not equally skilled. Like doctors, they all have an individual "bedside manner." Some are like skilled surgeons, deftly and surely inking out a line, or creating wonderful mixes of color. Others have hands like hams, and no skill in overlaying inks to create interesting color effects.

The best advice? Know your artist. If they don't have a scrapbook of their artwork, go to one who does. Talk to friends about their tattoo experiences, and talk to the artist before you agree to get a piece done.

If your instincts tell you something is not right, listen to your self and wait, change artists or respond in some other way...don't just grit your teeth and go ahead. It's your bod, not the the tattoo artists.


submitted by: Anonymous
on: 15 Jan. 1999
in Tattoos

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