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The idea of my latest tattoos has evolved quite a bit over the last year. I started out wanting some half sleeves but wasn't entirely sure what to get to compliment my personality and body. See, I have very thin and long arms. No matter how much weight I gain or how much I workout, they stay really thin, so I don't have much room to work with on them. My design would have to be small and delicate. I finally settled on the idea of floral sleeves. Yeah they are common but they are very pretty and classic. But what flowers to get? I love Art Nouveau so poppies seemed like a good option for one sleeve but what about the other? I wanted some flowers with more color options. Suddenly, the idea was staring me in the face - Pansies! I've loved pansies since I was a kid, my sister and I would pick them from our grandmother's garden when we were young. I have so many things, including my cell phone decorated in pansies, how did I not think of it before?!

I spent weeks collecting photos of pansies that I liked and I knew which artist I wanted to do them, so all that was left to do was to save up money, which would take a while. So one day, tired of waiting, I had an idea to get a pansy on the front of of each of my shoulders to tied me over until I could get the sleeves. I had enough money for that so I picked the photo of the pansy I liked best, one that was many colors- red, fuchsia, purple, blue, yellow. I mentioned to my friend Chelsea that I'd be getting them done soon and asked if she wanted to come with to get her latest tattoo design. She did so I set up an appointment for the both of us with my favorite artist Benny. As the day of our appointment approached, another friend decided to come with to get her other nostril pierced and watch us get out tattoos done so we had quite the party going! 

Finally the day arrived! After working, I took a shower and got dressed in a strapless dress. I was overdressed, sure- but it would make the process a little easier on my artist. My boyfriend and I went and picked up my two friends to grab some dinner before our appointments. When we got to the shop, Jenny and her nostril piercing were up first so I accompanied her to the piercing room and helped make sure both sides of her nostrils were placed evenly. That went well and her piercings looked beautiful on her. Soon after it was Chelsea's turn. She was getting Boo (the ghost from Mario) tattooed on her wrists so Benny sat down with her to draw a design, talk about placement and coloring and all that and soon she was stenciled up and ready to go! In only 20 minutes she had the cutest tattoos I'd ever seen! 

Finally it was my turn. I had dropped off the photo before our appointment so Benny already had drawn out the flowers. The color pattern and shape of the flowers would vary just slightly on each shoulder. The designs were a little too big to fit my shoulder so he sized them down slightly and we found the perfect placement. Then he disinfected my shoulders, shaved them and applied the stencils. The first flower was placed perfectly. The second one took a long time to place correctly but with the opinions of several people we got it right! My boyfriend decided to take off to the pet store before they closed so he said he'd be back in a bit. 

Benny had me lay in a chair with a neck rest so I was staring straight up at the ceiling. Nice view! Then he asked if I was ready and started the machine. I took a deep breath and nodded and he got to work. Oh! Not too bad! Even though many had warned me that shoulders were a painful place to be tattooed, I found it the most tolerable of the tattoos I have so far, which surprised everyone at the shop! Eh, pain is relative right? As I lay in the chair, several people came by to glance at Benny as he was working but when they tried talking to me I couldn't understand them over the noise of the gun so close to my ear, so time went quickly but it was a little boring. Soon Benny told me he just had to add some white on the first shoulder then he'd be done with one side! As he did that, my boyfriend came back with a little yogurt container and informed me he'd bought a ball python! I asked Benny if we could take a break when he was done to see the snake and he said yes and was

done in no time! I was finally able to get up and see the tattoo and it was beautiful, despite it bleeding a good amount. It looked like a painting! Benny cleaned me off and put some plastic wrap over it so we could go outside. We all had a cigarette with my friends and the staff and my boyfriend showed off his new pet. He asked if I would be sad if he went home and dropped it off and set up it's tank and I said I'd be fine, so we all went inside where Benny cleaned me again and showed off his work so far.

Then we got back to work on the other side. Once again, it was kind of relaxing. A little pain at first, then my endorphins kicked back in. After that it was only kind of painful in a few other areas, only slightly annoying in most areas, and almost ticklish near my arm pit. But for most of the time I barely noticed the needles. Benny and I chatted a bit but he is not really a chatty artist while working which is fine by me. He told me a little about his neck tattoo as he worked though. My friends tried to hold a conversation but once again it was hard to hear them. Benny mentioned I'd have a hard time while healing these tattoos since it's in an area that moves a lot. I honestly hadn't thought of that! Finally we were done, and Benny cleaned me up and led me to the mirror and I was breathless! He did such a good job! The colors were beautiful, even more so then the photo I brought along and the detailing was amazing. The pansies were slightly different, as we discussed b

ut complimented each other well and each stood on their own as a piece of art. Before he bandaged me up he took me around the shop to show them off! I'm glad he takes so much pride in his work! It's important to have an artist who does his best, I mean after all these are very visible tattoos that will be displayed often, including every time I dance (I'm a bellydance performer and instructor) and probably even on my wedding day!

Just then my boyfriend walked in to pick us up! Good timing! We paid, tipped well and all chatted for a bit. I had no idea how much time had passed, I had been laying there for 2 and a half hours? Really? It didn't feel that long at all! That really was the best and most relaxing tattoo experience so far but little did I know how much pain I'd be in later! Soon we said good bye and headed home, laughing that Chelsea's bandages made her look like a suicide attempt and my bandages under my sweater made my look like I was trying to bring back huge shoulder pads. 

I bled quite a bit, always do for tattoos but never for piercings. So after 5 hours or so I took of the bandages and washed the tattoos off which brought out a lot of colors that had been masked and dulled by dried blood and extra ink and showed my roommates who liked them a lot. I also used Aquaphor ointment on them and went to bed. I slept terribly! I couldn't get comfortable and every time I moved my shoulders stung and ached like crazy. The next day was just as bad, my shoulders were swollen, bruised (such a sensitive area it was bound to happen) and very tender! It was hard moving my arms at all and my clothes were irritating the tattoos. Wow, Benny wasn't kidding about having a hard time healing them. I was glad I had it done over a weekend to give me some time to rest them. The best I could do for them was keep them clean and moist, wear tank tops and keep my hair from brushing them, then relax as much as possible with ice packs and some ibuprofen. It was rough for

nearly a week but I made it through! I continued to use Aquaphor ointment to keep my tattoo moist and washed my tattoos at least once a day until the flaking and peeling was about over, then I switched to Lubriderm unscented lotion- it's easier to carry around and less messy.

I get a lot of compliments on my tattoos, everyone marvels at the colors and painting-like effect of them. For the first couple of weeks no one even believed they were real! They assumed they were painted on! Once they peeled and I stopped using lotion I stopped getting asked if they were real tattoos constantly, but still get that question on occasion. I think Benny will be getting a lot of new business out of these babies, and I couldn't be happier with them!

Detail of one of the pansies right after it was done and just starting to bruise.

All healed up!


submitted by: Anonymous
on: 13 Oct. 2008
in Tattoos

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Artist: Benny
Studio: Fluid+Ink
Location: St.+Paul%2C+MN

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