Wednesday, May 21, 2014

While I'm Blogging About Tattoos Anyway ....

As I mentioned in my Ink Master gripe, I've got five ... er, four, because one was covered up ... of them.

My first two tattoos were done by: Me.

When I was a callow youth, I noticed my dad's tattoo, his initials on his wrist, and asked him about it. By then I'm sure he regretted it, but he did tell me how he'd gotten it. It had been done (I don't recall whether by him or by a friend) with a plain sewing needle, India ink and some thread wrapped around the needle to hold the ink.

When I was a slightly less callow, but just as stupid, youth, I resolved to do the same thing. So, onto my right arm (above the elbow) went a girl's name: "JULIE." Yeah, it's always a girl, isn't it? And while I was at it, onto my right shoulder went an anarchy symbol (not because I was really an anarchist yet, but because I was into punk). They were ugly tattoos, but small and easily kept hidden.

When I returned from the 1991 Gulf War, my best friend and I went out into town from Camp LeJeune and browsed the tattoo shops. We settled on one run by "Doc Holliday." When I look up that name in relation to tattoos, I get several hits for different artists, but anyway, I chose a grim reaper design from the wall flash with "USMC" lettered beneath it, my friend (Bill Koleszar) chose a very nice "Marine aiming a rifle at you" design, and Doc went to work.

As he was working back and forth on us (one for a little bit, then a break while he worked on the other), Bill and I started looking around the room (the tattoo chairs were in a separate room from the lobby with flash all over the walls).

The first thing I really noticed was a bookshelf beneath a TV ... with a copy of Mein Kampf on it. Then I looked above the TV and noticed a little sign: "Death to Race-Mixers."

Turned out that "Doc" was a klansman. And I should probably mention that Bill is of dual Hungarian-Japanese extraction. Awkward. But the tattoos were already in progress, "Doc" was nothing but friendly and accommodating, and with reasonable speed our tattoos were finished. My grim reaper has faded and blurred a bit with time, but it covered the "JULIE" tattoo and in my opinion it's held up pretty well -- the reds and yellows are still pretty bright, etc. I haven't seen Bill Koleszar in close to 20 years, but I bet his tattoo fared even better.

My next tattoo was done in 1997 by Chris Bowman, late of Houston, Texas, apparently now of Blue Horseshoe in Virginia (no link because tattoo site linkage seems to break on little or no notice, but Google him or it). It was a tribal anklet. I know that tribal is not a big thing anymore, but hey, this was the 90s.

The anklet remains a boss tattoo. I had picked some flash, but Bowman got inspired and asked me if he could freehand his idea. Hey, why not? This is much better than your typical tribal -- very crisp line work with interior shading, imbued with red and yellow highlights instead of just flat black, with a sort of "black sun" motif on the outer edge. If I had the luxury of traveling the country for ink, I would track down Bowman for my next tat without hesitation. He does unsurpassed work, as a glance at his online portfolios shows (I won't be surprised if he shows up on Ink Master ... but that might be a step down for him).

A year or so later, another artist started a small chest piece (a Japanese kanji character in black, with a blue aura) in that was intended as a gift from a girlfriend. Then he closed shop and left town before the finishing session. So that one remains incomplete and I plan to have it covered with something else (I'm considering a black "Illuminati-style" pyramid with the C4SS logo reshaped into a triangle as the cap stone) soon. But while he was at it, the artist did run his black needle around my "jailhouse" anarchy symbol, making it look crisp and reasonably nice. So there's that anyway.

I normally don't heavily edit my posts after I make them, but I plan to come back into this one and insert photos (can't take them at the moment -- my camera is charging).

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