Trying to incorporate them into my fashion blogging. Most fashion bloggers of course are not tattooed (or pierced) so I will see how readers will like it :p I think they go well with all my dark, gothy or nostalgic fashion posts as well as more modern stuff.
Small line tattoos that I got done 2014/ 2015. I was told the lines aren't the best, though the artist's work isn't bad. It seems straight lines plus difficult location like hands made this tricky. I'm okay with them not being perfect but I will have to find another artist (again...I have tried out three now)
I am saving up for larger and colored tattoos but in the meantime I got these because I was very sure about the symbols. I have studied the occult and mysticism since I was a kid (32 now).
Philosopher's Stone Formula (Alchemy)
Notes: Sulfur (male principle, heat, dry), Salt (Spirit), Mercury (Female Principle, moist, cool) and on top the symbold for day/ purification. This is a reference to a transmutation of the spirit, purification of the soul, a higher conscience.
Lorraine Cross (Hermeticism)
Notes: Hermetic teachings are connected to Alchemy. This is a reference to the Hermetic Maxim "as above so below". Science and spirituality are one.
Notes: Gold in alchemy, male principle
Notes: Silver in Alchemy, female principle
Eye of Horus
2 days old:
Notes: Third eye reference. The third eye is important for intuition, conscience, seeing things clearly, all sorts of spiritual and magickal practices, psychic dreams and visions, seeing paranormal things like energy, "spirits" etc....
Geometric Triangle bangle and Anglo Saxon Runes
1 month / 7 months
Anglo Saxon Runes, 3 months old
From the Anglo Saxon Rune Poem.
Nyd byþ nearu on breostan; weorþeþ hi þeah oft niþa bearnum
to helpe and to hæle gehwæþre, gif hi his hlystaþ æror.
Trouble is oppressive to the heart;
yet often it proves a source of help and salvation
to the children of men, to everyone who heeds it betimes.
Also the rune Naudhiz: Nauthiz – Rune Meaning Analysis | Rune Secrets
I also got a tree of life tattoo done, but I will have to get a better picture of it.
Edit: I added a picture of the tree. I drew it myself and the artist made it look better ;-) In Alchemy a tree of life is often shown with a moon on the left and a sun on the right. But the tree of life is also common in Norse and Turkic (Mongol) Mythology.
“Hey Grady,” Cap’n Sven, who also happened to have a phone, “You know that big gorilla? What’s his name? The guy from St. Louis.”
Grady was eating an egg salad sandwich and took a huge bite, savoring the taste. Goddamn, he thought to himself, she sure can make an egg salad.
It was a balmy day, getting ready to go into summer season. It was a time full of promise for every vendor, talker, attraction and tattoo artist alike. For the cold gray winter in the city would lift its icy grip and the sun would shine forth once again. Grady was happy for it too, and had closed his winter quarters on the Island, and come out to Sand Street to get some sun, see some pretty girls and give these Brooklyn tattooers a run for their money.
Grady made a nervous face and glanced out the glass. It was ten in the morning, and Grady had no there yet. “So, what does this fella want?”
It was Sven’s turn to make a face. He did, and stuck a wad of chewing tobacco into his cheek, “Said you were going to sell to him, or he was going to kill you.”
“I think you should sell,” Sven added and he believed it too.
“Naw…,” Grady’s mind ran like a top and he was already almost there with it.
He knew he didn’t have much time.
He asked a leading question, “You like me, Cap’n? “
“I do,” And Sven meant that too.
“You should come down here and start a fight with me, but you gotta lose,” Grady was smiling, “Bring the shine boy too, I reckon.”
Conrad Miller was 250 pounds, tattooed everywhere but his face, neck and hands. His reputation in St. Louis was one of ruthlessness. He was a violent man, a dangerous man, but only with guns. He was bully, and had found his way to the Rats. He loved intimidation, which is why he they were so eager to get him.
He was lousy the work. He’d been taught, brought through it kicking and screaming the right way by State Street Stan, and even he couldn’t teach this “rube” the ropes. “I fear for the next generation of saps getting tattooed,” He shook his head, “They may as well go to a butcher.”
Butcher he was too. It wasn’t that killed so many people, nor that he liked waving the gun around. How he killed people was grisly. He like guns and knives, but what he liked to do was play “One man boxing match” and he would wear heavy leather workman’s gloves with knuckles on the outside. Or he would break bones working his way up to a lead pipe or bat to the head.
He stomped down the block Eddie Williams and Ed Lang. He smoked fast, readying himself to shoot this white trash Tennessee yokel in the head to make his point. He hoped it wouldn’t come to that. In fact, Conrad didn’t want to tattoo. He knew he was awful. There was no two ways about it. He liked the money, the women, and life of it more then he liked killing. Not by much though.
“You think I’ll have to kill him?” Conrad pronounced kill, keel.
Eddie Williams looked at the hulking brute as he walked to his left. He knew Miller was dumb and his trip to New York he knew, he just knew, was going to be ruined by him. Now here they were, off on some goddamn tangent, some idea that Connie hadn’t thought through.
“I don’t know,” Eddie Williams said, “You know this might go better back home.”
“S’All the same!” Con said, “Fuck these guys. We’ll take their money too!”
Eddie rolled his eyes.
Tall, dapper, the genial bank and mail truck robber wasn’t paying much attention to Con or Lang. He swiveled his head looking at the ladies as he passed He was a tattooer too, and now he was nervous. He’d known Grady from the road, and didn’t want to lead on. The last thing Grady needed was Connie trying to get Eddie to convince Grady to sell.
