As someone who is heavily tattooed I apparently fit into some sort of sub genre of human according to a certain set of people. To me getting tattooed is a way of life. It's something I've been fascinated by since I was a little kid and saw my first set of sleeves. My tiny brain couldn't quite comprehend exactly what I was looking at, or how it was possible, but I knew I wanted some of those. I started getting tattooed when I was 18, and in a couple weeks I'll be 25. I've come a long way since that first tattoo, my one color piece, a sacred heart on my back with a banner reading 'Veritas', Latin for 'truth'. Over the years I've built my tattoo collection in different states with different artists on all different parts of my body. Currently I have two nearly finished sleeves, an LA on one ankle as a memento to living there, and a full chest piece I plan on expanding into a full torso piece. I want to get to a position in life where I'm financially and jobwise set to where I can tattoo my neck and my hands. Each and every single tattoo I have I remember the needle hitting my skin, I remember where I was and who I was with and where I was in life. They are milestones and markers that for me, I display on my body, permanently and proudly.
I get that it's not for everyone. For some people they will never get a tattoo and never be missing out on anything in their lives, completely fulfilled in the skin they came into this world in. Some people just get one, or two, or several small pieces throughout their lives. Some people take it an entirely different level and tattoo their heads and faces, their eyelids. All of these are perfectly acceptable for the people who's choices they are. That's what they are, individuals making choices, choices that nobody else can judge or be party to, because what's displayed on my body or anybody else's is mine and their own damn business, respectively. I've had very visible tattoos for a few years now, and I'm used to the looks, the comments, the questions. When they come from somebody who is actually interested in tattoos, or wants to discuss where mine where done, by whom, or just to compliment my art, then all is good in jolly old. It's the people who look down their noses at you and ask snotty questions about how much money you must have wasted on that and why would you put yourself through that pain and my personal favorite 'You know those are going to be there forever right?' No you stupid asshole I've spent thousands of dollars and probably a hundred plus hours of discomfort and they DON'T WASH OFF??!?! Oh my God I've been had! I'm used to that kind of ignorant BS, like the guy who asked me if I had 'all them things' (my sleeves) so that if ya ever get decapitated you can be identified', but it more then makes up for it when somebody just comes up to you out of the blue and says 'Hey I like your tattoos.' It makes me feel good. It makes me proud to be displaying such quality work, and I have no problem spending twenty minutes pointing out who did what and how they are done in such differing styles from artist to artist. How my left sleeve is done in a ridiculously detailed black and grey shading, how you can tell the artist (Tom Clark, Fullerton CA) has been around a long time and has honed his craft and has worked to become very good. How my right sleeve is done in sweeping bold art (Nick Pulzone, Salem OR), an in your face style by probably the most natural artist I've ever met, that asserts itself and is not only incredibly well executed but aesthetically pleasing in every way. How my chest was done in one single sitting at the Portland Tattoo Expo (Nick) in front of hundreds of people, six hours straight made possible by large doses of percocet and intermittent cigarette breaks.
The interesting thing is, I HATE getting tattooed. It fuckin hurts. Some people will tell you it's just a warm tingling feeling, or that they like it. I can absolutely believe liking the rush of a new tattoo, but the actual process of applying said tattoo is never going to be something I like. I love my tattoos though, I love my friends tattoos, I love looking at and talking about tattoos. Thats something I'll never apologize for and I'll never change. Getting tattooed until I die or run out of space, and to the people who can't except that or who think they can judge what I do, well you know where you can go.
It was hell. In case you were wondering. See me for directions, I've vacationed there from time to time.