Tips for inking your skin by Skywalker Published: 9:50 AM – 05/04/11 last updated: 10:22 AM – 05/04/11
Tattoos have been around thousands of years. they have been used as a way to express oneself or one’s thoughts and beliefs, to memorialize or as a sign of social status. all shapes and sizes and intricacies are displayed as human jewelry.
The art of tattoo is truly artistic and to be appreciated. the decision to take the plunge is not to be taken lightly. It is for the most part permanent and not to be done on a whim or after a night of cocktails with friends.
The phrase “to each his own” best applies to tattoos. I will admit that I have always had my strong, preconceived notions about tattoos – what looks good and what is ridiculous. But the fact is how big or how small, how colorful or how plain, or how visible or not only matters to one person: the person that has chosen to adorn his or her body.
I remember being at a wedding, seeing an attractive woman dressed in a beautiful gown; the picture of class and elegance. Then she turned her back and there it was: a humongous Tweety Bird on her shoulder blade. It was like taking a black permanent magic marker and defacing the most perfect Michaelango you have ever seen. And as turned off as I was seeing this, added was the fact that this woman was going to be 80 years old with a huge yellow bird on her skin.
That being said, I never thought that I would want anything of such permanence on my body. Much to my surprise, though, I got the bug. I had never understood the statement “you get addicted” to tattoos. I thought that was ridiculous. I was wrong.
I spent a lot of time thinking what kind of tattoo I wanted and exactly where to place this permanent piece of art. I wanted something simple, something with meaning that I wouldn’t regret 45 years down the road. I also wanted it on an area of my body where I could appreciate it as well as not scream “LOOK AT ME!” I was getting the tattoo for myself and no one else. I had no intentions of a Mike Tyson, paint-my-face statement.
After much research and thought I decided on two Kanji symbols. Kanji symbols are Chinese symbols used in modern Japanese writing. if you go the symbolic or foreign route: research! Things can be lost in translation and you can be sadly mistaken as to what is on your body. I chose two phrases that mean and meant a lot to me at the time: strength and self. Strength is self explanatory, and self because I tend to put others first and myself last. this tattoo would serve as a constant reminder to put my-self first.
I had them put on the inside of my wrist. for me this location was visible enough for me to get some satisfaction and purpose, and hidden enough as to not be the first thing people see when they see you. I love them to this day and have zero regret, so much so that I got the other wrist tattooed about a year later.
The question I am always asked is “did it hurt?” Hurt is the wrong word, sting would be a better description. However I got the simplest kind of tatoo in an area of the body that’s not the most sensitive. the complexity and location of your ink will dictate a “pain level.” As they say, beauty is painful!
Should you decide to take the tattoo plunge, some tips from this newbie:
1. Research! Be sure of what you want, and where you want it.
2. Be Picky! Make sure your tattoo artist is licensed and in a clean environment. go with your instincts and don’t be shy about asking questions. A sterile environment is a must and your tattoo artist should have no problem answering every question you may have.
3. Aftercare. once you get your tattoo there is a fair amount of immediate aftercare that is required. if you’ve spent all this time on such a permanent action don’t compromise the finished product by skimping on your aftercare.
4. no alcohol 48 hours before receiving a tattoo. do this of sound mind and body.
5. Have fun. if you need moral support or a buddy, bring a friend!
Word of mouth is often one of the best ways to find a reputable tattoo parlor or an artist you are comfortable with. I could not have had a better experience with Adam of Graceland Tattoo in Wappingers Falls. he answered all my questions and was very patient and kind with me being a newbie. more info at www.gracelandtattoo.com.
Make sure you send a picture of your completed ink. I’d love to see it!
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