cfgsteak

How did you decide to cover yourself?

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I have trouble making decisions. I am slowly being tattooed...I have a good idea what i want to do with my left arm, my chest/stomach, my back and even my legs...but I am completely at a loss at what to do with my right arm (except what I NORMALLY do with it, *blush*).

My question isn't "what should I do with my right arm", my question is how did YOU decide to cover yourself? Are all your pieces done on a whim? Did you meticulously plan out each body part?

Just curious...

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I just got shit I thought was cool... You meet an artist who's shit you really like and usually that makes you go oh I want a such and such from that guy. You see a cool piece of flash on the wall and thing 'damn i need that on me'. That's pretty much how I got everything I've got.

It's different for everyone. Some people get tattoos to represent something, like you get an airplane cause your grandfather was a fighter pilot. I just get shit I think looks cool and the meaning or story being the tattoo ends up being about who did it, when I got it, where I was.

Most people have a general idea of the style of tattoos they want like Japanese, traditional, black and grey, etc. and just go from there I think.

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My old way of thinking was purely based on the images I wanted without real understanding of quality work and the abilities and different styles of particular artists...but after spending a lot of time here, studying the art, visiting shops, talking to artists and collectors my whole paradigm has radically changed. Now I think much more in terms of WHO I want doing WHAT, instead of just, "I want a dragon on my back", or whatever.

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I totally agree with you. When I found out about good tattoos everything changed. I wanted a totally different style of tattoos than what I'd been getting. I have some fucking awful tattoos, luckily they are all pretty small except the one on my foot. Now for me it's more about who's doing the tattoo as well. I'm a lot more choosy now that's for sure.

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My old way of thinking was purely based on the images I wanted without real understanding of quality work and the abilities and different styles of particular artists...but after spending a lot of time here, studying the art, visiting shops, talking to artists and collectors my whole paradigm has radically changed. Now I think much more in terms of WHO I want doing WHAT, instead of just, "I want a dragon on my back", or whatever.

i know what you mean, when I got here I did not know who tim hendricks, thomas hooper or James spencer briggs were. Now I would pretty much tell them what idea I had and let them run with it. 15 years ago I would have thought "I want a cross wonder which of my buddies could use a guitar string and put it there"

just saw ursalas post spot on

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its like a timeline/map of events. the significance or meanings to each of them is sometimes obscure or a reference to something as well as sometimes being an inside joke. the sum total of them being a rejection of mainstream culture. i do from time to time hear people say that they want to wait til they are "in shape" before getting a tattoo somewhere and i tell them that i think i'll just cover myself and if i'm fat and ugly then at least there will be a bunch of scary tattoos to distract from that.

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I just get (when I am able to again) classic looking stuff. Shit that will look good when I am 70. The lower part of my arms will have something that gives others (and me of course) a good feeling. Tattoos are visible, social, and I want them to match my inner persona. Even more when they are visible to everyone most of the time. Now my lower part of arms have shit. Grude horror tattoo, some crap I took when I didnt know any better and some text.

Not me. Or not the world I want to portray. This is a good text

Another thing to contemplate, especially for larger custom tattoos, is the 'energy' that the tattoo will express, or the message that it will convey. This may sound a little cheesy, but it's still worth noting that the subject matter of your tattoos will project a certain 'vibe' about you into the world, especially to any up-close viewers of your tattoos. Just like a painting is meant to affect the viewer, your tattoos will affect their viewer, even though you may have gotten them solely for yourself. Images of death and destruction are very powerful, as are those of beauty, but the former may lead other people to stereotype you in a potentially worse way than the latter. Therefore, give proper thought to the images you choose to adorn your body with for the rest of your life, and be sure that you can live with any foreseeable consequences. In no way are we attempting to reinforce or justify unfair social stereotypes of certain tattooed people by mentioning this, but you should be aware of the social conditions that you live in, to determine what you do or do not want to deal with. Off The Map Tattoo: Subject Matter and Projecting Energy

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It was never a decision, really. Started with the chest, crept down the arms and sides, now my legs have been taken over.

But I'd say a combination of Flores'/Petri's/Ursula's post. Only now that I have substantial coverage (compared to your average citizen) have I really made an attempt to both plan my remaining space and attempt to answer that question of how I am portraying myself. I think I said somewhere else, "I keep waking up with new ones," which is a joke but pretty true.

