Priceless are the experiences of life.
The self-worth of individuals is determined on how they view life and act upon it. Personal rituals often develop for those motivated by passion felt towards life. Tattoos and piercings like many other art forms have become tools to satisfy these practices.
To interpret oneself externally can become confusing and frustrating, in part because of the many options and opinions bombarding society by instant electronic communications. Not knowing what options can be made can make you fall short from what would be an otherwise ideal body modification –leaving a permanent alteration that is damaging to the body and, of course, self-image.
Presenting who we are, even subtly, is unavoidable. According to Ernest Dick of Death or Glory Tattoo, body modifications are just changes made to the way you look, even if it seems small.
“Cutting your hair in any particular way could be just as extreme of a statement as any tattoo. One guy’s haircut might offend another,” Dick said. “It comes down to how you want to present yourself.”
Because people are so different and experiences can be interpreted to mean many different things to different people, especially during different stages in life, choosing how to alter your look needs to be approached in a systematic way.
“One of the biggest mistakes people make is rushing to get under the needle, without researching everything first, which can limit choices –even alter how their procedure turns out,” Jentery McCausland of Timeless Image Tattoo said. “You’re doing it right if the process teaches you that there is more to life experiences than regret.”
Regretting a first tattoo, according to Dick, happens way too often. More thought should be put behind each alteration made to the body.
“Most people cover up their first couple tattoos because it affects their life or career in a negative way they hadn’t anticipated,” Dick said. “Like if you were a doctor, would your patients trust you as much if you had visible ink or not?”
Justin Pierce of Death or Glory Tattoo doesn’t question the integrity of fellow professionals but gives word of warning about hygiene.
“It hasn’t been an issue whether a needle has been used before or not and hasn’t been for many years. The problem happens when the needles are ordered and shipped,” Pierce said. “Though the needle is sterile the package itself might have something crazy on it, so ask your artist about their sterilization procedure.”
Musicians have instruments, directors have actors and tattoo artists have the body. According to McCausland, it’s like having a blank canvas. Each artist is different so be sure to pick one you agree with.
“We are artists who decorate people. Like a painting it takes time to place a candle here and some color there,” says McCausland. “Sometimes, as an artist you just want to add.”
1-Meditate: Consider all that is important to you and what you want most to reveal about yourself to the world. Collect your thoughts. Make a list. Remember you can be stuck with a tattoo for the rest of your life.
2- Research: What images or alterations best represent your purpose/idea/thought. Compare and decide the one(s) that best represent you.
3- Find your local parlor: Each have a variety of portfolios comprised of past work done by each of the arts. Take your time to look through as many as possible to decide which artist would best meet your needs. Ask about prices; they change by the amount of time and how much ink used. Parlors are always willing to work with clients.
4- Introduce yourself: Explaining your ideas with your artist before your designated appointment helps them understand what you want. Also building the trust between you two, their work will forever by on you. The last thing you want to have is an artist who is a jerk unaware of what you want permanently modifying your body.
By Chris Drew
Photos by Christina Ruth