irezumi

First shop experience

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Not neccessarily the first zap you got, because I am sure I'm not the only one here who couldnt or didnt get one the first time they went in a shop.

My friend took me to a Peter Tat2 on Long Island in '90, where she had got a dragon around her thigh and was going back for a consultation for her next one.

There were 2 people working when I went in; where my friend introduced me to Eddie & Alex. Eddie was working on the most amazing thing I had seen in my life up to that point; a entire ride/side panel of a crawling tiger that is still to this day indescribably awesome. What I saw there was worlds above the average crap I saw on all my punk & skinhead friends.

Alex was the hottest woman I had ever seen. Not just because she was a cool punkish sorta chick with cool tats, but she was really beautiful.

We chatted for a while, and by sheer coincidence, they had just moved up to LI from Baltimore, which was where I was headed in less than a month to go to school there. Excellent first time impression. At that time I did not realize that not all tattoo artists were so awesome and talented. Being 17 and broke I wasnt able to get a tattoo, but I was hooked instantly.

A year or 2 later I find out through a tattootime book who they actually were and it boggled my mind that I had met 2 serious heavy hitters and had just assumed they were regular tat folk.

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First tattoo was in the first American Graffiti in the sublevel of a victorian on 19th ave in Sacramento. This was 1993 and I got a "43" on my wrist from Eric Hogan. I do not remember a tremendous amount about the experience except Eric calling me "kid" which is funny because, looking back, he was in his early 20's. I was somewhat intimidated. That shop brought tattoo culture and an "outlaw punk" vibe to Sacramento in a big way. They were a big presence in Sacramento for a long time.

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christ i owned it.i also lived up stairs was a hell of a comute. was one of the craziest and best times of my life, one that could never be duplicated. that shop had a bathroom where the ceiling was 6 foot so if you were tall you had to bend over to piss, the whole shop was like 6 foot 7 maybe..what a shit hole. rent was 400$ cant beat that with a big stick.

my first tattoo shop was when aaron cain worked at miller cottons in monterey when we were still in highschool, i went to get my first tattoo touched up from him.the place was pure shit. he had stollen the pipe and drape from some convention hall and used that to seperate the waiting room from the work area. he worked off of desks from a motel that he got for free. class act.

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I think it was 1989 or 90. Typical biker shop. My folks got my brother and I tattoos as a present for graduating high school early. Two fresh faced kids and a bunch of dudes in denim vests and colors. Yeah. I fit RIGHT in. I remember that the artist wore gloves but not shoes. Hahah.

The smell of green soap brings me back every time though. if they could make a cologne out of it, I'd probably wear it.

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The smell of green soap brings me back every time though. if they could make a cologne out of it, I'd probably wear it.

haha! i love when just the mere smell of something can bring back vivid memories! any way i was taking care of my tattoo artists dog while she was away for a couple weeks and when i brought her home i realized she smelled just like the shop(soap, smoke, weed etc.)and i have to admit i love it. when you were talking about smells i thought of that and that when i returned the pup to her owner she made a comment that she smelled just like my perfume and i failed to mention that i loved she smelled when i first took her home!

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Funny Scott, I was just telling somebody yesterday about the shop with the best view.

First shop I went into was a dirty dark biker joint. Years later somebody bombed that shop.

I visited American Graffiti in like 1998 or 1999. I actually called Eric up about a job. He asked me to send a portfolio and a photo of myself. Said it was "so we can see who we are dealing with". Haha. Shoulda sent some glamour shot type shit. Anyway, I visited the shop and got a real weird vibe. Eric was super cool to me and asked if I still wanted the job. Told him I was already hooking up with folks in San Jose. But thanks anyway. Lee Hanna layer told me je ended up filling that spot. Glad I said no.

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The first shop I went into was an awesome experience. Being 19 I was excited about delving into the art form and seeing what it was all about. The sound of the tattoo machines and the smell of the Detol was awesome! Looking at all the flash on the walls and all the custom work in the portfolios. . . I knew right then that I would be a collector. All I needed was some form of a job to start paying for all the ink. 12 years later I am still collecting. I loved that clean smell of the Detol so much that I use it at home for disinfecting my house LOL I can be such a nerd at times.

