Abe Froman

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Hello, I do not have a tattoo yet. I have been working on this one idea for a number of years, like 7 or more, and it has expanded into 3 tattoos I know I'm going to get. I have talked to shops and realized that I'm biting off more than I expected. I know how much they should cost probably, but these are probably multi session tattoos and I didn't realize that. I had originally hoped to go down to Miami Beach for like 7 to 10 days and hang out and get all three done. That's not going to happen.

So I'm here to hang out, read some posts and try and pick up more information about tattoo artists, shops, culture, and the process of actually getting one.

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Sausage king, is that you?

- - - Updated - - -

Welcome. Where are you from?

I looked over a couple of posts and realized I could have gone a little more in depth. It's been my experience with forums so far to tread lightly until you get the feel for how people interact there.

My actual name is Darrell. Yes, the Sausage King, no not really. I just have an affinity for 80's movies and sometimes reference them.

I'm from Birmingham, Al, although I've been just down the road in Tuscaloosa for the last 3 years. I decided to go back to school and so I'll graduate from the University of Alabama College of Commerce and Business Administration in December 2014 at the ripe young age of 37 with a double major in finance and economics and a specialization in macroeconomic and monetary policy.

I haven't always been a stiff, so y'all don't hate me. I spent 15 years in the service business with 7 of it running a poker game in the Birmingham area.

My hope is to apply for MBA programs in the Atlanta, Ga area after graduation and most hopefully find a job there. I have family there already.

So that's me, and I want at least 3 large tattoos so the people I'll end up working with, where we'll all wear long sleeves and buttoned collars, won't have a clue that I'd be inked until the first company picnic, then they'll get the surprise. I'm not talking sleeves, but shoulder and back for now.

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I don't think you need to fly to Miami to get a tattoo.

Maybe not. But I was down there last January and enjoyed being there so much. Then through my research I found a website that listed it as the best tattoo city in the country. I'm not trying to start a fight with those words right there and offend people in other places, anyway. So there was that combination of things that told me I wanted to go there. I didn't limit my research to there. I have also researched shops in Atlanta because I travel there a lot. There are definitely shops there that have good reviews as well. Maybe I can find an okay artist closer, there is actually supposed to be a guy right up the street from me who has a good reputation. Part of it is that these tattoos have so much meaning to me that I want the whole thing to be kind of an experience. I swear, I'm really joking with the part about surprising coworkers. These are for me, no one else. That's in part why they'll be so that they are pretty much covered if I have a t shirt on. I mean if the one on my shoulder comes below a short sleeve a little it won't bother me.

But, that's part of the reason I'm here is to find that tattoo artist, or artists because I want one color and the other two like grayscale, that will give me that experience. So I'll be searching around for threads where I can join the conversation about what I should look for in a shop and an artist.

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Abe,

What style of tattoo are you after?

Josh

Before I go into, I'm using the term greyscale for all black. Is there a more accurate term the community uses to describe that kind of work?

Hmm. I'll tell you about them and perhaps you can tell me if they fall into a style. I've tried reading about different styles so that I could communicate with artists about the work and I've yet to find the right vocabulary.

The first I thought I was a little set on and the more I look into it I'm changing my mind.

I want a phoenix on my left shoulder, I'm a pretty big guy so there's room to work, I had kind of envisioned a pastel look with just orange, yellow, and red flames and no real outlines. I wanted the feet holding five roses, three turned to the right with blossoms, and the other two to the left that are wilted.

So get back to reality, after talking with artists and researching, that vision needs to be changed. I really wanted this to have vivid flames on the wings in place of feathers, that still might be possible. On Ink Master season 2 the lady did a phoenix in greyscale I think and there were elements of it that I liked, I don't want to copy that, just some elements that would work for me. So when I find the right artist for me I'll be asking his or her opinion, telling them what I'm getting at, and see if they can help me interpret into a workable piece that will hold up.