Eddie know you couldn’t convince the man of anything. His only option as he saw it was to put an elaborate act, feigning fear at the site of the man.
On the other side of Connie Lang was just as steamed. All he had wanted to was to go to the beach, something he had never done before. He was all ready to go when Connie, half drunk at 9AM rousted Eddie and him for this screwball venture.
Grady and Sven sat in the shop, quietly eyeing each other.
“This is dumb,” Sven said in his Swede accent, “You’re going to hurt me bad.”
I’m just going to rough you up. Now take this,” Eddie handed Sven a condom, filled with a dark red ink.
“Just pop this rubber after I pull a punch,” Sven made a face at that.
“What?” Grady said exasperated, “You want me to kill ya?”
He shrugged. “I just don’t want to get hurt is all,”
Grady slapped him on the arm, “Aw Sven, It’ll be alright.”
It was then that Grady, keyed up to near war time survival mode that the shoe shine boy came in, “They’re coming!”
And like a shot the kid was out of the shop, across the street and in to the alley behind a few garbage cans.
Connie threw open the door of the shop a moment later and Grady, not having enough time to say anything, hit Sven hard in the face. Sven hadn’t the time to get the prophylactic up to his nose, but at least he turned his head fast enough to avoid his nose being broken. Grady’s fist crashed into Sven’s left eye socket. It imeadatly began to swell.
Sven and Grady turned to look at the gangsters. Grady began to reach into the back of his pants.
“Sons of bitches! I know why you come here. No one is taking my shop. If you want it,” Grady pulled an ACP from his belt, “I swear you’ll clean my blood up before you reopen. Hey Rube!”
Eddie Williams stood there, knowing Grady had noticed him by the last part of that statement, which had gone right past Connie.
Williams dug under his arm.
“Fucking asshole!” Sven yelled and stumbled out the door holding his face. The shoe shine boy came out of the alley and helped the now wounded, swearing artist back to his shop.
Grady leveled the gun at the three. “Now come on boys, what’s gonna be?”
Connie looked nervously right and left.
“Don’t look over her, honey,” Lang said to him.
Eddie agreed, “You got that right. I told you REAL tattooers were hard.”
“Godddamn right!” Grady shouted, pulling back the hammer and giving Eddie a look that almost cost them the whole game.
Lang was happy because at this point it was early enough in the day to get to Brighton Beach and his suit was in the car back at the hotel.
Connie stood, shuffling his feet for what seemed like an eternity.
“Alright!” Grady shouted, bringing the dumb hood out of his natural stupor for a moment, “You better get it out of here NOW. GIT YER ASSES OUT OF MY SHOP!”
Grady fired a .45 caliber slug into the ceiling and that was enough for the three Midwest criminals scattering for the door. As they hit the street, Eddie began to laugh. “What in the fuck are you laughing at?” Connie asked.
Williams shrugged, “We made it out alive. I thought we were going to get shot full of holes.”
Connie was seething as they walked down the block. “Goddamn city, who needs it?”
“A men,” Lang said and after a moment said, “So you boys want to go to the beach?”
“Yeah! Girls,” He nudged Connie, “Whatcha say Connie? Ladies?”
“Eh,” Con grumbled and they began to walk away from the shop.
Grady sat down in his chair and took a long breath. He put his head in his hands and began to shake. Shaking with laughter. He hopped up, and ran to the front of the shop, he leaned out the door a watched the already far away men disappear. With that over, he got on the phone. Sven had a steak on his eye, and was bemoaning the situation to the barber he worked with. Hearing the phone ring he got up and answered.
Grady was on the other end. “Ah, the smartest man in the city. What the fuck was that all about? My fuckin’ face is huge! I thought you had a plan?”
Grady was quiet. “I did!” He got loud, “It just changed and I didn’t have time to tell you.”
“You’re a lousy bum,” Sven said quietly.
“Well Hell! Everyone knows that,” The carny was always one to make fun of himself.”
“Guess I owe you now?” Grady asked?
“Bet your ass you do,” Sven groaned, “My eye is as big as my head.”
“Does it look better?” Grady asked.
Sven, to spite how angry he was and the now swollen ocular, began to laugh.
“Rotten bastard…” He said.
“I know it,” Grady said, “Figure I owe you a few drinks, OK?”
“OK,” Sven said.
The bell on the door jingled and Grady saw a very attractive female step into the shop. “I gotta trim the sails, good bye Sven.”
Grady hung up the phone.
Turning he saw a young woman, the one that had made the egg salad.
“Can I help you, miss?” He asked with the best he could muster.
“Maybe,” she said smiling, “I brought another sandwich.”
Grady was sure he would enjoy the rest of the summer there.
My car having taken a dump I have been paying a close friend/client to drive me around until I find a ride that suits my coolness. There are quite a few options, but sadly the 1943 Willies Jeep was off the table, as was the Fat Boy. Trying to score some normal guy points with the lady took her out for Mexican. By cab no less! Romantic! Really!
Back when I was younger there were only a few Mexican places around, and all were Tex-Mex. I have no problem with that as my old bassist’s family always does a big Tex-Mex spread May 5th, but after I had the real stuff I was hooked.
For those of you with real Mexican restaurants please excuse the gush.
