Thursday, June 12, 2008

Talking About Tattoos

My dad had some great tattoos. I always thought they were rather scandalous. At least to me as a young daughter they seemed so.

On one shoulder he sported a tattoo of a Hawaiian woman in a hula skirt. Bare breasted of course. On the other shoulder I believe he had a tattoo of a cowgirl, again; bare breasted.

He enjoyed moving his arms around, trying to make these inked women dance.
Ha ha. Funny, dad.

He was also tattooed on each forearm. I remember one as a heart with a knife through it. I can't remember the other.
(I'm thinking it might have had something to do with his Mom, who died when he was 12 years old)

I so wish I had pictures of his tattoos now, as my father has been deceased for 20 years.

I can't type that sentence without thinking how much I miss him. Alcoholism and all. I still miss him.

On one thigh he had a large tattoo of a dragon.

I must assume that drinking was involved with all his tattoos since I believe they all occurred during his military service in the Philippines. (DO NOT go into a tattoo studio if you’ve been drinking or if you’re under the influence of something. Show your tattoo artist some respect and come sober- nobody likes dealing with drunks. If your breath smells of alcohol you’re not going to get a tattoo- not from anyone reputable, anyway. If you’re wasted, you won’t make a good decision on what to get and you’ll bleed so heavily your tattoo is likely to look like it’s done in pastel colors.)

Well, I've since come to the opinion that "the family that tattoos together stays together."

All kidding aside, I had my first tattoo at about 21 years of age. At Ricky Tattoo Parlor in Alameda, California. I was, mistakenly, told that tattoos don't hurt. Don't kid yourself. It involves needles. It hurts.

My daughter Vanessa followed in my footsteps and was tattooed a few years ago with this lovely image;

My son Casey followed shortly after with this;

It was around 1976 that I had a bird tattooed on my forearm. (I had another tattoo done around 1978, but it's not relevant.) Not being thrilled with the bird tattoo, and finally deciding to own up to my rattlesnake bite experience, and also wanting to honor my dad (who stuck the bite with a knife, sucked the poison and drove me the two hours to the hospital) I had a rattlesnake tattoo done five years ago (2003) which covered the original tattoo of the bird.

I recently decided to have it embellished. I went back to the original artist, Travis, at Inkvision.

As I said, tattoos hurt. To me, it feels like a continual bee sting. I want to slap it away. Constantly. But it won't stop. I have to continually remind myself why I'm there.

Five years of tattooing experience makes a world of difference as these pictures can attest to; look at the before and after pics. (click on pics for a closer look)

I'm thrilled with my recent improvement, even after SEVEN HOURS of being under the tattoo needle. (Oh my!)

(For comparison, the first snake tattoo took Travis THIRTEEN HOURS to complete, with much less detail).

See the drop shadow Travis suggested this time?

Yeah, great idea. He included this towards the end of my session along much of the length of the snake.
To give you an idea though, if someone suggests this, when he was tattooing the drop shadow along the head, I thought, seriously, I was going to have a stroke. It hurt that much worse than the rest of the tattoo.
I don't know why.
I also don't know why I put up with the pain.
All I know is that it's worth it.
At least to me.

My friend Steph is getting her first tattoo this month.

I've been trying to talk Kim into joining our little group, to no avail.
He sees no point to the pain. (silly boy!)
Alas, I doubt he'll ever join us. In fact, he thinks we're nuts.


rob said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mmichele said...

wow! those are cool! very daring, and you are much more daring than me! i don't do pain voluntarily.

Katie said...

I love when people make a really personal post - I think you learn more about the strangers that quickly become online friends that way. :0)

I adore tattoos and am fascinated by them, even though I am nekkid in that arena

Anonymous said...

If only I were brave enough . . .

That snake looks awesome - what a work of art!

Anonymous said...

Ton tatouage est magnifiquement bien recoloré, il est de toute beauté et l'effet de l'ombre est bien réussi, félicitations.
Celui de Casey est très beau aussi, j'aime beaucoup, très bonne idée à cet endroit.
Bravo et bisous,

Genie said...

I have to agree with Kim on this one. While I have nothing against tatts, they aren't for me. If I'm going to go through that much pain--it better be for something I desperately need. Although I have considered, once I get really OLD and am nearing the end--of getting tattooed all over with instructions to the med student who gets to practice on my body.
That is... if I donate my body to science. I haven't quite made up my mind. But how funny would that be? "Insert scalpel here for bladder."

Bek said...

I love watching all the TV ink-shows. It was really interesting hearing about your experience with tattoos. They all look very nice. Personally, I like Vanessa's the best, but your son's is a really interesting idea.
I don't think I would ever want one myself. If so, it has to be very meaningful to my life.

Rosemary said...

I can appreciate the skill it takes to do a good tattoo.
Still it is not for me, can not stand the thought of the pain.
Plus the interesting shapes the tat might be when one is 80 also makes me shy away.LOL

Daisy said...

Without going into the long story - I'll say that I have one, but I doubt I'll get more. When I was 20, I lost some one very important to me. I waited two years, ad realized that I was afraid to let go because I was afraid I'd forget. Finding a way to permanently place that memory on my body was cathartic. Every time someone asks me about it or every time I catch a glance in the mirror, I remember, and it frees up the rest of my consciousness to think about other things and move on.

That said, I also think it's tasteful. It's been years, and I don't regret it yet... maybe I will in 20 or 30 years, but I was willing to take that chance.

Monica the Garden Faerie said...

Hi Kim, I absolutely love the snake tattoo. It is awesome. I've been meaning to post about tattoos myself, but haven't gotten around to it. I don't have any (I'm a big big wuss with pain AND I could never really think of any image I particularly wanted). But, a while back I stumbled onto a Miami Ink marathon and watched like 7 episodes in a row. I was blown away with how wonderfully detailed and beautiful drawing etched in skin can be! I then watched all of LA Ink. Kat von D is just totally cool, a real Mensch, a study in contraditction--looks like a badass but is totally sweet and together... and loves Beethoven playing classical piano. Also love Hannah whose hometown is where I live now, Ann Arbor. I have a secret mission: when I lose some weight (so skin won't look weird), I'm going to get a tattoo of some flowers around my upper arm. Maybe.
~ Monica (fellow scantily dressed wildlife chaser)

Monica the Garden Faerie said...

Um... I probably meant Victoria, and not Kim. OopS!
~ Monica

Lauren said...

I hope your children know how lucky they are to have a parent who would write "the family that tattoos together stays together". Seriously, so awesome. I am the ONLY person in my family who has any tattoos and it has been a constant source of conflict for years. And that conflict is getting even more intense because my tattoo collection is rapidly growing and is starting to spread to more visible places on my body. I would give anything for my parents to accept my need to get tattooed, but I know that will never happen. So your children better be grateful that they have an awesome tattooed parent!

Becca's Dirt said...

Nice piece of art on your arm. Not for me. No volunteer pain. Have a nice day Victoria and Kim.


LJB said...

In the SOCY 240 class I teach at CWI (Marriage & Family Living) in one of my lectures about resolving conflict and repairing damaged relationships I made the statement: "No matter how broken your relationship may be, until you quit, there's hope." One of my students later told me she was going to get "Until you quit there is hope" tattooed on her body because that phrase resonated with her so much. I'm VERY accepting of tats, but it just feels weird to have a student do this! I will be able to say for sure that at least ONE of my students NEVER forgot the class!