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Me and six of my buddies went in to the only shop in town at the time, and it was every stereotype you had ever heard. The guy who owned it, was hanging out in there with his friend, and in come me and my friends who are 18 at the time. In hindsight, I'm pretty sure I was the only one who really wanted a tattoo, but 3 of my other friends went through with it. They definitely tried to intimidate us with our questions like "is it safe?" to which they said "yeah, we always wipe the needle off when we pull it out of the junkie" I got a terribly done rose on my thigh, one of my friends passed out after getting the outline of the smallest 4 leaf clover you ever saw. He wanted to quit but they wouldn't let him. In the middle of one of the tattoos, the sound of a bunch of motorcycles comes roaring down the road. The guy tattooing puts down his machine, draws a pistol from his person, and tells his buddy to get the shotgun from the back. They both run outside with guns drawn, while me and my friends are laughing and terrified at the same time. I don't think it was an act by these guys, I think they were seriously paranoid. The bikes just kept going down the road, never even slowed down, and they came back inside, and finished the tattoos. This was on Long Island in 1991. I thought it made for a memorable first tattoo.

Hey Irezumi, I remember a girl named Margureite from Peter tat2 who supposedly was the shit. I got tattooed by a girl named Cindy there in '92, and a guy named Brett who I just found out is back in NYC now.

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In the middle of one of the tattoos, the sound of a bunch of motorcycles comes roaring down the road. The guy tattooing puts down his machine, draws a pistol from his person, and tells his buddy to get the shotgun from the back. They both run outside with guns drawn, while me and my friends are laughing and terrified at the same time.

Great story!

I think some of the tattooers on here should start duplicating this experience for newbies whenever possible.

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i was 15 one of my buddies was going to get tattooed by dragon mike in houston texas and my other friend was getting tattooed by richard stell at scorpion studios which was across the street at the time around '91/'92 and i tagged along all i really remember is how terrified i was of richard after he tossed me out for drawing in the shop and mimicking the designs on the wall. i was 15 and didnt realize what a faux pah that was. also richard was a much bigger and orney looking dude then than now if you can imagine.i still came back and hung out almost daily with my buddies but i hung in the back scared of richard. that impression stuck with me so even as a grown man in my 30's id see richard at conventions and was afraid to approach him til the san jose convention 3 years ago where i walked up and introduced my self and he remebered i believe because the first thing he said after i told him my name and that used to hang out in his shop was "oh yeah, didnt i throw you the F%@$ out?" then i got tattooed by him and he was the nicest guy and very quick witted so then i felt pretty silly for being afraid of him for all those years. ha

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I was 15 or 14 when I walked into a shop... Deep Ellum, it was a Sunday afternoon, my folks were always super curious types... They had me and my little sister with them after like a big weekend, Texas vs OU, or Fair Days, or Art Fest....

We tried to walk into Pair O' Dice, my mom and sis wanted a piercing from Skin and Bones... Stace wasn't at the counter, but I can remeber Richard Stell, standing up with Deb on his left, and him ye.ling to get those fucking kids out of the shop.... Hahaha, my Dad being taller then Richard popped off something back, and we were out of there....

Years, YEARS later, I had been coming in watching Richard tattoo, and he finally was like, I like you, you should buy the piercing shop and be my new partner.... After all was said and done, lease signed... I asked, "That's always been your station right?"

His reply, Yup...

I said, well.... funny how life works out, you kicked me out when I was like 15... I come back and bought half the place....fucking small world. It was a Sunday when you kicked me out, you're usually off... So it was either a shitty day, or something was wrong, either way it didn't keep me away...

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summer of '93. i was 12 or 13 years old, my buddy darren and i used to aimlessly ride our skateboards up and down pch all day long in laguna beach, only to stop by the local punk record store underdog, candy stealing missions at circle k, and we would occasionally try to sneak in the door at laguna tattoo and hide behind all the adults until someone noticed we were snooping around and kicked us out.

the second time i ever stopped by, i actually walked in, instead of standing outside with my curious head noodled into the shop. laguna tattoo always got really busy in the summer, it probably still does, so there was a lot of interesting folks and plenty of cool stuff for me to look at. this particular time, darren and i stood in the back of the tiny lil' shop trying not to be noticed and totally dumb-founded by what we were seeing. there was a huge shirtless biker dude in the chair getting his head tattooed and reading a magazine. he didn't move or make a sound. we were completely awestruck! i think this was by far the coolest, toughest, scarriest thing i had ever seen in my life up to that point. it was then that a rather large, ringed hand appeared on my shoulder, as if to say; "you're in trouble kiddo." i looked up to see another shirtless biker-looking dude guiding me out the door. "stay outta here kid." he muttered. he grabbed darren, who at this point was boldly standing up front, hit him over the head with a rolled up magazine and sent him on his way out the door.

it wasn't until a couple years later that i found out by hanging out at the record store that the tattooed man was gg allin who was getting the murder junkies logo tattooed on his head! i'm not quite old enough to have any more biker/tattoo stories. but that experience and other stories i heard growing up single handedly changed the way i saw tattoo shops, and it may be the reason still get that sinking feeling in my gut sometimes when i walk into a shop, an unexplained feeling of fear, like someones going to pull out a knife any second and kick me out. i guess i caught the tail end for that age of tattoo shops.

i later returned to laguna tattoo 3 days after my eighteenth birthday for my first tattoo done by lindsey carmicheal. 5 years after gg allin, the shop seemed so different to me. it was so obvious, even to me as a youngster who didn't know anything about tattoo culture yet, that there was a huge shift in the demand for tattoos by popular culture. after some looking i discovered this....

enjoy!