The family that runs the joint is from Michoacán, one of the more dangerous places down there at the moment. I haven’t spent too much time down there, but I’ve been there enough times to tell that this place was going to be legit. As it was.
Of course I get a beer and half way through I have me an anxiety attack. I try not freak out too bad. I was smart enough to get to the hospital when I first had them, so I know what they are, and what I can do to limit the things. Hate them though, really panicky, racing thoughts, the whole nine.
She knows I have them and that I’m trying my best to still play the tough guy, so she gives me a look and I get up to walk outside. For any of you who have these things, the great outdoors helps. Not me though. No, nicotine helps me, so I wander out and light up a smoke. I sit down on bench and lean my head back, late afternoon sun (Yes, I took her to an Early Bird) on my skin. I take a deep breath, and think about something calming. Soft shading. Old jazz. Atomic weapons. The Middle East.
And hear this puttering noise. It’s a smaller sound than I VW Bug, so I look up and there is this little cart. It was like a golf cart I would have, nothing frilly about it. Real engine too. Behind the wheel a guy in his early 50s and at shotgun, his lady.
I’m looking at the thing and he says, “Hey man” and asks me if I like it.
“I do, what is it?” I ask and he raises his left arm, and points exposing a vivid Chinese dragon, green, yellow, great color blending. Just a bit of orange to make it pop out, very refined old school. Suffice to say I still don’t know what that vehicle is.
I missed the whole thing.
“Who did that dragon?”
The guy nods to me, “That’s ancient.”
“I dig it man. Who did it?”
He was either messing with me, or he had no clue about the proliferation of tattoo and tattoo related things that are around him every day. Either way he could see I was interested, and who do people like to talk about more than themselves? “I got it done in Ohio. Some guy named Lyle Tuttle.”
“Tuttle is a big name,” I said.
“Yeah?” The guy said.
“Sure is,” I shook his hand, “thanks for talking to me. I always say something when I see a good one.”
He walked back inside. I followed, rejoined my lady and finished dinner.
Pays to ask, you know? I’ve run into people with crazy stories. Some of them I’m sure are BS, and others I’m sure are not. I talked to an old cat who swore up and down that ABC Hank and Danny Danzl had down his ink in Seattle. One guy told me that Frenchy did his two in Denver. Another old cat told me he went to Wagner, “The best.” I also had a paranoid schizophrenic named Mike tell me Doc Webb had it in for him.
“Webb has been dead since 1986,” I said, trying to find an out.
“Doesn’t matter,” Mike said in a voice so serious it makes me wonder, “He still after me.”
So you can get some strange answers too.
What's more creepy than the malevolent, disembodied spirit of Doc Webb? I'll tell you. I checked my bill at the Mexican place. Great deal for the money, but they charge you for after dinner mints!
10 Cents a piece for mints.
In the past month I’ve paid for two extracted wisdom teeth, a pound of hamburger that went bad, a pound of chicken, set a date for my wedding, got punched in the face by my crazy dad, so I decided to get drunk and write this. I’m on drink two. If you’re going to write while you’re blasted, don’t start out sober. Now that’s stupid.
If you’re smart have one or two then get going. Reason being is you need to have some focus. One thing I learned in high school when I thought that some sort of latter day Lester Bangs swilling cough syrup and charging forth on term papers and book reports was cool. Well it wasn’t, and being the teen aged drunk I turned to… what was in the house. Scotch, Dewar’s, fine stuff now, but to my weak, un liquor trained body it was awful, so I mixed it with sour.
I’m on drink three now.
Tell you another thing while I’m at it. You think to yourself, “Oh the guy playing music up there is drunk, but I’ll be damned if he isn’t playing killer!”
It’s called practice. Yes, band’s practice, but it’s important to know your limits, which is what practice is for. I know now that any form of liquor and Gator Aid is recipe for disaster. The booze/sugar/sugar/electrolytes and whatever the Hell else they put in there will kill you almost. Or that if you funnel 32 beers, you’re gonna pass out, but then you gotta walk home. Or that if someone says,” I got some ___________. Who wants some?” You say no.
Drink four, keep ‘em coming.
I tell you what I DON’T like to do when I’m drunk. I hate tattooing. I detest it. I’ve done it once, no, not again. Not that it isn’t fun to tattoo. But I get bored, I want another beer. I want a smoke. I want to walk around. I want to eat the worm. I want to wake up naked in the back yard with one shoe on and no sock, and one sock on and no shoe. And the dog was licking me.
Drink 5, you know what I like about you?
I’ll tell you. You’re reading this, that’s why. One day, maybe when I’m dead and gone and in Potter’s Field in the damned Bronx with Charlie Wagner (And I’d bet my life Apache Harry) some of you might even get a giggle out of it. Or a titter.
Can you say titter here?
You think you’re better than me, don’t you? With all your fancy art school training? You’re not my dad! I don’t have to take this. Ernie! Gimmie another drink, and a Shirley Temple for these… this…
(Sobbing) I’m sorry. I love you guys. If I had a nickel for every time I said it… Let me share a cab with you home.
Can you pick up the fare?
(All correct spelling and grammar brought to you through the power of MS Office.- ED) (not Horton)
It never ceases to amaze me what people have to get into to fess up. When the phrase “the truth will set you free” comes more from the mouth of a torturer than the sage, people clam up. No this isn’t an introduction to my new tell all “How to Tattoo in 10 Easy Steps, With Pictures, and Sweep up the Place”.
