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First tattoo @ the outback

lways wanted a tattoo. In my country (I am from Singapore) tattoo is hardly considered as a form of art. Most people over here consider people with tattoos are gangsters as it was once used as a form of identification for secret society members, and seems like this notion will be here to stay for quite a while. The media here isn¹t helping much either as when every some crime is committed by some tattooed people, the headline will be like "crime is committed by yet another tattooed man". There isn¹t any formal organization for the tattoo artists here or any standard apprenticeship here too. With these I must say I haven¹t have much faith with my local tattoo artist here (supported by a number of visits to local studios and seeing many of the work done) and are always looking for my chance when I can get my dream tattoo oversea.

Finally I have managed to save up enough money as well as enough time off to take a trip. My original destination is Hawaii. Prior to going I have done lots of research of the tattoo studios there. I also send a number of e-mails to the tattoo studios over at Hawaii. I have almost decided which studio that I am gonna have my first tattoo when the bomb droppedŠ I can¹t get a VISA to America as I have just completed school and haven¹t found a job, so I am considered as unemployed. So, sad to say, I have to get my tattoo some where else.

My second option was Australia Gold Coast. However, I can only find a few Australia tattoo studio web page on the net, and none is near the area that I am going to visit, so I guess I will just have to search for one when I am there.

After 2 weeks of waiting for the VISA and airline processing I have finally reached Gold Coast. As I joined a tour group that leaves me with very little personal time. Fortunately I have my 1st half day there free, so I didn¹t waste a second to get myself a yellow page when I settle down in my Hotel. After a few seconds of searching I have managed to locate a handful of Studios at the Gold Coast region, so I start to call them up. After talking to a few studios and getting their exact location, I am off to the studios!

The nearest studio- Skin FX was just 10 minutes walk away from my hotel. I hear the buzzing of a tattoo machine when I am on the 2nd floor of the building which the studio (it¹s on the 3rd floor) is situated, and it brings a shiver (from excitement as well as nervous) down my spine. When I entered the studio I was informed that they will be closing in 15 minutes and that perhaps I should come back some other day. But as my time there will be limited I asked to take a look around the studio. The studio appears to be clean and bright, and the flashes are neatly displayed on racks on the wall. There are one artist currently working on a client. I can¹t really see the tattoo that is being work on, but from the look of the client I felt more at ease as it doesn¹t seem that he is in much pain. I talk to one of the stuff there, and I must say that I am very much impressed with his knowledge as well as his attitude (It turn out that he is a piercer there).  In fact, I am so impressed that I decided right then that this is the studio that I would like to have my tat done. After fixing the appointment date, handing over the design (a tribal armband) I wanted and paying an initial deposit, I left the studio.

My appointment day (2 days later) finally arrived. My appointment time is 7 p.m., but I was there an hour earlier. I look through the flash while waiting and suddenly one of the designs caught my eyes. It was a design of a wolf, howling at the moon, with some tribal design at the background. I proceed to inform the artist, Paul, who was going to do my tat regarding the change of the tattoo I intending to get. He didn¹t complaint a bit even that mean he would have to prepare another drawing, but simply ask me to wait for a little while when he prepare the transfer. After this little ordeal I entered the tattooing room. There are a total of 5 workstations, and currently 3 are occupied. My artist, Paul, happens to be the owner too. His workstation is very neat, and he showed me how he change the needles for the tattoo machine. After confirming the location of my tattoo, he proceeds to shave the area (my right upper arm) and applied some cream and put the drawing onto the area. I was then allowed to take a look in a full-length mirror to ensure that the design is at the right place, and just but looking at the stenciled drawing I can tell the tat will look great. Paul then tells me to relax, and then the tattoo machine came alive. The feeling of the needle entering and exiting my arm does hurt, but some how the sensation feels familiarŠ either it¹s déjà vu, or I managed to imagine well with all the description of sensation from the tattoo experiences I read. The pain just goes away with timeŠ guess I am either getting numb, or that I am getting used to the pain. The tat took slightly more than 2 hours, and all the while Paul and I was chatting away. I learn some things about tattoo apprenticeship, and Paul gain a little more understanding about Singapore.

After the tattoo was done I took another look in the mirror. I just fall immensely in love with it. But, it still needs to be bandaged. Paul handed me a card with instructions on how to take care of my new tattoo, and I left after paying  Aus$200 for it.

The tattoo hurts during the first 2 days. I was told to apply the Bepanthen one-hour after cleaning the tat in order not to seal in too much moisture and slow down the healing process. I also bought some A.C.E. plus Zinc to aid the healing process. After the painful 2 days the tat was quiet for one day. However, the fourth day comes the killing itch, and frankly I would prefer the pain then the itch. Colored scrub also starts to appear, and whenever the scrub came off a lighter shade will appear. Toady is the sixth day and my tat is almost free of scrub. It is still a little dry, but is more or less back to the normal skin texture. If not for the killer itch I could have forgotten about the tat some timeŠ just hope that the itch will go off soon.

If you are going to Australia Gold Coast, and happened to be near Surfers Paradise, you should really take a look at Skin FX tattoo. All my friends and family are very impressed with the quality of the tattoo. How impressed am I? Well, I am so impressed that I went back there the second day to get my second tattoo (a tiger this time) done on the other shoulder! I am already planning on paying them another visit in a year¹s time to get my third or even fourth tattoo (if I can afford it). If you are interested in knowing Skin FX¹s detailed location feel free to e-mail me at [email protected] I will try to get a decent pic of my tat once I can find a decent camera. Thanks for reading!


submitted by: Anonymous
on: 15 June 1999
in Tattoos

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