Tattoo-thousand and 12 (pt1)

Part one

"Never before have I felt as comfortable in my skin as I do now" - Robert G. Boswell III, 36, Husband, Father and Bad Ass.

 Just subscribed to Inked magazine for the iPad and been meaning to blog about tattoos for a while now. Thought it worth covering a few areas (pun intended) that are often brought up in regards to the subject of skin art. As well as offering an insight to what I have and why.

 The most common question I get asked is "what are you going to look like when you are eighty?" Easy answer, old and wrinkled I'd imagine, who cares by then? People who are lucky enough to reach that age could be living with far worse regrets, remorse and demons. 

 It's always the non tattooed that ask the same old stuff. It's really not hard to go online and do some research. I'm really not that knowledgable about the origins and history of tattooing. I like what I like and find out as much as I can about certain artists who's work catches my eye. I've been fortunate to meet and have work done by some amazing artists and great human beings.

 My tastes and experiences have come a long way since my first tattoo done in a studio in White Hart Lane, London at age 18. Having memory of the name Bob and a google search telling me Bob Sullivan owns it makes sense that he was the artist. Looking back at it I realise I only knew of one person with a tattoo, my dad. He had Rock 'n' Roll on his bicep courtesy of a visit to the pen. From what I've since been told, he hated that tattoo. So trying to remember why I was getting it done and I've come up with the following reasons -  No one I knew already had ink, therefore I could do something that was all my own. And I must have gotten the notion from some where that people with tattoos were bad asses. Not sure where I'd have been exposed to this idea but I'm sure it was part of my decision.  The other interesting thing is that I felt it had to have some relevance to my life.

 I remember not considering the artist, or the possibilities beyond that singular statement. It hadn't crossed my mind that it could be fun, interesting or even art. Just that it was the act itself of going under the needle and a mark of something you couldn't have known about me already. I can honestly say I have never regretted my first tattoo. It's a simple but well executed piece of traditional flash. I've seen it on many a studio wall and even adorned by Eric Cantona (which in no way am I saying makes it any cooler). It's a profile shot of a native American chief with headdress on, in colour, the size of my hand on my shoulder blade. The lines are blown out and the colour faded but in doing so has made it even more authentic. Having seen many a tattoo now it is pretty remarkable for one that is eighteen years old.

 I grew up in what I consider a fairly average town that was quite insular looking back on it. We had a tattoo shop on the high street at some point and I knew nothing of the artists ability or history. Still that didn't stop me blindly trusting that he was capable and skilled in his trade. This was at some point I my early twenties so my reasons for wanting a tattoo hadn't actually changed at all. This time I went for a tribal eagle on my shoulder, basic and really nothing to shout about. I didn't look after it during the healing and it's full of gaps. 

 In between this I did pick up another piece of flash from the studio in White Hart Lane, a buffalo skull with native American weapons behind it. Its on my shoulder and has faded but the detail was nice and would have stayed the course. Same artist I think but I didn't give the piece a chance at longevity due to opting for too small a version.  Up to that point my choices all related to the fact that I have Cherokee blood from about five or six generations back. I've noted before about my lack of an identity in the past and this was just part of that search really. Something to hold onto and use as a crutch I suppose. 

 My next tattoo experience is quite vague and sketchy actually. Probably because it was a terrible idea. Tribal sun on my stomach. No idea what I was thinking, seriously. Moving on....

 I think having acquired that dubious piece of work I came up with something genuinely awesome, personal and heartfelt. I partially took the idea from a DMX track and used the words to relate to the piece. I wanted something to speak of my love for my brothers. I chose their first initials with the phrase "Flesh of my flesh, Blood of my blood" across my lower back. I went to a studio outside of town where a friend of mine had been and recommended I check out. I only gave him lettering to do so hardly brought out his artistic side but he did a great job. Had I chosen better font you'd still be able to know what my brothers mean to me without having to ask for clarity on what the words said. Sigh. 

 This concluded my tattoo experiences from my early twenties, thankfully. Now into my mid twenties I surely had more of a clue and better ideas, you'd think. Well yes and no actually.

 To be continued.....