What I was getting at was this; in an odd way, the anonymity of this whole internet thing has made this blog a sort of confessional. I say things on this blog that would never say to a client. I’ve probably said a few things that I wouldn’t say to my mom.
I’m almost 35. Half way to 40. Call it a half assed milestone. These days I think I’m playing my cards close enough to the vest where I don’t have to be a crabby asshole. Far from being the big shit, the BEST, I’ve realized that the rat race is for the birds. The BEST, as said by other artists vs. the people inked, is either way subjective. It’s sort of like watching the linesmen in a Sunday football pointing and telling the ref who has the ball.
Like anyone would listen to a guy who eats a pizza before every game and his every third sentence starts with, “Coach says…”
(For the record, I played right guard in high school before finding out I had asthma, and promptly gave it up for the dusty, oft weird trail that led me to these here irons)
At least those linesmen call it like they see it, and I’m sure you get more honesty from them then from a guy or gal who charges less since you didn’t want green in it.
I wasn’t in town for ________________________ (put your December holiday here, & I’ll avoid the ACLU, thank you very much) so my end of the year was spent driving to see my Mom, who left my Dad before Thanksgiving.
Abuse. 37 years of it. I’m glad that storm has subsided. I weathered it too.
We drove up to I-10 on 75, then north into Alabama, Mississippi, and to a small town a few hours from Memphis where my mom is from. A little place, pretty well untouched by the 21st century, with the exception of the bypass, which destroyed the commerce of the old Court Square, and a little street shop with Harleys outside.
The history, civil war, civil rights, the old cars, bbq, fireworks; I shook off the sunshine state crap and began to see things differently. I relaxed, saw rivers (including Tombigbee! Say it out loud, go on. It’s fun) and talked to people who were friendly enough to take the time to talk.
I even sang along with the Meat Puppets on the mp3 player.
I grew up in a tourist town. Right by the ocean no less. The place was in a constant state of flux, the motion making the heat all the more intense. Along with the fluidity of the tourist season there was also a chaos factor (a broken down minivan from Texas in the right lane, drunk tourists falling off of balconies at the time share)… and static.
Like a lot of the people I know for a long time I was static too.
For those who were from there, and I was one of the few born and bred that I can think of offhand, the feeling of being mired, bogged down, static, was terrible. Swallowed up by hidden quicksand in the dunes.
And it’s completely full of BS, which goes without saying. It maybe coastal, but it’s just a small southern town. Cliquish. Pretentious. Awful.
Truth is though (HEY! He made it back to his point!!! YAY! Chalk one up for continuity!), is I’m past it now. Not just the trip, but the places I’ve been since I took tattooing up full time, have changed me. I look on the former classmates who congregate at the bar and slap backs, telling stories of football games of yore, with a faint smile. I can’t imagine what it must be like to be stuck in the past that much.
Walking backwards in flip flops is for morons.
This year finds me better off, content, with a wonderful lady, and, if I were a religious guy, “thankfully” sober. Enough stuff to build heap big pile of machines too!
It’s new though, that’s for sure. My family isn’t the same. I’m not the same. It’ll never be the same…
It never is. It’s an illusion that it is, so I’m making the best of it. No resolutions, except I need more fireworks in my life.
This was a bit of a ramble to read I guess, very sorry. I try to be funny and you can only yuck it up so much. You might bust a rib, or at least strain yourself. Sometimes, dear reader, introspection creeps in, even for a lunk like myself.
“Introspection? About what, Gloomy?” You ask.
I’m not gonna tell you.
A few months back I got a tattoo for my Mom. Its a Bert Grimm Rose of No Man's Land. My mom is a saint, putting up with a ton shit her entire life, only to end up with a miscreant, tattooing son.
Of course, I'm not the one with the half bottle of liquor induced brand on my arm with shitty blurry, blown out lines tattooed around it.
I am the guy who did the brand and lame tattooing however.
I was living in a band house, this squallid, non air conditioned place. Bad plumbing, bad roof, and the only thing holding it up was termite tunnels. The bathroom looked like Albania in 1968. The walls were covered in tar paper and spray painted along with most everything except for the drum kit.
We'd had no loot, as bills were due, and more sad to say nothing of important, not a stem or seed of pot for two weeks. We were all just a little bit on edge. I had got the jones to tattoo way back, going as far as to donate some money to a few fly by nighters that I thought were good people, so's I could come up "the right way".
You can teach a chimp to cut stencils and I got to work on pig. Badly. The only skill I think I ever really showed on the floor of that shop was dealing with people. I was not prepared for the relentless onslaut of a bassist from Kentucky wanting me to brand him.
Don't ask me what motivated him to do it, or for me to resist for three years. I tell you one thing though, after a broke, dry two weeks, plopping down a bottle of Cuervo, a pack of unfiltered Camels, and a bag... you now have swayed me.
"Yeah, fine," I muttered, "I'll fuckin' do it then."
We built a fire. It was a few weeks after 9/11 and it rained for eight days after that non sense here, we were safe from the fire truck guys.
The guy I was doing this DIY body mod on is a close friend, and impulsive as all getout. I noticed we didn't have an iron. "what are going to stick you with? DESIGN?"
He pulls out a mauled coat hanger, "Its a ying yang."
An hour later the fire is red hot embers and I put the iron in. We wait for another 30 minutes, the bassist clenches a towel in his teeth, wraps his arm around the plles for the clothes line and I took ten long steps.
