06 August 2008

How to Get a Tattoo for Dog Agility Ladies-A primer.

First of all, I worked hard at getting a tattoo. Been planning it for years. Had hundreds of different drawings and fussed and fretted and never did it. Was worried I wouldn't like it in 10 years and abandoned ship. Figured now by the time this one is old and fadey, I will be too.

I am a total tattoo stalker, possibly weird for someone not tattooed. I like to stare at your tattoos, and critique them silently and ruthlessly. I am picky. Putting that MFA to good use and have learned to spot a nice tattoo like a needle in a haystack. because many tattoos you see might be crappy! That's right! Sorry if you have a tattoo I think is crappy. I think a lot of design and art is crappy, so it's not just you. So you gotta make sure you find a tattooer that is allergic to crappy. In a good shop. Where you all share a similar aesthetic.

Maybe a shop like Samuel O'Reilly Tattoo Shop in Santa Cruz. In the cute gray house right on Hwy 1. Maybe you drive by it every day and you see the tatttooed people smoking on the porch in all black clothes. Where they only do custom work and I am told no one there does crappy tattoos ever. The boss, Klem, had a waiting list til November to get a tattoo, but I only had to wait til August for my appointment with Eduardo. And I had carefully scoured his stuff on his website and thought he looked skilled. Wanted someone skilled and ideally with some gray hairs and a long life of tattooing already. If you said to Eduardo, "Hey, make up any you tattoo want on my arm!" he would probably prefer to do a super creepy and ghouly skull, because you can never have too many skulls. But he is a longtime pro, and is happy to do good tattoos even if aren't creepy.

Edu, you are a nice man and I am proud to say you are my tattooer. Most customers are not dog agility ladies that come in armed with a stack of sketches and drawings and printouts of good and bad tattoos and want to sit there for an hour and discuss. And draw on top of your drawing. It was my way of interviewing him. I am picky. He is stabbing a permanent drawing with needles onto my arm. I can be picky. I told him I was sort of a mean lady and he thought that was funny. I was the only one in there without neck tattoos and letters on my fingers and an all black outfit-slimming! They were still nice to me. Their shop is a freakishly clean, restored old home and all the guys have carefully restored vintage cars and trucks and bikes and that made me feel happy instead of some goth place with ugly wall finishes that does a lot of walk-in fairy tattoos. There are no walk-in fairy tattoos at Samuel O'Reilly's. Or ugly finishes. Sorry my friends, if you have a fairy tattoo. Do you still like it?

So after enduring my long winded list of every abstract concept and aesthetic device in terms of tattoo style I needed in one little tattoo, I gave him my stack of drawings. And then I started emailing Edu more drawings and sketches and photos of the perfect horseshoe and more ideas. We ended up editing the idea down considerably so it would fit on my arm under my shirt. I am very worried about sun fading my tattoo since I work outside. Plan ahead! They fade! And think concise. You might have ideas for more tattoos, don't throw 'em all in one if you are not doing your whole back or your whole arm. I think I am set for a whole back's worth of tattoos someday. I totally see why people have them EVERYWHERE now.

It is highly likely you will be the only dog agility lady in there getting your tattoo. And it might be at night. Tattoo folk seem to be night folk. Like us at Dirt Nite! Don't worry. If it's a nice shop, they will be nice to you. I liked hanging out in there and listening to complicated and heated discussions about where the skeleton hands should go on the drummer's tattoo. It is like being a graphic designer except you are going to permanently stab it on skin. Way harder I think. And make sure you like your tattoo artist. You have to sit there with them stabbing you for hours to get your tattoo. It would be good for your tattoo if your artist likes you, too. We liked each other, right Edu? How many dog agility ladies do you tattoo every week? Right! Not Very Many! He says I will be back for more. Thinks I am a total tattoo lady. We'll see. I guess I have that whole back free as of now.

Here is one fact you have always wanted to know. No, it does not hurt. At least where I got mine on my arm. Like not even a stitch. Dental work is like 50 million times worse. It is actually sort of cool, the whole time you are thinking, "Wow those needles are drawing into my skin foreverness" and it makes you HAPPY! Love tattoos! Although, if you want a tattoo on your neck, that would hurt. There is the badass factor of only badass tattoo people get them on their neck so you don't care about the pain even though it hurts. Sort of a little insider tattoo fact there for you, if you were thinking of a neck tattoo. I am thinking, no neck tattoo. Not even for the badass factor.

Also, Edu told me many warnings about bacteria and dirt and infection and lotion. Things you do not normally hear from a big guy in all black with tattoos on every square inch of his skin. And neck. I don't want an infected Timmy tattoo! I am washing and lotioning exactly like you said, Edu.

It's simple and classic. A lucky horseshoe, and a memorial banner for my Timmy. Black and gray, goes with everything. Will heal in a couple weeks and I know I will love it as much as I do today. And maybe even more. Timmy forever goes with me, I look down, and left, and he's right there.


Elf said...

Jennifer with Kye the aussie recently got a tattoo to honor her twin sons. For a nontattoo person like me, I thought it was pretty nice. You could ask to see it. It is not in a place where normally any agility person would ever be looking. But maybe at the beach. You could ask to see it and then be in agility-person tattoo sisterhood. Of course that assumes that you like her tattoo.


Elayne said...

Guy Aitchison, an old friend of mine from Chicago, does really amazing stuff: http://images.hyperspacestudios.com/guy_gallery_index.html
He's been doing it since before I left Chicago, probably over 20 years now. When I left 18 years ago he had his own private studio and was charging an arm and a leg and nearly everyone I knew had one of his tattoos. Except me. No way anyone's sticking needles in me for fun and profit. Yeah yeah, it doesn't hurt, I know, I've heard it a million times but still, no way. But if I did get one it would be from Guy. So if you're ever in Chicago and want another one he's a great guy to check out. He used to travel to conventions too, don't know if any ever go your way but his stuff is worth a look see.

But to my uncritical what do I know eye your tattoo looks fabulous.

Elf said...

Oh and Lisa of Steamer and Carsonhood has a tattoo, but I don't remember what it is, that might go back to her death-wish days of killer motocross before she broke her back in several places and retired to the sedate sport of dog agility.

I'll bet there are hundreds of tattooed agility ladies with similar stories. We could be doing agility surrounded by tattoos and never know it. Good thing they're not infectious. As far as we know. Although Edu seems to think that you've caught the bug.

Elayne said...

Oh, and I know a couple of agility people with tattoos. One has a tattoo of her dog coming out of a tunnel and Stacy Peardot has a few, I forget exactly what of but something to do with dogs.

Jules said...

As a multi-tattoo'd agility person I must say hooray! And it is very nice. I am in the process of finding a new artist to touch up a crappy tattoo - so good work on all your homework.

Lisa Nelsen-Woods said...

I'm a non-tatooed agility person. I hate needles and I change my mind a lot. Not good if you become a tattooed agility gal.

Your Timmy tattoo is perfect. Something that should never, ever change. Again, I live vicariously through TSD.

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