Send My Conscience Home in a Taxi

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Belated Blogging: Getting a new Tattoo
Einstürzende Neubauten
Seems I failed for just on a year to blog about the tattoo I got. That'll tell you how much spare time I have of late. Oh, it doesn't help that the last tattoo I blogged about was an April fool's joke.

Of course, no tatt I get is ever quite going to top the fame my last tattoo achieved. Here it is on on the Science Tattoo blog, which later became a book. My leg it on page 154 or so!

When I get a tattoo, I like to really be sure about what I'm getting inked on my skin, since it's going to be there forever. Which is probably why I've only gotten three tattoos over the space of twenty-three years. Which averages out at, what, one every seven years? I figure if the design still takes me after a year or so of thinking about it, then it's the correct design. Unlike some folks - while I was getting this done several folks walked into the tattoo studio, seemingly on a whim, and looked for designs from their design books. Folks, this is going to be forever remember!

In this case, it took a lot longer to get needle applied to flesh. I first had the idea around 2011 or so, and vaguely planned to get it done around the time I got "married" in November 2012. I even did a design, which I eventually used. Then life took over - we had a kid, moved house, my partner broke her leg. I was broke. But the biggest impediment was actually finding a tattooist.

Something about the design will help you see why.

I wanted to get this:

But done as if it had been stencilled. That's the logo of the band Einstrende Neubauten, a pioneering German industrial band I happen to be a fan of. But more than that, it's a fantastical simple symbol that makes for a great tattoo. And indeed it been tattooed so many times it's not funny. Here are a few hundred examples, including on on the shoulder of a certain Henry Rollins. And indeed at least two people I know.

It also says something to me about being into music, the owners of said tattoos all being super enthused about music.

Now I like to get unique tattoos - not for me the heart with a dagger through it, with a scroll and someone's name. So I thought how can I join the community of EN tattooed folks, but in a way that's unique? That's where the stencil idea came in. Because I'm also from Melbourne, which is rather known for its stencilled art.

I took the design back to the place I got my previous tattoo, Robot Shogun in the now defunct Peril Underground record store, and they said it couldn't be done. So I left it be for a few years (see also aforementioned child, wedding, moving house, lack 'o cash and broken leg) until I found I had a small stash of cash that I'd forgotten about. The I went looking online for tattooists, starting with the websites for tattoo expos, because they're full of galleries of work by local tattooists. I narrowed it down to a couple, fired them off a scan of my design, and lo I got a positive response from a guy called Spud in a studio up the road from where I work! I went in in person and showed them my designs, they said "Sure we can do it Tuesday". So after some five years of planning it was happening in a few days.

Here is the design on my leg before inking:
Outline Standing

And here's the finished product:
Finished Tattoo

The whole album is on flickr, including some shots of Spud hard at work.

The whole thing took the better part of four hours, in one sitting. This is by a fair margin the biggest tattoo I've gotten, although the sample size is small! I was a bit spacey afterwards, a bit like I was in shock. For the record, tattoos hurt. I think Spud got the spray effect with a wide brush needle, which gives a faint layer of colour rather than solid one.

You know you're getting a good tattoo when other tattooist in the parlour come and admire it. You know you've got a good tattoo when random people come up and ask about it. Also, and this is odd, because I planned it for so long, now that I have it it feels right, like my leg was always meant to be that way. And also it goes against tattoo convention, it already looks old and a bit rough around the edges because it's meant to.

The very next evening, I celebrated my new music-related ink, by seeing the loudest band in the world, Sunn O)))

Finally, I can recommend the work of East Brunswick Tattooing.


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