→ Yup, you’ve guessed it! I GOT MY VERY FIRST TATTOOS!!! Scroll down for more deeds and my experience from how I got the tattoo ideas to actually be sitting on the tattoo chair below…
I know I’d want tattoos on my body, for years… People said “tattoos get ugly once you age” or “you’re gonna regret it,” or “no one will hire you if they know you have tattoos!” I disagree, however. Tattoos, just like birthmarks, skin tags, sunspots, and wrinkles are characteristics that get added to the skin and make US WHO WE ARE! In terms of workplace tattoo taboos, it takes some serious historical and social digging to justify why tattoos hold off job opportunities for some with visible tattoos. At this point in life, to be honest, I don’t even know what one exact occupation to label myself as. I see myself working and doing multiple things, working 9-to-5 and being content as is isn’t me! I won’t even ever work for any companies that restrict employees in terms of how much ink they have on their body! As I’ve mentioned above, it took me years and tons of research as well as thinking before “I pulled the trigger”.
It’s all in the PROCESS that I enjoy the most! Walking in an “Impulsive Tattoo” shop and watching my friend got her second tattoo done in less than an hour kinda helped me find the courage to actually speed up the research process: from the tattoo ideas to deciding on the tattoo artist or I’d like to call the tattooist. I’d like to break it down into steps that precisely reflect my whole experience:
- Tattoo ideas I like: sun, sunflower, lotus, a horse, geometric designs incorporating triangles and circles, simple thin lines, dot work, black ink, no colors nor realistic ones, word/font tattoo; placements to be somewhere in the inner parts of the body so that people won’t see it when looking directly in front or from the back, arms or legs, collarbone, side-boobs, shoulders, middle upper back.
- Pinterest and google images help in terms of inspiration! Also, asking friends or people around about their actual tattoos, their experience, and the tattoo artists help!
- I’ve read an article on Refinery29 about best tattoo artists, stumbled across a NYC tattoo artist named Jon Boy, and got blown away by his Instagram feeds filled with super simple, delicate, and tiny tattoos. I was impressed by how he does word tattoos in a hand-written and cursive style in a straight line along any parts of the body. I actually emailed him and got a response two days after with a fully booked/impossible to schedule and an hourly rate of $300. (=.=)
- I talked to many of my coworkers and actually found my tattoo artist through social media stalking. The artists at the same shop that one of my coworkers got hers done at. She’s got the most beautiful realistic and colorful tattoos on her arms and shoulders I’ve ever seen, trust me! However, it’s not my style. Then, luckily I’ve found Alex Gregory, stalked her Instagram feeds, and made the appointment to come in for a consultation with her. Even though her work reflects truly her passion on animals and plants, I know she’s good at line work and she paints in her free time! This kinda confirms to me that she’s an artist, truly!
- The consultation with Alex. She’s not super over the top nice but straight to the point and effective. As I told her my ideas and showed her the pictures of the tattoos I like, she took some notes down in her little notebook. She told me about dafont.com is where I should go and pick out the font to the word tattoo since she can adjust the sizing and fix the way certain words “do.” I was unsure if I wanted a lotus or a sunflower… Then I made an actual appointment two weeks after and paid $100, guessing it might cost me around $200. Alex hourly rate is $150.
- My tattoo date was on a Friday, 7/8/2016.
- Alex emailed me her first sketch a week before the date, and it was a sunflower with triangles, straight lines, and dot work! I wasn’t too impress by it knowing it was just a sketch. I printed it out and stared at it the whole day thinking about what I like to add or subtract from it. I researched and found more “organic” and “different” sunflower tattoos online and shared them with Alex as well as the placement I’d like it to be. With her sketch, I’ve found it super helpful in terms of finalizing the placement and focusing on just the sunflower and geometric shapes around it.
- She emailed the second sketch with a less-flat and less-symmetric sunflower and less busy geometric background couple days before the date. I was so worried that she wouldn’t be able to incorporate things I like and make it her work at the same time.
- The date had come, and my anxiety was even worst than when taking the test. I signed the document and waited till Alex was ready. Nick came right in time, supposedly to support haha! Right away, I saw her recent sketch on a piece of cut-out paper and was wowed by it… like I LOVED it!!!! It was a lot improved since the last sketch! Then we proceeded quickly to printing the actual stencil of the word tattoo, made it the smallest she could, and of course the sunflower too!
- The word tattoo took Alex a few trials to get it straight because my arm isn’t a straight surface. The actual tattoo was done in less than 10 minutes. Pain level is like 1/10. Hah! It kinda bled a little but since she had to use a super tiny needle for that. The sunflower took longer time… Pain level was like 2/10 since she had to go back and forth in a few areas. She added the dot work last! The result was awesome! I couldn’t be any happier!!! She put on the bandages and wrapped my arm and leg with the Saran plastic wrap to prevent infection.
- Tattoo aftercare. She recommended Aquaphor oinment to help with the healing process in the first couple of days. I bought an unscented Aveeno lotion to help once the tattoos start to get dried up or the skin starts to peel. Direct sunlight, bathing, swimming aren’t recommended in the first 3 weeks. It kinda stings, and my skin looks red around the sunflower tattoo.
- Final thought: Funny enough, I feel like an actual adult, finally!? Haha! That was totally not true, but as life has come together somehow, with work, relationship, and just life in general. I feel like whatever I’ve done to this point makes me who I am! I think it’s been great and a hella-ride till this point, and I enjoy every bit of it taking the process of getting tattoos as an example. It’s all about the process and the experience!!! I’ll share the tattoo meanings in another post, so stay tuned! Thanks for reading and enjoy the pics…