Next two are kind of companion pieces. On my left shoulder blade, kind of large taking up about the upper quarter of my back, I want kind of a fallen angel. Not Lucifer, but it's female, but not sexual, she's kneeling and either looking away or down. This would be greyscale. I have some pictures and images I've saved kind of about her body, but the artist I work with would really have to help me out with the wings, I'm a little lost on them.

The third is on the right shoulder blade, takes up about the upper quarter of my back and is the angel of death with his scythe. I like greyscale on this, but possible with some blueish or greenish tinting, maybe like a green fog in the background. The color, if any, I would look at the artist and ask if they think that is a good idea, if not then the whole thing could be greyscale. Plus with the two pieces on my back being so large, and being companion pieces, they might just run into each other and be turned into one large piece. And so then I don't know that it would make sense to have a green or blue fog on one side and the other side be greyscale completely, so the color might go.

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I welcome any comments or suggestions on the above idea. And let me state that just because I mentioned Ink Master doesn't mean I watched the show and decided to get a tattoo. I'm sure some people do that and to each their own.

It's just that for the many years that I've been wanting the phoenix tattoo I've always kept my eye out for ideas or inspiration. So any art that sticks out at me I might save on my computer, get a pic of, or tuck it in the back of my mind.

Edited by Abe Froman
I'm an idiot

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Welcome @Abe Froman You've found a great community here. I'm sure you'll get some excellent feedback. There is a good thread around here about what makes a good tattoo: http://www.lastsparrowtattoo.com/forum/general-tattoo-discussion/2396-what-makes-good-tattoo.html

Have a read through that , if you like. I'm not a tattooer, so I am not the right person to offer much advice outside what I have personally experienced. I think you might want to consider avoiding tattoos without outlines. Perhaps someone else here can explain better than me, but I don't think they hold up as well over time. You needn't have massively thick outlines, but I think some is better than none. It sounds like you have done almost everything except get the tattoos! Good luck - getting tattooed is an amazing journey.

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I agree with the no outlines statement. That's why I said I'm rethinking that tattoo. Definitely still want it. Just need to find the right artist to help me translate that vision into something that works. I spoke with one in Miami who indeed told me that was not a great idea.

I have read the What Makes a Good Tattoo thread, about half of it so far. I'll finish that later. I plan on reading a whole bunch of threads when I have free time.

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Before I go into, I'm using the term greyscale for all black. Is there a more accurate term the community uses to describe that kind of work?

Hmm. I'll tell you about them and perhaps you can tell me if they fall into a style. I've tried reading about different styles so that I could communicate with artists about the work and I've yet to find the right vocabulary.

The first I thought I was a little set on and the more I look into it I'm changing my mind.

I want a phoenix on my left shoulder, I'm a pretty big guy so there's room to work, I had kind of envisioned a pastel look with just orange, yellow, and red flames and no real outlines. I wanted the feet holding five roses, three turned to the right with blossoms, and the other two to the left that are wilted.

So get back to reality, after talking with artists and researching, that vision needs to be changed. I really wanted this to have vivid flames on the wings in place of feathers, that still might be possible. On Ink Master season 2 the lady did a phoenix in greyscale I think and there were elements of it that I liked, I don't want to copy that, just some elements that would work for me. So when I find the right artist for me I'll be asking his or her opinion, telling them what I'm getting at, and see if they can help me interpret into a workable piece that will hold up.

Next two are kind of companion pieces. On my left shoulder blade, kind of large taking up about the upper quarter of my back, I want kind of a fallen angel. Not Lucifer, but it's female, but not sexual, she's kneeling and either looking away or down. This would be greyscale. I have some pictures and images I've saved kind of about her body, but the artist I work with would really have to help me out with the wings, I'm a little lost on them.

The third is on the right shoulder blade, takes up about the upper quarter of my back and is the angel of death with his scythe. I like greyscale on this, but possible with some blueish or greenish tinting, maybe like a green fog in the background. The color, if any, I would look at the artist and ask if they think that is a good idea, if not then the whole thing could be greyscale. Plus with the two pieces on my back being so large, and being companion pieces, they might just run into each other and be turned into one large piece. And so then I don't know that it would make sense to have a green or blue fog on one side and the other side be greyscale completely, so the color might go.

