More useless information no one asked for…

Normally, I wouldn’t put out two moose-drool posts in one day, but I’m excited.

I had put in an email information request for a new local tattoo parlor. For various reasons, I’ve elected to change artists for all but two of my six tattoos and I was on the prowl for someone to do my seventh. Normally, I would have preferred to remain loyal to a given artist, but circumstances with respect to tattoos haven’t really allowed me to:

  • Celtic Cross — before tattoo explosion in the US. The artist was better than most of the local ones at the time, but she ended up not having (IMO) the steadiest linework on a celtic cross. Still, at the time, tattoos were mostly anchors, flash and little devils in Minneapolis, so I considered it a win because it was my design. Still, I would have liked smoother lines. Possibly because she was reusing needles and autoclaving because it was allowed practice at the time, so they may have been worn out a bit.
  • Celtic Armband — this artist did a fantastic job, although I found a few lacuna where he forgot to color the hounds in. Minor and no one but me has noticed. I would have gone back and had him fix (and probably got another), but it turned out that he’d decided to mix needles and was IVing heroin by the time I was ready for my next one and got kicked out of the shop for missing appointments due to his drug habit. Fuck that.
  • NW Coastal Raven — by the time I made it back to Seattle, the artist had already dropped out of her shop by Pike’s Market. I wouldn’t have gone back — she had an attitude the day she was inking me.
  • Ankh — I liked Mike. He put up with me ripping hair out his arm while giving me an ankh perilously close to a nipple. I’m a sensitive guy — I discovered. Tiger growl.
  • Celtic ravens w/Sandman’s Death — Mike did this one too, even letting me sleep through part of it because I’d been up too late the night before. It was okay, but he seemed to think that Death had huge knockers that hung over the shield of celtic ravens. I should have made him add way more color to those boobs too because, at casual glance, it looks like I’m sporting a nudie tattoo. I moved away from Seattle and I think he dropped out.
  • Raven with enso and watercolor splash — Done last year. I liked the artist, but she seemed a little annoyed by me trying to make conversation over the three-hour session. I’m not exactly chatty, but three hours is a long time to say not much at all. I’d go back to her, but the shop is 180° away from everything I do and about 30 miles of congested traffic in between. I went to the shop based on a friend’s recommendation and like the work, but want someone who doesn’t have a shop 45 minutes away to do it.

The studio referred me to his Instagram account today, after a delay of almost two weeks. They were very apologetic, and I know most people use the phone to get information, but I wanted to send along the reference design I had in mind. If you recall, it looks like this:

I only hope I’m not looking at something like a six-month wait. That’d be a drag. Or an estimate of $2000 (neither of which would surprise me if he was at a few of the shops around town). I suspect it wouldn’t be next week (he does a lot of photo-realistic tattoos, so I expect that makes him high demand). If you’re interested in seeing his work, you can see it here.

Still! Progress!

Barely contained girlish squee.

Tattoo evolution part 3415

I’ve been agonizing over what to get for a tattoo before I discovered there was enough in the bank to justify getting one at this time. I’ve gotten embarrassingly responsible when it comes to money these past ten years, and didn’t want to set anything up to get the next one until I felt there was some disposable income to apply to a new tattoo.

As previously expressed on this site, I was fairly certain I wanted another raven for my right forearm, but I’ve been flipping back and forth between going modern, Celtic, Nordic, photorealistic, or perhaps even Haida (NW Coastal native tribe). On that arm, over my bicep, I have a Celtic armband of two hounds biting each other’s legs, something straight out of the Book of Kells, so it seems like I should maybe go more Celtic. The main issue I have had is that the art I can use to give the tattoo artist for guidance that I can find out there has Celtic knotwork in the ravens, but rarely with the ravens knotted themselves, and the knotwork in the ravens is either simplistic, or it feels too modern for what I had in mind. Or the ravens were iffy silhouettes and don’t much look like ravens (more like blackbirds in many cases). Or artists are intent on tossing all kinds of gore on their art, thinking it looks very trash polka when it doesn’t quite look like that either (I equate trash polka with more sloppy graphical design than with knotwork, although I like it as a style on it’s own).

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Tattoo evolution

Still working out designs… Current thought combination:

  • Nagel-style cutout (80s art-deco artist most famous for the Duran Duran album cover for Rio) of my favorite picture of Death from Sandman (see below for my un-artistic rough).
  • A raven perched towards where Death’s right shoulder would be; symbolizing Matthew, for those of you familiar. (our relative left side of picture, pose similar to the raven below), maybe something more like the graphic novel series than photoreal.
  • Perhaps some celtic knotwork.
  • The Bard’s words in broken typewriter font:
    • “To sleep: perchance to dream”
    • Alternately: “In that sleep of death what dreams may come”

Keep in mind, I am NOT an artist, but I am trying to get some symbolism down before I go in for my consult.

