July 06, 2007

Damn, it doesn't feel good not to be a gangsta.

I speak to you today from the other side of ouch. Yesterday I had the last of my three closely-spaced tattoo appointments, and I now sport slightly more than half of a big, beautiful, brightly colored fruity backpiece. Note for posterity: slightly more than half in this case means about $1300 and 11 hours of work. It was my original intention to finish the whole project up before leaving for Portland and spend maybe $1000. This is an important lesson for those planning large tattoos, far more important than the more commonly expressed ones like you'll look weird when you're 80 and that's a dumb thing to get a tattoo of. Those are not lessons, those are opinions. This one is a lesson: you will probably spend more time and money on it than you mean to. Unlike the preceding examples, this may actually help you in your decision-making.

I am not on a soapbox, I am merely putting off talking about how much of a pitiable weenie I was yesterday. I'm not normally a paragon of stoicism, but yesterday I spent the first thirty minutes of my appointment taking extended breaks while my ears rang and spots swam in front of my eyes. Normally reality takes a ten-minute recess and little birds twitter around my head, and then all is well. This time the birds kept going so long that the other artists in the shop paused in their tattooing to watch how green I was turning. Henry Lewis, whose image is largely based around being a jerk to everyone, was apparently worried enough to start being nice to me. Other customers, all of them bony girls getting large colorful tattoos, gave me pitying looks.

I have excuses -- it was hot, maybe my lunch wasn't solid enough, maybe I hadn't had enough water to drink -- but I think it was probably just that by the time I walked in the door I had already had enough of it. I was tired of having that sore, stung, sunburny feeling on a new patch of skin every week, I was tired of flaking and peeling and remembering not to scratch, I was tired of turning over in my sleep and waking up stuck to my pajamas, I was tired of the room and the decor and the paintings on the walls I'd stared at for too long already, I'd played every word game I could think of with the words on the flash sheets, and I knew I wasn't going to walk out with a finished piece no matter how long I sat there. And when I say "was", I actually mean "am". It's gorgeous. I'd love for it to be finished. Mike doesn't have another free appointment before October, but if he did, no amount of gorgeousness would persuade me to take it.

But I will take with me to Portland two tomatoes, four tomato blossoms, six shadowy tomato leaves, and one winged eyeball more than I would otherwise have had.

Posted by dianna at July 6, 2007 08:17 PM

So what's the plan, Stan? Eventual pilgrimages back to the Bay Area to get it finished, or leaving it as an unfinished masterpiece?

Also, I had no idea there was a flying eyeball amongst the tomatoes. You learn something new every day.

Posted by: MoltenBoron at July 6, 2007 08:47 PM

Oh, it's definitely the pilgrimage plan. If it takes a while, it takes a while, but I want this piece finished, dazzlingly gorgeous, and on display in Mike's portfolio. And it's a) rude and b) aesthetically unwise to try to get a different artist to finish a piece that's already started.

Yup, an eyeball. It's been blending in, because eyeballs are kind of tomato-shaped and wings are kind of leaf-shaped. I'll snag a picture the next time there's someone around with a digital camera, and you'll see.

Posted by: Dianna at July 6, 2007 11:36 PM