- - - Updated - - -

I welcome any comments or suggestions on the above idea. And let me state that just because I mentioned Ink Master doesn't mean I watched the show and decided to get a tattoo. I'm sure some people do that and to each their own.

It's just that for the many years that I've been wanting the phoenix tattoo I've always kept my eye out for ideas or inspiration. So any art that sticks out at me I might save on my computer, get a pic of, or tuck it in the back of my mind.

Abe,

It sounds like you know exactly what you want but your also showing me exactly how new you are to the game..

If I could give you any advice it's simply this, find a artist who is YOUR style and remember that the tattoo process is all about compromise. This is the main reason you need to go to an artist you both respect and trust. Although the work is on your body it's essentially a 50/50 project between you and the artist, sometimes you simply have to allow them the leeway to do what will look best. Tattooists arnt desktop printers, they need creative control to an extent to do there best work. You will get a much better tattoo this way trust me..

The thinking and planning needs to go in before you select the artist, once found keep the process as organic as possible...

That's my two cents anyway,

Josh

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Josh, yeah, I appreciate that. And I'm absolutely looking to find someone I can work with. The "best" in the world might be available, but if he or she isn't cool I don't want them working on me. So yeah, next time I'm in Atalanta I'll visit a couple of shops and just chat with some folks and see what's up.

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Josh, yeah, I appreciate that. And I'm absolutely looking to find someone I can work with. The "best" in the world might be available, but if he or she isn't cool I don't want them working on me. So yeah, next time I'm in Atalanta I'll visit a couple of shops and just chat with some folks and see what's up.

Abe,

I may get shot down from others on the forum about this but in my experience the best tattooists arn't to be found in your typical tattoo shops, whilst there are exceptions (generally because some of the best tattooists tattoo out of shops they own), most of the world's best don't need the shop environment to be sucessful (e.g money from walk in's, advertising etc). Search online and trust the fact that generally speaking the best tattooists in the world arn't simply the best because of their artwork but because their also good with people too.

Josh

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Josh, that's probably true,

I was trying to lay low on some of my specific questions until I had time to research them on the forums and see what info is already out there. Now I absolutely appreciate the interest and conversation and any information that you and others may have to give, I just don't want to piss anyone off by going into things that are covered somewhere in a thread and I don't know it yet because I haven't read that much on the forum as of yet. Watched some videos, checked out a couple of threads.

I've done a lot of research on shops in my area, which there aren't a lot, Atlanta, and Miami Beach. I've made contact with a bunch of the ones in Miami Beach. So I feel like I'm a little ahead of where it might seem I am.

Here's the trouble, I do want to look at the artist's work before hand. I narrowed the list down. Two of the shops(actually there might have been a third that said this too) that I first thought I liked told me the same thing. That I wouldn't pick out an artist and that when I got there, after paying a deposit for the appointment, I would be assigned an artist. I wasn't overly comfortable with that answer which is why I initially took a step back from that plan.

This is the important part

So I got on this forum to ask people what they think of that scenario. That everything I've read so far is you should check out the artist, talk to them, look at their work, decide you like them and see if they want to do the piece and then you can move forward,

Someone please tell me I'm all wrong about this.

Now, about those shops, I certainly didn't come here to bash anyone. I really liked the art that I saw and the way they presented themselves but was a little put off that when I inquired about particular artists I got the answer I got. That bothered me a little. I talked to another guy who is highly, highly regarded but what of his work is available for viewing, the style was off from kind of what I want. That doesn't mean I have decided definitively to not use any of these places. I've had good back and forth emails with them and they have all been very helpful.

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@Abe Froman It sounds to me that you're on the right track. There are some shops I would go to and I'd be happy to be tattooed by anybody there, but for the most part, when I get tattooed it's because I've found an artist who does tattoos that really speak to me, and I want to get tattooed by them in particular. And I think especially for what you're asking for, I don't think it's unreasonable to want to go to a particular artist. And yeah, personality matters.

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