The moon was in Scorpio. I was feeling the intensity in my creative flow. I readied myself to run errands. After a quick glance in the mirror at my now copper colored hair, my brown-red beads and my big bare arms I felt something was missing. I needed a tattoo.
My attitude toward them has varied. My father had a bunch of really ugly jailhouse markings. Yuck. My sister had a nice commemorative tat done in a fancy script — Michael Por Vida. She chose to brand herself with name of the father of her children. That wasn’t for me.
A former college newspaper editor and true rocker, had a slew of tattoo. A willing victim of his brothers desire to take up the skin art, his tats were a bit rough. I admired the shit out of him. He was after it.
I really began to see tattoo artists doing fine work thanks to TLC’s LA Ink. Kat von D is not a celebrity just because she’s sexy, smart and driven. She is a master portrait artist. She is a master of shading. Hannah Aitchison and Kim Saigh rocked color in an amazing way.
Hannah’s brother Guy Aitchison, along with his partner, Michele Wortman, has tread new paths in tattoo art. Shawn Barber is using his painting skills to make a smooth transition to skin art. Painter Michael Hussar’s work, featured on LA Ink in one of the earlier segments boggles the mind.
I have seen much good art through LA Ink. As my enthusiasm for the art swelled in my breast I did not rush out and get a tattoo. Trends come and go. I think the ancient art of the tattoo had successfully and unalterably permeated the mainstream. That is not why I decided, last week, to take the plunge.
I have always felt that my arms are too big. I’ve kept them covered when out in public. Here in Redding, the summer heat makes that nearly impossible. I finally got to the point where I just can’t worry about this perceived imperfection another minute. That day last week I looked in the mirror, felt good about myself and thought “I need to see color right in the middle of my arm.” Ah, but what form should it take. I am far too fickle. My inability to commit to a permanent message, image or symbol has kept me from getting permanent body art.
I have a tendency to over decorate my surroundings. I’m always cramming in more, filling every space. When it comes to garments, though, I can barely tolerate any sort of patterned material. Anything too bright or busy is distracting and irritating. I like it plain and preferably earth toned.
Though I have a Rococo heart I knew I couldn’t go for anything too ornate.
I love Bernini’s The Ecstacy of St. Teresa (photo from giancarletto’s flickr stream). I love the radiant lines.
I’m a dork. I love hearts and stars.
I was not going to get a heart tattoo but a star, a symbol that brings to my mind the relativity of time and space, a symbol of the place where the physical and metaphysical worlds meet, was good for me.
I wanted red but a rusty red in celebration of the decision to once again color my hair. The gray hair, though perfectly nice and attractive, was just too wan.
Yes, my vital energy is fading. I am moving into the olderly stage of life but color is my irresistible mistress. I must have her.
As my dear friend Patti used to say “Wild women never die they just dye their hair.”
Now, I’ll admit, I moved impulsively. I went down to Nathan’s because I had seen the work of one of their artists on that clerk at JoAnn’s. I didn’t choose my artist carefully or make an appointment.
I’d seen photos at the Shasta Arts Council of tattoo art from Nathan’s.
The galleries were down on the Nathan’s website when I went to look. They still are. That’s pretty lame and unprofessional. I went anyway determined to get color.
I walked into Nathan’s on a weekday. It was about 1 p.m. so I guess people could have been at lunch.
“Be with you in a second,” said a disembodied voice from a back room.
Eventually, the low man on the totem pole greeted me. He was able to give me basic info about how much the tattoo I envisioned would cost and whether or not I needed an appointment.
He said he’s be doing the tattoo. I liked his vibe. It was far less virulently macho than the guy who kept going out to stand in front of the shop, to smoke, to show off, the one that kept loading up the bros-ova-hos music selection.
The aggressive, misogynist rap, created an eat-this-dirt-sandwich, bitch vibe. The shop had lots of plants. That’s good. Lots of buddha like figures. Good. Comfortable chairs that allowed one to rock out to the music. They were bouncy and the sounds did have a good rhythmic element.
Wen I finally went in for my first tattoo the artist apologized for the “music”. As the experience was nearing it’s end a female employee came in and stood behind the counter. Is she an artist, apprentice? I won’t assume either way but I doubt that would happen at Nathan’s.Please, correct me if I’m wrong, boys.
I’d been in two other tattoo shops in in Redding. All male, lots of attitude.The only girls were the dolled up fake-titted girlfriends of the the tattoo slinging dudes.
I didn’t mean to spend so much time on gender bias or critiquing the atmosphere at Nathan’s but I think a real nice uber woman tattoo shop is just what Redding needs.♥ Come on, girls. Anybody up for making that happen?