Living in Portland, a rather heavily-tattooed town, I’ve become accustomed (maybe even enjoyed) the banality of tattoos.  In Boston people still give you the hairy eyeball if you have sleeves, and in France, I got stared at so much I thought about asking Parisians to pay a fare lest I go on strike.  The irony was lost on them, comme c’est toujours. 

Sometimes when I go out, I just cover up all my tattoos because I’m not in the mood to talk about them, give people impromptu consultations in the grocery store, tell someone how much their tattoo will cost while standing in line at the movies, etc.  I don’t mind doing it, and I’m as cordial as I can be, but if I’m feeling off duty and just want to ponder other things, the tattoos are hidden out of view, and that mostly gives me “closeted” time (sorry for the term, my gay friends).

Last week, while I was out at the farmers market with the bambina, I had a lady ask me if she could check out my tattoos (it was really hot, so I was in t-shirts and shorts).  After looking me over up and down, she asked, “What do they mean?”

I didn’t want to be snarky, so I just said something quick that would sate her, and she moved on to other innocent bystanders awaiting her existential scrutiny.  But why did she need to know what the tattoos meant?  Why couldn’t I just pull a Wildean ju-jitsu move and tell her that they were beautiful and that that was enough for them to exist?  Would she have walked about the farmers market and ask what the flowers meant?  What do these tattoos mean?  What’s it mean to have a Bohemian Waxwing tattooed on you?  Or a tibetan dorje?  Or a rooster and a pig?
To be continued…

So through the miraculous stroke of fate and luck, some cool things happened.  DV was super cool, easy-going, and took his tat-blasting like a man.  And, as I was drawing the background on, he said, “I really like minimal, open concept sleeves- no flowers, just water and a dragon.”  His skin was great to tattoo, and his arms were also quite slim, so there wasn’t a lot of bulk to work on and around.


Because of all the above, we actually finished his half-sleeve in one shot.  Yup- it’s crazy to say, but six hours later, he is the happy recipient of a black and grey dragon tattoo!







Okay- home to eat some food!  Good night, everyone, and thanks for reading.  We hope that you had fun with the “live” blogging…  Maybe we’ll see if DV will write a quick something about the whole experience from his perspective (which hopefully will not read “Ow, ow, ow, ow, ow, ow, ow, Phuc is a dick, ow, ow, ow, ow, ow.”).

Four hours!

July 16, 2011

DV is killing it!  Just some smoke and pee breaks!  If only we had that special astronaut underwear…




Two hours in!

July 16, 2011

Here’s where we’re at after 45 minutes of prep work (stencil, free-handing, etc), time out for a little snack (poor DV hadn’t even had breakfast yet!), and an hour of tattooing…





Stencil and freehanding

July 16, 2011

Okay, as Sue mentioned, we had a bit of a late start to the day because DV’s original flight was cancelled and he ended up at the shop around 1:00pm instead of 10:00am.  We got the stencil on, free-handed some background, and I got set up. Thanks to Sue for taking these in-progress photos…


Free-Handing DV's Water

Sue, here.

DV’s flight was delayed (one of the inherent difficulties of a long-distance tattoo relationship), but we know he’s on his way, and we’ll be getting started soon. So I have Phuc training, Rocky-style, for the day ahead while we wait. I planned to have him run up the steps of Portland City Hall for a little homage to his movie-boxing hero, but it’s under construction and roped off, so we’ll all just have to imagine that visual instead.

Speaking of visuals, here’s a little sneak peek at the DV’s drawing…

DV's sketch

DV's Half Sleeve Sketch

…don’t tell DV you got to see it before he did! More soon…

Evil live!

July 15, 2011

So as some of you all know, my tattoo sessions are generally about three hours –  I think much past four hours and tattooing starts to be really unpleasant.  There are, however, extenuating circumstances when I tattoo people for longer than three or four hours, and tomorrow is one of them.

I have a client coming from very far away, and we’ve both agreed that it makes sense for us to tattoo for the whole day.  My client, DV, wants to get a half sleeve in two day-long sessions.  Ouch.  Tomorrow is day one; day two will happen in August sometime.

I’ve never met DV; we’ve just exchanged a series of cordial emails.  DV hasn’t seen the drawing or ever been to the shop, so who knows what he’ll think of it all.  How tall is he?  How many tattoos does he have?  Is he a hulking bruiser or a slight waif? Beardie or mustachey?  Star Wars or – gulp- Star Trek?  Who knows?   I’ll find out tomorrow at 10 am! Here’s something that we’ll be playing over and over again to get psyched.

And in honor of this epic session, I’m going to be posting updates on DV ‘s half-sleeve throughout the day.  I’ll try to post a quick photo or two every two hours or so and write some blurbs as we’re chugging along so you guys can get some vicarious viscosity through virtual voyeurism.

It’s been so busy since we got back from Provincetown that I haven’t had a chance to even tell you about that.  Khristian did tattoo me while I was there, and that was great fun… Well, about as much fun as getting tattooed can be.  I’ll write more about that trip next week when I’m out of the weeds (hopefully).

And, to satiate whatever tattoo need you have, here’s an cool typewriter tattoo that I did a few weeks ago on an up-and-coming writer.  I think you’ll hear of him someday, and then you can say, “Heyyyyy… if it isn’t Mr. Adverb himself-ly!”

Okay, stay tuned tomorrow for DV’s super half-sleeve drive-thru tat-stravaganza!!!