I like tattoos. I like seeing them, I like having them, I like getting them, and I like watching other people get them.
I always knew I would get inked as soon as I was old enough, in just the same way that I always knew I would live in filthy share houses, be attracted to depressive musicians, and not live a conventional lifestyle even though I had no understand of what any of these things meant at 10 years old. It certainly didn’t stop me from living out the prophecies.
I don’t have many tattoos (I have five). They’re chilled designs in chilled spots (a teapot on my arm, a silhouette of a plane under my collar bone, the cover art of radiohead’s Amnesiac album on my wrist)… except for the huge skeleton that lives on my forearm and the unfinished tattoo of an illustration by a friend of mine of a cannibalistic sex act performed by conjoined twins. Not chilled out, but pretty suited to me all the same. Each tattoo means something to me. I remember getting each one vividly, I remember how much I paid, what I paid with (money/beer/roast chicken), and if I consider them worth that price. They have connections with other people; ex-boyfriends, old friends, new friends- and lots of conversations have been started thanks to them. One’s tattoos give a pretty accurate reflection of one’s values, state of mind and interests (obviously)… I think there is a lot to be said about using tattoos as social tools.
I am so pleased that I don’t run in circles where huge ferocious tigers emerging from the chest surrounded by are popular.
Or tribal designs.
Or shitty cartoons.
Or Australian pride.
Or anything else that displays a total lack of taste.
Luckily, I run in mostly tasteful circles. I love meeting people with interesting tattoos, which is becoming more and more common as I get older. In fact, most of my friends and friendly acquaintances have tattoos, and I like most of them. An ex-housemate had the word “palimpsest” tattooed in a long font around her wrist. A painter friend has “NO MISTAKES” tattooed down his forearm. One of the girls at my local café has a beautiful drawing of a blue whale tattooed on the inside of her upper arm. Another painter friend has a big line drawing of a skeksi on his upper arm (if that word means nothing to you, get yourself a copy of The Dark Crystal and watch it RIGHT NOW). A butcher/tattooist friend has a hinge tattooed on her inner elbow. A friend who is opening up a local record store has a sleeve of line drawings of animal skulls, which look fucking great and were done by the butcher/tattooist friend. One of my closest friends has constellation tattoos, dots and lines placed on her skin in relation to where they would be in the sky.
It’s common for people with tattoos to say they’re not dissimilar to Pringles in how moreish they can be. I personally would love a bajillion more inking sessions, but I’m yet to find the designs I believe I will still love at 60 years old. They will definitely be silhouettes and line drawings, but of what…? An octopus? Something art nouveau? Ham on the bone? A reptilian humanoid? I kind of want the words “CALM DOWN” tattooed on my knuckles (in a simple font of course). Is that I good idea? The amount I say it to people makes me think it is, but you know… is it actually shit? You see why I haven’t gotten one for nearly two years right?
My boyfriend recently got his first tattoo. He and our housemate were chilling at home when she decided to get out her tattoo gun (which I only just found out she had, despite living with her for three months). He has flirted with the idea of getting one before, but could never settle on anything. But like all great at-home-tattoo-parties, he decided on something small, simple and perfect for him in that moment, and got an “N” from a compass on his wrist. I warned him he’ll soon want another, then another, then another, and if he lets himself he could easily become one of the many regular attendees of at-home-tattoo-parties I see walking around Fitzroy and Collingwood, with weird little LSD induced childish drawings on their arms and legs. I totally understand that, and I absolutely encourage it.
The following photos are a few examples of what magic can come from these shindigs.
I’m sure this isn’t a home job but I really like it and want to include it in the good list anyway:
And this is why some people just shouldn’t bother.
http://joshuabullen.files.wordpress.com/2009/05/alex-bl.jpg?w=420 That little fella looks infected too. BE CAREFUL PEOPLE, BLOOD POISONING ISN’T NICE.
I have now decided that I will indeed get “CALM DOWN” on my knuckles, and I’m going to get it done tonight. THANK YOU COOL PERTH NIGHTS! This one goes out to you: calm the fuck down.