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My thinking would be similar to eveyone that has posted before me. I would like to be tattooed by a ever changing list that I have in my head. I respect these tattooers for the work they put out, to me the image they tattoo on me isn't has important as the quality of it. But like the exerpt that Petri quoted, death is something I don't really want to touch on. First impressions are important, and if you have someone being decapated on your forearm... well that's something hard to get past.

But I have been debating with myself over to do a full traditional Japanese body suit or to stop after what I have planned. Doing the suit would leave me with only a few areas that I could/would tattoo by other artists. Which would make those tattoos that much more special and push me to go to the tattooers I respect the most, no matter the distance/wait. Or just stopping and allowing me to get larger tattoos by more artists with my now saved skin.

When I do go to other artists though I would love to just say to them "I love the tattoos you do. I would like to set up an appointment. But I want to get something that you have been wanting to try to do" or something like that. Let them pick what to tattoo on that particular spot, to get their creative jucies flowing for what shape and flow it will have.

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I just get (when I am able to again) classic looking stuff. Shit that will look good when I am 70. The lower part of my arms will have something that gives others (and me of course) a good feeling. Tattoos are visible, social, and I want them to match my inner persona. Even more when they are visible to everyone most of the time. Now my lower part of arms have shit. Grude horror tattoo, some crap I took when I didnt know any better and some text.

Not me. Or not the world I want to portray. This is a good text

When I do go to other artists though I would love to just say to them "I love the tattoos you do. I would like to set up an appointment. But I want to get something that you have been wanting to try to do" or something like that. Let them pick what to tattoo on that particular spot, to get their creative jucies flowing for what shape and flow it will have.

i can completely relate to these responses. i have a piece on the inside (thank god) of my left forearm that features a candle coming out of my arm, cut by a giant razorblade, with the script "you live" underneath it. the tattoo is based off song lyrics by a band i no longer enjoy nearly as much (mistake #1) as i used to, and that i decided to have done on a whim. i didn't really even like the tattoo, but since a friend was tattooing it, and insisted on that design, i went with it (mistake #2). now everyone asks me if it's a tribute to someone who died, suicide, etc. my partner's dad even jokingly asked me if was "a tribute to my cutting days." needless to say i was embarrassed and didn't find it funny at all.

now, i'm hoping i can get it covered up, and i really have the same sentiments as CaptCanada. i've got three rules: it can't be vulgar, it can't be related to drugs or alcohol (i've been sober for 10 years), no nudity. that goes for any of my other tattoos (though i have a few funny ones i want in places that will not be seen by the public, such as my upper thigh). and i'll of course have a budget, but i just really want the tattoo gone. it probably will need to be lasered, but as was previous discussed in another thread, there hasn't been a good recommendation for doctor/technician here in the bay, and i haven't had the time or money to thoroughly investigate it.

in general though, most of my tattoos are planned out. i have thought of some ridiculous (like a giant black heart) ideas to cover the above mentioned piece, and i've thought of some non-ridiculous ideas. i've always wanted a tattoo for the song "Blackbird" by the Beatles, as i rediscovered it during a time of my life where a lot of stuff was changing, and it's stayed my anthem for the last 5 years. but i don't know if that's the place to do it, if it can be done there, and i don't want to restrict it based on space or a cover up. so i guess, in the end, we'll see what happens.

going back to the original question, i too also feel like the tattoos on me are a timeline or a map, but i also try to sleep on most of the designs that i want, at least for a while, before having them tattooed. i don't usually have the placement or the end result completely planned out, but i have the initial idea, and i'll just keep it in the back of my mind and see how many times it comes up when i look, listen, or experience something. if it's something i really want done, more often than not, i'll be reminded of it on a daily basis unintentionally.

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Death is something I don't really want to touch on. First impressions are important, and if you have someone being decapated on your forearm... well that's something hard to get past.

True enough, but death doesn't always have to mean grizzly, gory stuff. The idea of "memento mori" is inherent in a lot of tattoo designs that don't need to be especially graphic. I have plenty of skulls but none scream death, really, even though some have daggers through them. I guess it's all perception.. what were we talking about?

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There as a great story in one of the tattoo time mags. I think it was in Tattoo Time? Fuck, can remember. It was either Thom Devita, Ed Hardy, Mike Malone or someone else who told how one girl got a person hanged as a tattoo and to her it was about horrible acts. But everyone thought her to be racist. And then there was other stuff relating to gory etc images.