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my first time in a shop was when i was 16, a few days before my 17th birthday. my mother had promised me a tattoo for my 17th birthday. i knew i wanted something that incorporated my native heritage, but i didnt want anything "native" i.e dream catcher, chiefs head etc. so we looked through a ton of flash books, at this age i didnt even think of getting a custom design or talking to the artist, or even looking at the portfolios. live and learn eh? i was just so excited to actually be getting my first tattoo. eventually i found a ying yang with bear claws inside of it and thought this is it. perfect. im part of the bear clan and the ying yang could "represent" the duality of being half native.

booked an appointment for a few days after i turned 17. and the rest is history in the flesh.

i dont even remember what the tattoo artist name was or even what he looked like. the shop closed down a few months later and it was 3 years before i got another tattoo.

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i dont know the year, but a long time ago. i met goodtime charlie cartwright, in wichita kansas, at end of the trail tattoo shop. way before piercings were hip.

he tattooed a dragon on my fore arm. i was locked in . he inspired me to be a tattoo artist. i never got a chance to thank him. what a great man.

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1991 @ G&G Tattoo in Ohio. Went with a friend who was getting a celtic tramp stamp. I got a Borneo tribal scorpion on my chest. At first they didn't want to do it, told me it was too big for a first piece, rough spot, ect, ect... Two and a half hours and $150 dollars later I had my first tattoo.

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I don't remember my actual first experience, as it was when I was at the tattoo shop my parents frequented in the '90s (when i was well under 10 years old). I have fleeting memories of the lay out of the shop, copying comic book drawings in the lobby, and folks gathering around the rattlesnake cage by the fromt door whenever they fed it mice.

the first experience getting tattooed was when in 2007 when I was 20, getting some text (same text and placement as my father), with a skull and crossbones underneath. it was from Dennis McPhail of Artist at Large tattoo in Wichita... from the smell of the green soap reminding me of some of those memories of being with my parents years ago to the mention of the speakers being blown from all the sweet country music, it was a pretty good experience.

on a side note tattoojeff, my father got his chest and alot of stuff on his arms from Good Time Charlie when he was in Wichita back in the day... it's a small world!

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man i am a noob my first time was this march at think ink in norman oklahoma.. I first got tattooed at 15. I wore the bad tattoos for 12 years. After getting a fight signed in brazil I decided to get something put over them on the fly but tattoo was illegal in oklahoma and i was short on time so I got some big black ink to cover them on my arm and back. Only now am I taking actions to get some great art.

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The first time I went to a studio was a pretty uneventful experience compared to some, though I do think it's funny how it was actually my mam who walked out with the souvenir of our day on her shoulder, since I was about 14.

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the first time i saw someone getting tattooed was when a friend and i were at the festival put on by the hells angels, we were both 17, he got the lines of the black flag 'bars'.. even though it was only 6 years ago i can't really remember it that well.. but i'm almost certain it was essentially in the back of a caravan.. there was a whole row of people doing that (again, .. i *think* that's what it was).. i didn't get one.. it was also the first day of the festival, he didn't have any aftercare items, and spent every penny he took for food for the next three days on it..

the first time i got tattooed was at frith street, so it was great.

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Venice Beach when i was 13. i was able to go see my cousin, who was living in Northridge at the time, for my 8th grade graduation present. She took me to Venice Beach and we looked at all the tattoo shops on the boardwalk as she wanted to get a Winnie the Pooh tattoo (which she eventually did, though I'm not sure where she got it done...). I remember feeling like the shops were sketch (which most of them appear to be still), but also being really fascinated, and feeling grown up as no one had ever taken me to a tattoo shop before.

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man i am a noob my first time was this march at think ink in norman oklahoma.. I first got tattooed at 15. I wore the bad tattoos for 12 years. After getting a fight signed in brazil I decided to get something put over them on the fly but tattoo was illegal in oklahoma and i was short on time so I got some big black ink to cover them on my arm and back. Only now am I taking actions to get some great art.

That's right, Oklahoma only lifted the ban a couple years ago right?

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