What inspired me? Hard to explain. Partly it was having a design which, as soon as I spotted it, really begged to be tattooed. Partly it was... Well, I can't really explain, a need to make a permanent change somehow. And it's taken me a while to come to something that I actually wanted on my skin. It had to be something unique, something I could show off or conceal as need be, something people would ask about.
This is the design:
(All these pictures can be made bigger by clicking on them!)
For the curious, this is an Alien Technology's European model Gen 1 Squiggle RFID tag. It's actually copper in color and about six centimetres long. I scanned it and blew it up to a bit over twice it's original size, and changed its color to black.
When I first saw this, I thought, what a cool shape that would make a unique tattoo...
My leg, before "inking":
The stencil copied onto my leg:
The process is: shave leg, spray on alcohol, rub design onto the skin...
The first part of the outlining done:
The design is outlined first, then filled in later. Traditionally, anyway, lots of more modern designs just have blocks of color. But I wanted something that looked tribal, but wasn't, and looked old fashioned, but so isn't.
Your friendly neighbourhood tattooist, a guy called Christie, who was kind enough to let me photograph the whole process:
The inking started:
(More or less the same stage as the picture above.)
The finished product:
After which it was wrapped in cling wrap! I'll have to get some more detailed shots - the centre of the tattoo for example is quite detailed.
It hurt a lot less than I remembered. The nurophen I took before hand probably helped. Some tattooists offer numbing cream, which I wouldn't have used. It was odd that some parts, I could barely tell that it was happening, whilst other areas of my leg, only millimetres away, hurt heaps. I was lying down on a bed the whole time, which was great 'cause it took over two hours. It was great to be comfortable, just looking up at the ceiling, and trying to do breathing exercises.
Actually, the location was amazing - a basement in the city. I got to stare at a complex ceiling of pipes and all sorts of stuff. Now I just have to look after it for about three weeks, washing it carefully and rubbing a nappy rash type cream into it. It should scab over in a few days, it's not obvious in these shots, but it was bleeding a little by the time it was done.
Tattooing is a time consuming business. Christie had tattooed only one other person that day - from 11AM to 4PM! That was their second session, and he still wasn't done.
And now... I want another! It's addictive, I think, I'm already deciding what to get and where... At some point, I think I'm going to need an Einstuerzende Neubauten symbol, like several thousand other mad fans (including his Rollins-ness himself!)
I learnt a lot chatting to the tattooist - a situation no unlike chatting to a hair dresser. Apparently the machines they use are fitted with groups of needles, usually at least three but often five to seven or even more.
If anyone's keen, the tattooist Christie works with another guy, under the name Robot Shogun, in one half of Peril Underground, the weird music store. They're in a laneway off Elizabeth street, next to the McDonalds near Flinders street station. Best description of the location I can give!