Was it Tattoo Time? Or maybe TAM? Can remember...

Fuck... Was it the one I did with Robert Ryan? And it was Daniel Higgs? Might have been that one. Fuck, now this post seems like some publicity stunt so that everyone will read it!

... :D

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There as a great story in one of the tattoo time mags. I think it was in Tattoo Time? Fuck, can remember. It was either Thom Devita, Ed Hardy, Mike Malone or someone else who told how one girl got a person hanged as a tattoo and to her it was about horrible acts. But everyone thought her to be racist. And then there was other stuff relating to gory etc images.

Was it Tattoo Time? Or maybe TAM? Can remember...

Fuck... Was it the one I did with Robert Ryan? And it was Daniel Higgs? Might have been that one. Fuck, now this post seems like some publicity stunt so that everyone will read it!

... :D

HAHAHA welcome back, Petri! I actually know the thing you're talking about, I think it might've been in the Tattoo Time #2, Tattoo Magic, though I also cannot remember..

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There as a great story in one of the tattoo time mags. I think it was in Tattoo Time? Fuck, can remember. It was either Thom Devita, Ed Hardy, Mike Malone or someone else who told how one girl got a person hanged as a tattoo and to her it was about horrible acts. But everyone thought her to be racist. And then there was other stuff relating to gory etc images.

Was it Tattoo Time? Or maybe TAM? Can remember...

Fuck... Was it the one I did with Robert Ryan? And it was Daniel Higgs? Might have been that one. Fuck, now this post seems like some publicity stunt so that everyone will read it!

... :D

That was the Robert Ryan one in TAM! Great article by the way!

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Robert Ryan talks about the power of negative tattoos in his interview in TAM. He mentions a story about someone getting a black cat with word "Unlucky" underneath and that person later losing that limb in an accident.

I am very aware of the stuff I put into the world, so no devils, intoxicants,violence, or hardcore sexuality in any of my tattoos. I also started with a black and gray Immaculate Mary on my right arm and switched to color on the rest of my tattoos. I'm Mexican American and I know first-hand what kind of impression you give people when you have a shaved head and you're covered in black and gray work, no matter how well-spoken you happen to be. Plus I really like the way color looks on my skin.

So far, my left side is about mortality (the only skull I have is surrounded by green vines and a bird), my right side is about spirituality. My lower right leg will probably carry on with the spiritual theme. My lower left leg is where my travel tattoos are going so far. My thighs, back, ribs will be larger traditional/neo traditional; as much as I like Japanese tattoos, I just don't connect with it culturally. But if I travel to Asia, then a small travel tattoo would be an exception. I promised to leave my pecs and stomach untattooed for my girlfriend.

I get my tattoos as I can afford them, which is usually twice a year at this point (summer trip and birthday, usually). It gives me plenty of time to think about what I want.

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that robert ryan interview is a good one for sure!

at the same time, you have to be kind of dumb to get a tattoo of a black guy getting hanged and not think people are going to just assume you're a racist. If I saw that tattoo, I'd probably think they were racist too.

I know someone who got a watermelon baby tattooed on them and they've regretted it since because again everyone sees it and automatically assumes racism. It doesn't help that he lives in a city with an almost majority African American population.

I think the real lesson or advice here is choose wisely.

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I enjoyed your answer Kev.

I have kinda decided to divide my body in sections as well...left side and back japanese, legs spiritual, and my right side most likely to be used for a collection of smaller more traditional works done by artists I need to travel to.

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Petri-I assume since the name isn't very common that this is your interview? Great questions!

Robert Ryan Article preview TAM#23

Petri, great article, we're lucky to have you on here.

Regarding the question, "how did you decide to cover yourself", I've never made that decision. I've been super selective and slow about the whole process, and I've never set out with the intention of being "heavily tattooed." However, to the casual non-bodysuited observer, I seem to have crossed that line. But the more tattooers I get to know and love, and the more spectacular artwork I see, the more I want. I also feel like it's the custom of my tribe. Having two young kids, and not a lot of opportunity to travel, the pieces will come slowly, but I suspect I'll go to my grave in a full bodysuit. (Or I'll make a fabulous suitcase.)

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