His teeth made audible snap, his face contorted, the skin blistered, singed and seared in the night air. "Ohmyfuckingfuckmybassistisgonabeatmydumbfacein!" I thought to myself.
A cop lived next door, and he stepped out, the back door slamming when he realized it was just us.
So the bassist is all jazzed, but the ying looks like a big, lop sided J, which was his first initial. So even that was OK. But here is the best part.
We're wasted a few hours later. His ex walks out of the back of the house. We're pie eyed, fucked up, and she takes a few sniffs, "Why does it smell llike bacon in here?"
Bolstered by this, smart me built a tattoo rig, out various household items, and wouldn't you know who wanted their brand LINED? So retard unsafe septic, this Jagger blew out a twisted mess of lines that this week I will finish untangling, after more than ten years.
It stuns me I still have friends. And without Hep C too.
I've read a whole lot of tattoo history books. Talk about arcane, right? Its true and I've found a few good ones as well. First person accounts are always the best. Sure you can get more then a little BS in there. But you can BS anywhere.
So, since you're reading my BS, I'll tell you about this here Wear Your Dreams, by some little fella named ED Hardy.
Really though, all joking aside, between my normal chaos, my tatooing (which I been doing more of) & drawng I read this. Not only did I do that, but I did a digital download. (ooH. aaH.)
My fiance was beaming, like mother watching her son try to stab his eye out with a spoon, "Oh Gus. You may make it to the 21st century one day."
"Not likely," I muttered.
So Hardy can weave a tale, and an interesting, fast paced one too. Besides the artsy (what do I know about lithography? Nothin'. But you never know...) and a few things left out that only I would have cared to read, I enjoyed the damned thing. Envisioning car seat covers and all, I found myself laughing .
You might too. My sense of humor can be dark, so maybe not at the same things.
Since we all know that Sparrow and Collins show up it was interesting to get an art school perspective on a few of the old timers. Painless Nel and Old Doc Webb are mentioned, along with a roll call, a host, a cavalcade of names. You got Doc, yer Zeke, yer Rollo, Shanghai Kate, Chuck Eldridge, a whole mess of criminals, weirdos, and Thom DeVita.
Just like any tattoo bio, there are loves and hates, dislikes, and all sorts of madness. This was no different but it had pictures too! Some... in color.
I'm on the fence, which is giving me terrible pain in my ass neck, as to if this book is the GREATEST TATTOO BIO OF ALL TIME, I can say that it was a fun read and the mention of Ray Pettibone warmed the cockels of this crazy old punk's heart. I also thought of Black Flag and Ed Hardy occupying the same space (not a place per se, but a "plane") and then my brain started hurting because I had no cigarettes or coffee.
So yes, for the Zeke Owen stories alone, buy this book. Or steal it. I'd figure with all the shoes they won't miss one or two. I'M JOKING! DON'T STEAL. We must keep Mr. Hardy insweaters.
Ug. These typos. This phone. Oy vey!
I thought, when I got my first tattoo, that there would be an adjustment period afterward, like the one that happens after you change your hairstyle, start wearing a different color of nail polish, get a new pair of shoes. Self ideation is a thing. We form very strong mental images of ourselves, and things that alter or challenge that image in even a small or desirable way can be jarring. 'I love that new cut on you,' we can hear five hundred times in the week after going to the hair stylist, and even though they gave us exactly what we wanted, we smile and say thank-you and maybe secretly hate it for the three weeks that it takes us to get used to it, after which we can love it again ourselves, and anything different would seem strange.
But no: every tattoo I've had (and I don't have many, admittedly), I have loved. There have been times I've had to adjust to seeing them together, as a collection of images that are beginning to form a larger visual ambiance, some impression of togetherness greater than each individual image, but I've loved them all. I have been proud that they belong to me. They are impressive pieces of art.
And now I have one that I don't love, for the first time, and I don't know how to deal with that.
It isn't a bad tattoo. It's done well enough. It's a looser, simpler style than my regular guy's, but I can dig that. If I couldn't, I'd never have made the appointment.
I just feel like it wasn't the tattoo I thought I would be getting.
The guy's portfolio is full of charming pieces. Simple, like I said, but sometimes it seems as though the simplest pieces express the greatest amount of character -- that certain something I don't have a name for. You look at them and smile, because they've got personality. I don't feel that about this piece at all.
I have been asking myself why it is that I'm disappointed. Is it that it's wildly different from everything else that I have? Is it that it's alone on my other arm, its difference from my other tattoos underlined by how alone it is and all of the untattooed skin around it? Does it have the charm that compelled me to make the appointment, and I just can't see it through the weirdness of something so different from what I've gotten used to receiving? Was the portfolio misleading, or did he phone it in? Is it my fault? After all, I green-lit everything, every step of the way. But traditional concepts are so simple, the stencils so far removed from the final product, just a ghost of what the piece can become on the skin -- how can anyone ever look at one and predict how it'll turn out, aside from looking at a portfolio? Until it's colored, and too late, how can you know?
Is the problem the tattoo, or my perspective? Why can I not figure out the answer to this question? And even if I can't tell, does the answer matter when the consequence is the same -- that I look at it and experience weirdly mixed feelings, instead of the rapt affection I feel when I look at my other work?
Tattoos are not haircuts or nail polish. They aren't new shoes. You can't try them on and find they don't work for you, and shed them easily afterward.
Do I try to learn to love it, or do I make peace with not loving it, and surround it with things that I love? Covering it seems excessive to even think about. It's not at all badly executed. The guy who did it was nice, friendly. I enjoyed the evening. I like his other work.
