Intomyskin

New Here, Old Guy

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Hello All!

I've been reading this site for some time to get information, and it has been really valuable in that way, so I decided to join and share.

I'm a 60 something married male, an architect by profession, who got a very small, very hidden tattoo in the early 1970s, added a little to it several years later...and then stopped. However I became totally enamored with the art of tattooing, but couldn't bring myself to get what I really wanted until only the last few years. So, I'm about to embark on a full Japanese back piece, extending to my upper thighs, and quarter or half sleeves, extending partially onto my chest.

How I got to this point is a long story, wrought with the angst of doubt, fear, and perhaps way too much self-analysis. But I love to write (even though I am a bit long-winded), so I started a blog. You can read my tattoo story here.

This is a huge step for me. I exist in a world where I have no tattooed friends or colleagues – Zero (Well, actually one friend, a lady with two tiny tattoos on her wrists). But basically no one around me except my wife has any interest in tattoos, and generally everyone around me views tattooing negatively. I feel pretty alone in this interest.

I'm hoping that here I can find a community, support, and some "tattoo friends" with whom I can share my love of the art.

I view tattooing with great reverence. I think that the ability to transform your skin into a work of art that will be part of you forever is a pretty powerful concept. I could never say that to my friends without them thinking I'm insane, but I hope there are people here who feel similarly.

Looking forward to communing with you all!

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Welcome from another newbiw..in all respects. I just began my journey about two weeks ago with my first tattoo - just a month short of my 61st birthday. I came from a professional background..and remain in a different one now,,,that is not tolerant of tattoos. I look forward to following your journey!!!

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In some ways I wish I had not waited so long to start this project, but on the other hand, I'm also glad that I didn't plunge in head first when I was young. Even though I struggled for way too many years with my decision, by the time I was in my 50s I pretty much knew where my life was going, and understood and accepted the implications and limitations of being tattooed in my world. So it allowed me to make better decisions on placement. I think if I was young, I would have made decisions that I would have regretted.

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Great story. I really wouldn't worry about what other people think. Just since having the linework of my sleeve done (only two weeks), I've had so many people confess to me their hidden tattoos or their wish that they could sleeve their arm - people you would never expect. Most people have hidden envy, wishing they had the freedom to do what you are doing. And while people your age may be less accepting, my experience is anyone under 35 doesn't care one bit about tattoos. They weren't alive when ink had any taboo at all.

Seems like you picked a great artist. Her Instagram shows that she really does good traditional Japanese tattoos. But since you are committing to such a huge piece that will take a substantial amount of time and money -- make 100% sure she is the one. I ended up really happy (thrilled, even) with my artist... but until the design was painted onto my arm, second-guessing my artist choice was probably my biggest anxiety. Especially since there are so many fantastic Irezumi/Horimono specialists out there. Even though Cindy seems totally awesome, I would force yourself to look and look and look and make sure she is the one. Having that peace of mind and confidence in your choice will make the process much easier.

Beyond that - get booked - we want photos!

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Thanks to all for your responses. They have have been heartwarming, and I am starting to feel like I have some brothers and sisters here, people who understand. It makes me feel very good.

@otisc - Your recommendation to "look and look" is a good one. I have looked at countless artists over the years, dating beck to even before I made my decision to proceed.  After I made the decision, I really researched artists. I am very picky, and I want the best Japanese tattoo I can get. In fact, at one point, (for about 18 seconds) I actually considered going to Japan, but quickly realized that the cost and time would be prohibitive. But I also want it to be an awesome experience, as well as a great tattoo.

The "awesome experience" part is the toughest. I have seen a lot of artists whose Japanese work I love, have communicated with many, and visited the shops of some, and talked to them. There are many whose work I wanted, but I just didn't feel a connection with them. I can't really explain it, just a feeling, and "feeling" matters a lot to me.

I've looked at every picture of Cindy's work that I could find online and I like her work a lot. Because I can be a bit OCD, yes, I might say that I like artist X's waves, and I like artist Y's wind bars, and oh yeah, artist Z really does nice poenies. But at some point that sort of analysis gets you going in circles because you are at a level where they are all good, but just have different styles or details.

So this is where the "awesome experience" part kicks in. Cindy has responded to my emails in great detail. She patiently answered my questions, gave advice, educated me about the style, and process, and planning, and respectfully, but honestly pointed out some of the flaws in my ideas. I feel a really good vibe with her, and I feel like I need that sort of nurturing, guiding experience.

It may sound overly dramatic, but I feel that not only will the tattoo be part of me forever, but in a sense the artist will also be part of me forever, as well as the experience. I want to feel good about that too.

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Check out Darcy Nutt as well for large Japanese work, just for comparison. 

Another thing that helped me when first getting into this is to spend a lot of time looking at BAD tattoos. Honestly. It really helped me to to improve my eye and get pickier about what I wanted in my own designs and what I expected from an artist. There are threads here and sites devoted to bad tattoos, lol. 

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@Intomyskin You're absolutely right to consider the feel you get from the artist. The artist, the experience you had while getting the tattoo are all in there with it.  People maybe can't see it, but it's there.

 

A back takes a long time, so you're going to be spending a lot of time with your artist so you want somebody you get along with and can relate to in some way. As well as the time spent on it, it's an intimate process, you're vulnerable and in pain in front of somebody you don't know that well so that personal connection is critical, and it's not something you can get from looking at a portfolio.

 

Seems like you have a good handle on things.  I'm excited for you. 

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Great advice @LizBee. I usually just to gloss over pictures of "bad tattoos," but I must say that I HAVE learned about what to look for regarding quality line work and shading by looking at bad tattoos.

BTW, I saw your Darcy Nutt Angelfish Peony in your gallery. It is absolutely beautiful! Darcy has a really nice style, her Japanese work has her own personal stamp on it, and is quite striking.  

Wear it well!

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