As I said before, I want a raven for sure (to add to the others) and likely some knot-work. I’m trying to imagine all of the pieces put together.

Raven Tattoo

It looks like I might have enough cash on hand to add to my tattoo collection sometime after the holidays. I wish I was able to draw cool designs so I didn’t have to seek out elements on the web to present to the artist so they could design something around my concepts. But my 7 year old kids laugh at my stick people, so that tells you how far my drawing abilities extend.

I have a rough concepts in my head:

  • Arm location.
  • Integrates with my celtic hound armband is some way (if celtic-looking, if possible)
  • Celtic raven(s), possibly with a Huninn and Muninn theme, but celtic knotwork integrates in bodies
    • I’m cautious about the use of “Nordic” and “Viking” symbols and messages, as they are largely not guaranteed authentic representations of anything. I don’t mind runes, but I’m less enthused about other symbols.
    • I’m not opposed to a reference of Odin, but if one is added, I would show him as the hanged man, most likely; as Grimnr of the Gallows. Not the tough old one-eye guy.
  • Alternately, photorealistic raven(s).
  • Trash polka designs are on my agenda, but not my focus. I’ll probably go more tribal.
  • Emphasis would be on the ravens than any other element.
  • I think I’d go mostly blackwork after getting color on the last tattoo. Color okay for accent.

I’d welcome design ideas if you happen to have any examples at your disposal. Or, if you are not art-challenged like I am, and want to share some of your handiwork — tell me how I can showcase your ideas here. Pinterest and Google are driving me bonkers because I keep seeing the same basic pictures over and over. I’d rather find something more unique to me.

Longing for a tat

If there was no covid, I might be sporting at least one or more new tattoos.

After a hiatus of almost 25 years between ink, the raven I got inked on my inner forearm last summer (fifth raven in three tattoos; six tattoos total) has infected me with the bug to get more (although at least one family member is begging for temperance on the matter). Honestly, as I get older, I give even less of a shit about what people say about my tattoos and I am suffering from a massive craving to get more. Several more. Okay, more than several more.

The next one is likely going to be either some literary phrase (see my post about Alice quotes from a few days before), something with a shodo feel like Joey Pang’s (Tattoo Temple, Hong Kong) style of brush calligraphy (probably a taoist or zen phrase/poem), or another raven, but done in a Celtic/Nordic tribal style.

Artist: Joey Pang, Tattoo Temple, Hong Kong

Right now, we can get tattoos still in our area (there’s no lock-down on tattoo parlors), but it seems like a bad time to do it. I think I’ll wait until the vaccines make their rounds. But that doesn’t stop me from dreaming about the myriad tattoos I’d like to get.

I was only partially joking when I said I’d consider getting my head shaved and a raven tattooed over an ear. That idea was met with a resounding, “NO!” on the home-front, and so, with tears in my eyes, I let that idea go.

Largely for illustration of placement; I’d go less stylized and more tribal/authentic

More than sporting the new ink, I love the actual process — the pain, the tension, the discomfort, the realization that this is permanent…

Yes. I am strange. I’d considered trying to talk my way into a sundance at one point, but realized that I don’t crave piercing in the way that I crave the feeling of getting a tattoo.

But there’s something about the ritual of getting a tattoo that I long for. Each one is like a shamanic rite of passage, each tattoo a milestone. And the pain? When it helps me to forget the other pains I experience by drawing the focus away from those other pains. It’s therapeutic in its own way.

Man… I miss the feeling of getting ink: the anticipation, the pain and the healing itch/pain. Maybe summer of 2021…

We’re all mad here

Snicker-snack. Occam’s vorpal razor.

I’m not sure what to do for entertainment tonight. I don’t much feel like losing again to a Persona 5 boss that I have been having issues with. I’m not sure if writing is in the cards tonight either — I don’t feel particularly inspired at the moment to write something long and, well, short stuff is so short and leaves me with large amounts of time left over.

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The pleasure of pain

There was a time that I was getting one of my tattoos — probably the celtic armband, although that is immaterial to this post — that the artist was joking with his co-worker about a regular who had just been earlier in the day who came in on a regular basis to get tattooed… without ink.

At the time, I was getting only my second tattoo. I was still a bit on the green side with respect to tattoos and the armband was hitting a very sensitive bundle of nerves on my inner arm while this information was being shared between artists. My only thought at the time was: How the f*ck could someone do this and not have anything but scar tissue to show for it?

At the time, I couldn’t imagine anyone getting tattoos for any other reason than there was an artistic result. Inconceivable! said the man who didn’t understand the word.

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