Most of these questions are rhetorical, I suppose. When the dust settles, I'll figure out how I feel and do something about the tattoo, or I won't, and that'll be that. I pick away at my feelings about it because they're new and alien to me, and even -- in spite of the anxiety attendant to them -- interesting to experience in an objective way, not something I've ever felt about something I've done to my body.
It has been a strange two days.
With the posters, hooka smoke, rum, hair grease, bottles of wine and funny business that has engulfed the tattoo, as if a thick glob of O2 sucking petrolium jelly its nice to think back to a time when disease, lawless toughs, drunk, toothless jaggers doing their best to get a bottle of cheap wine to fend off the shakes.
Sam Steward was a professor of literature, deeply alcoholic, and had realesed two books,as well as meeting many luminaries in the world of the word. However Stewart wanted out of teaching, badly, and lept from an ivy covered wall right down to the gutter of Chicago's State Street. Having kicked the booze with AA, he bought a tattoo trunk from an old circus tattooer name of Micky Kellett, and began a trade that brought him into contact with a world alive with vice.
Taking, slowly, the chair of Randy Webb, in the filthy archade in the most dangerous section of the street, he fought off the cops, drunks, perverts, navy boots, and encountered all manner of loony toon activity. His college teaching years had not trained him for this, but under Nom De Machine as Phil Sparrow, put his name on the map, and trained Ed Hardy and mentored Cliff Raven.
Since I can't hold a pen to Phil's writing, and I'm too lazy to get my computer out so's I'm doing this on my phone, I'll give you some highlights!
Phil's list of prices for bothering him.
Webb's rewiring the transformer and his five legged tigers.
Tatts Thomas as the Preacher.
Criminals, johns, tricks, lesbians, sailors, human skulls and MORE!
Sparrow quit in the early '70s and morphed again, becoming Phil Andros, writer of gay S&M and rough trade paperbacks. Alfred Kinsey, the famed sex researcher, had Sparrow as a close contact. Kinsey in mentioned in this book, along with one of Sparrow's "lists". The full details of Steward/Sparrow/Andros' sexual research is born out in a book about him, Secret Historian.
So if you like grit. If you like danger. Violence, humor, you'll find this book a fine read, right up with Stoney Knows How. Want the realnsights, smells, the sinking feeling that there is no way out of this alley, this is close as you're gonna get.
Unless you buy crack.
You don't do you?
Of course not.
"My fuck," I groaned, sweating, "I'll never get out of the weeds."
I rolled over, blinking, and saw my lady looking at me. "You alright?" She asked.
"Yeah. Bad dream," The light of 3AM being way bright for me.
"Bad?" She as always had to fish for it.
"Work dream," I grunted.
I've never met a woman more supportive of my endevors, and she even backs me on the crazy ones. A rare and kind person I am lucky to have met. I have been working on my machine building quite a bit these days and I must admit, I haven't set up a machine in a few months.
"Was it one of your "I'll never catch up?" dreams?" She should be a therapist.
"How'd you know?" I asked.
Corection, she should have been a spy.
"I heard you have that one last week. A "MOTHERFUCKER!" woke me."
"Sorry," Said the Gloomy Man.
She put her hand on my face. "You need to tattoo. It's your passion."
"Baby, fuck those machines for right now," She added.
She was, as she most often is, right. So today I spent a while playing my upright bass, packed up my building supplies, and pulled out my now very dusty, cheap, shitty Harbor frieght box full of machines and began what turned into a tuning session. And a visit with old co-conspiritors. Got me to thinking about my clients passed.
So tomorrow I figure, what the Hell. Maybe I'll do a few.
My lady and I just got cable, and cable internet, which is why you get to read more of my stuff. Lucky you. Yeah, huh?
I'll not watch Ink Masters. Just won't happen. I got burned by tattoo shows long ago, and once bitten, last time on the channel. I'll give 'em a shot for a few minutes, but then I see pin striping cars, and I hate it.
But ya know, I'll watch shows where they do cover ups all damned day long. I guess its the people person in me. What is tattooing if not the hardest of all the customer service positions; "I really like the weight of these lines," Machine buzzing away, "Goddamnit! Quit moving around or I'm gonna fuck you up!"
So we're digging the show, and I can't keep track of time. Dates seem to be a recurring "I don't give a shit" subject, time however never seems to come up. It does with me though. I have to make conscious effort to keep track of things like when I need to be places, or when I have a some poor deluded dummy who likes me stick figures with a lemniscate that pass for pin ups with huge hooters. I do pretty good too, so hey. Sometimes though, I just lose it. Five hours or five minutes? I'll have no idea and I look up, shit, it's 5 AM.
So this ad comes on for Ink Masters. Fer one, just cause you have tattoos, don't make you an expert Dave Navarro. What's really funny is that I almost called him Dave Grohl. I like the man's guitar playing, but he 'effed up a whole Chilli Peppers record. Never mind that.
Oliver Peck. Oh, little Oliver. What an angry, shitty little guy you are to people. I mean, I know it was hard when you came up, and it must not have been easy. But settle down man! Calm yourself. And I like toothpicks as much as the next guy. You're at Sizzler though, and that is one of the few places I'll walk out with a tooth pick. Just smoke. Do it. Take your pills too.
I didn't notice who the third judge was this season, so someone is spared my wrath.
