As some of you know, I have 8 tattoos all together. I love them. I love the art, the passion and what they truly stand for. I have been reading up on the history of tattoos for a long time, purely for the art and the meaningful code within each design. I love to sit and look at tattooed ladies and gentlemen walking by me when I’m at my favourite cafe or bar, second guessing what each design may mean to that particular unknown individual. I sometimes pull out my little notebook and write silly paragraphs about this inspirational-imaginary-person. I have a friend who is covered from head to toe in tattoos and she is beautiful, so beautiful in fact, I sort of immortalised her in a manuscript as the main character. Each picture and script meant something to her, and it was due to her profound love of life and the lives past that influenced the way she lived, that she’d tribute parts of her skin to them. I think that sentiment goes for most people with tattoos.
I’ve only gotten work done, but I’d never give another person a tattoo… the needle would probably fall out of the machine and end up in someone’s foot. I love to doodle and draw up my own designs just to keep my drawing skills up to date. I’ve been lucky enough to have 2 old friends ask me for designs which they had done. I have yet to colour the 2 day of the dead skulls on my hips, but I’ll update you guys on that as soon as!
A few people ask me for advice on tattoos, which are cool, but as a collector and not an artist I can only go of what people have advised me, here’s a little checklist of what-not’s.
Before You Go for Your First (Wayyyyy before!)
Be Nerd! Plan Ahead!
Think about what it is you want done. I came up with keywords first before the design. I wanted something along the lines of spirituality, or at least what my spirituality means for me. I wanted something that wouldn’t necessarily be recognised, but it had to be something where a passerby would see it and know I was spiritual in some way. Most people love the Virgin Mary, so to symbolise their belief, heritage, goals or family/friends they have her done. Each design has to mean something, and you have to put a lot of planning into it. It took me a good few years to decide on the thought of ever getting a tattoo, and a few more on the design. I am a huge fan of Charmed, and as a practising pagan witch myself I figured I’d get something along the lines of witchcraft or at least spiritual balance. I also love yoga like a nut, so when viewers were introduced to Alyssa Milano’s latest tattoo, I knew I had to get a similar one.
Don’t ever walk into a tattoo shop without an idea! Don’t ever go into a shop and just pick a design of the wall. Most artists will just turn you away.
Remember tattoos are kind of like babies or marriage, you need to stand by it, so don’t make any mistakes.
Google them Dudes and Dudettes! – Search for artists
So you got the design and meaning in place? Great! Now search for artists. Ask around, look up links via Google, and make sure you see examples of their work. Some artists have specialised areas of interest. A shop can have one artist who works on portrait, another who does Japanese and tribal and another who only does black and grey. Make sure they show you artwork that suits the design you want.
Eating and The Experience
Eat something before, like a chocolate bar, as a tattoo isn’t pain free. Your body won’t be used to the pain and sometimes you can go into shock and your sugar levels will lower very quickly, as your body is trying to fit something that’s attacking it. Your body is an amazing machine! Don’t drink alcohol! And do your best to sit still.
If the artist talks to you, they are trying to encourage you to talk, as it has been seen as a great way to keep you ‘in this world’ rather than fainting. Some artists are really into their work that they don’t talk much and others believe it or not just don’t have great social skills.
Money Money Money!
Be prepared! Tattoos are not cheap! Depending on the size of the design, you may need to book several sessions, so make sure your calendar is flexible. One shop I’ve been to have this great idea in doing design outlines at the first sitting, then they give you 2 months to come back to get the design completed. I got all my day of the dead skulls done there. Are you of legal age?
Most importantly, make sure the tattoo is for you, unless it’s representing a thing, love or person in your life/heart. There are still a lot of people who are prejudice and very rude to people with tattoos. I get minor abuse on a daily basis from family members and their friends, but it doesn’t bother me, I don’t answer their questions on why I have them. I planned my tattoos, their placements and their meaning’s very carefully.
I’ve been looking at a pagan version of the Buddha for the past 3 years now, and I think now is the time to get it done with my sparrows.