The ad goes on. And on. And, AHHAAHAHHAHAHHHAHHAHAHA!, it's still on. "Are we watching this?"
"Yes, we are," My lady says.
"Please turn it...," I say.
"Can't," She replies.
I'm getting agitated.
"The remote is in front of you," I turn to look at the chair that we use for a table.
It is, in fact, on the chair.
I turned it.
So I saw a whole minute. At least.
Have you ever thought about having a portal to the 7th level of Hell on your chest?
Have you ever wanted to make a child cry simply by standing there?
Have you ever dreamed about a thousand eyes in the black of the night?
If you've answered HELL YES to any of those questions and also like things that are grown in MERICA, made in MERICA, and printed in the U.S. of MERICA then buy this god damn t-shirt!!
This handsome sonofabitch Carlos Rojas is here to show you how to look good.
Paypal to firstname.lastname@example.org $23 shipped anywhere in the US(include name, address, and size), and $20 if you pick one up at the shop.
Thanks for supporting the good folks of FTW Tattoo Parlor in Oakland, California.
Don't get too freaked out, or too happy (take your pick there. Love for the Gloomy one, or hate so richly deserved? Just no apathy. It's the worst. I'd take disappointment over that!) since I have not given up crumbing arms for a living.
"Well ya silly fuck, what's with the fake news? Not having one of those crazy spells again, I hope?"
My lady and I live in a really fucked, scary place. Right over the fence is the hood. And when I say over the fence, it's a well jumped chain link deal that does not stop bullets. Seems every second or third Saturday night there is just a butt-ton of shooting. The only saving grace was that my lady, knowing how freaked I get by anything with feathers or hair, got me one of those tactical tomahawk things, and didn't even bat an eye when I came home tonight, "Honey! I got a new Ka Bar!"
Our complex is so damned bad that I had to do some serious acting when we first got here. I found this guy Pete. Pete has this tiger... OK, lemme back up. Pete was standing out front when we first moved in. We didn't talk, I just saw his tiny little head and my mind blurred to Browning's Freaks, and Stoney and rat poop, backwards soldered needles on the bar...
So one night I come walking out and there is Pete, big 'ol bottle of vodka in his hand. "Hey man, I like those tattoos," He says, stealing my line.
I'm polite, so what was I to do? I took a drink. Handed the bottle back. Pete said, "I used to go to prison a lot. I know how to tattoo.
(For the record any thing over two years sentence in the state of Florida is a trip to prison, not county jail. Unless you're being held for trial, and then that's a whole other different thing. So "used to go to prison a lot" doesn't fill me with the kind of confidence that say, would have me bring this guy into my home. To say nothing of line of sight of the medicine cabinet)
I know where to pick up a strong case of Hep C, I thought.
"Is that a tiger?" I pointed to kinda hashy, bad lined, but just in under the seven second rule, tattoo.
"Yeah man, but he fucked the face up!"
Well, no shit. "Sorta looks like a Tazmanian Tiger, really," I said, "I can fix that up ya know."
Now he wants. And he wants some tattoo machines, needles (but they don't have to be clean), and a few deep cell batteries. So I scared the living shit out of him. When you talk to criminals Henry Hill was right, no swearing, no threats. I was just vague as Hell and LO, some how I got a lot of cred with this guy, who I still have not, nor will I tattoo.
The CC as we call it is so awful, that all it needs is a tire fire. There have been three murders and robbery/rape since we got here. My woman says, "Don't go out at night!"
It was one of those things though, had to go, had to walk, and there was no way getting around it. So grab my cane, and don't let it fool ya, I may be illin', but don't even mess with me the stick, and start walking. When I get up to the front part of the complex, there is the "legit" gang guys standing out there, and I hear one of them go, "Tattoo. I know he's got loot."
Or something like that.
I get ready to shit and run as fast as I can... and a long ambles Pete!
"Don't fuck with that man," He said very loud so I could here it too, "He a good man. Kind man. And a HARD man. You're going to get hurt."
"Thanks Pete," I thought and got to the store and back in one piece.
I said "legit" gang as we have a group of young, well, Young Tattooed Boys. The YTB. I know because I saw graffiti one night that said just that. I was to say the least, unimpressed. Not my kind of people for one. I did the 'hood thing when I was young. Two, Young Tattooed Boys?
What, is there a male review? Chippendale's called and failed your audition. You're a terrible male stripper and you need to get your GED.
"Yo dog, they call me Magic Mike."
(I punched myself in the eye for that, don't worry)
Since I am sick, I just sit around all day. So I'm out front one afternoon. I'm relaxing, smoking an unfiltered Camel that scored from my bro Marty from Long Island who hates Manhattan. Up comes two of them, and as they go up the stairs I hear one say, "Man, fuck those two..."
"Shut it, ya little faggot, " And I sat, waiting.
Marty told me he wanted a piece too.
Nothing. Silence. Stayed that way too, until I came home from getting a tattoo late one night.
Out on the front of our building is a veranda, public, and here are four YTB, with two more down in the parking lot. Wouldn't you know it, the ones in the parking lot are running dope. "Fuck this. We're getting out of here," I muttered.
I get up the stairs. "Tattoo! Hey bro, you tattoo?" I'm asked by this dumb looking kid with this real dense, heavy black and gray that'll have him looking much like the young d bag he once was when he's older.
"Not your bro. And I'm retired," I light a cigarette.
"Retired?" The littlest thug asked.
"Not retarded. Retired, yes I am." (Big thanks to Sailor Ned, who's long been dead, for the attitude I've been having! See Ned here:
" )"Wanna smoke a blunt?" I'm asked.
I groan, "No. I don't and you all are morons for smoking out here."
In can tell I'm making the shortest, and most heavily tattooed pissy. Why? Cause I called him a name.
"What's your deal man?" He asks, "Why you got so little respect?"
About two years ago I found out why my 91 year old grandfather smiles, closes his eyes and shakes his head. Because people are morons.
"Cause your buddy here called me Tattoo. If you don't mind..."
"We do," He said.
I had my gun as I always carry in the car, but it's a narrow hallway, and who the fuck am I, Clint Eastwood? "Might have put a five tight in the tube or not. The question is, do you want whip shading? Well do ya, PUNK!?"
I braced myself for a beating, shooting, or something completely different. The one who called me Tattoo did this real little kid, looking at the ground, and I swear that he moved his foot, like a coy chick from a bad 40s movie, right on the toes, "Do you think we can buy some tattoo needles from you? We got the guns..."
In my head, "BWWWWWWWWAAAAAAA!"
From my mouth, "Nope. Tattoo is not in the tattoo supply biz. Sorry Charley. Try T Mart!"
With that I left.
So, I dunno even what I was trying to get down on paper, digital, fuck, never mind. It was funny. Sorta?
Where's Pete and the vodka?
(Gloomy has promised to move if another tire fire starts in the now totally gated closed South parking lot. -Ed.) (Which is also Gloomy)
Hello all. I's still alive and kicking, and slowly I have started building machines.
Just to proove it I got some new ink to share. Bert Grimm flash, and as he always had a good story... aw Hell, here is the link. See? Too damn dumb for a smart phone (took me 10 damned minutes to type this). http://tattooarchive.com/tattoo_history/floyd_pretty_boy.html
Close to the ditch too. Yikes! Shawn at Monster Monkey did it. You owe yourself one from these guys, three best, kind, and honest artists. True class, all the way.
Alright guys and gals, I know there has been a bit of talk about Saniderm and I've posted about this in another thread but I decided to start a little experiment. A few days ago a regular client/friend of mine sent me a text asking about Saniderm and just had a friend who got a decent sized full-colour piece done and healed it completely with the said product. I've asked a few friends of mine in the tattoo industry their thoughts and most of them reacted the same way I did, "Never heard of it but why would you cover a tattoo for three days?".
Then things got a little interesting. I asked friends in the medical field (EMT, Paramedic, And Vet Tech). My EMT friend said it was really similar to other products that are used in Emergency Response for burns and that it's great but shouldn't be used solely. That often it's just for later stages of healing or first response to isolate the injury and so on. My Paramedic had the same exact answer. Now my vet tech said they don't use any product like that but rather one that is a liquid. It helps animals stop bleeding on a laceration or isolate the injured area if they we're hit by a car and suffered road rash.
My client came in yesterday and brought the Saniderm product with her so we played around with a couple pieces, understanding how it works and sticking it on shit around the room. But what is the interesting part is she asked if she could experiment with it on her palm touch up that she was very sketch about getting touched up in the first place since she works retail. Handling money is probs the worst thing you can do with a palm tattoo. haha. Not to mention, the last two guys she went to kind of did a number on it and it has never healed right. It's difficult to EVER tattoo in someone else's hand writing (because that's what the tattoo is) and I know hand tattoos aren't the easiest spot to heal but that's why what made it a perfect candidate but these guys did NOT know wtf they were doing. And I'm fairly new to tattooing so that says a lot. So we did the tattoo, applied the saniderm just as the box directs and said that immediately, all of the post-procedure ache alleviated. She had no discomfort and even at lunch, she was using her hand, WASHED her hands after the meal, and said she was fine.
So today (once I finish my coffee and maybe eat a banana), I'm going to begin my OWN experiment. I am currently in the process of blacking out my leg and find the healing process to be extremely annoying. It's the itchiest shit and in my opinion takes the longest so why not take a shot at it. There will be two spots each about 25mm by 25mm and about 35mm apart, one to be healed dry and one with Saniderm. So once this goes down I will post images and how the tattoo was performed (machine, needle grouping, ink, and voltage) just to get a 100% accurate idea of what's going on and follow the healing process daily for about the next two weeks. If anyone else has done this or healed tattoos side by side with saniderm and typical healing methods, please chime in. I'm super interested in this product. Like I said earlier, I have friends in the medical field and animal care field and it would be nice to give them something that they can work with and have no issues.
Here's the link to the Saniderm website. Personally, I think the interviews look like an infomercial. Not to shame on the artist or person getting tattooed but even my wife left the room going, "Hi, Billy Mays here..." SOOOO yeah, it's a bit cheeseball.
Photos of Saniderm in Use - SanidermSaniderm | Keep it Clean. Keep it Simple.
Let me know what you guys think and feel free to chime in.
A very concrete note: Some supplements can, like prescription blood thinners, affect bleeding and clotting. High doses of Vitamin E may cause people to bleed more freely. Also, some, like St. John’s Wort, affect sun sensitivity. I suspect that whatever changes happen in the skin from SJW could also affect tattoo healing.
Blow-outs happen and there is nothing you can do to fix them. Tattoos take 4 - 6 weeks to fully heal; you'll know what it's going to look like then. No tattoo is perfect. Enjoy the big picture, don't sweat the details.