Thursday, March 29, 2012

Sittings 8 and 9

Tick-tock, tick-tock / Christ, I hate that fucking clock


Date: March 20, 2012
Time: 2 hours
Breaks: 1 (5 minutes)
Total Tattooing Time: 28.5 hours

Date: March 23, 2012
Time: 4 hours
Breaks: 2 (10 minutes)
Total Tattooing Time: 32.5 hours

Last week is what I will call a "triple," what with a single session on Tuesday in the Bowery and a double-session in Massapequa on Friday - barely any time to heal between sessions but, fortunately, we're covering a lot of acreage so it's not quite like we're running the machine over tender areas.

The color has begun, about which I am thrilled - the blues that Rube has chosen are utterly electric, as are my nerve-endings every time he runs the 5-mag over my spinal column.

The "Fruity Pebbles" phase has begun (in which I leave stains and multi-colored scabs all over our sheets each morning - "part of this nutritious breakfast"), about which I am ready to cash in several Bed, Bath & Beyond gift-cards for new linens.

Tuesday hit everything below the dragon's face, which rattled my kidneys something fierce.  On an ideal day, I would have milled about the apartment in my kimono while casually partaking in coffee, cigarettes, bacon and eggs before heading over to Bowery.  This day, however, called for two auditions before my sitting (and one afterwards) which, when combined with my mild hangover and scarfing down two hot dogs on an NYC street-corner just before my sitting... 

Yeah... you do the math.  I wasn't feeling awesome, but I didn't expel anything offensive.


Friday brought me back to the Massapequa location and we started with me - upright in a chair - facing the rear wall of Rube's booth.

Tick-tock, tick-tock / Christ, I hate that fucking clock

It's one thing when I'm lying face-down on the table, but when I'm straddling that chair, I'm staring right at the clock on Rube's wall.

Tick.  Tock.

It's like staring at the clock during history class in high school on the day before summer vacation.  First, the clock gets loud.  Then, it slows down.  Finally, it starts moving backwards.

Eventually, I was face-down on the table again for a few hours but, after a few hours, things started getting rough.

Rube, I think I'm hitting the wall, man.

"Don't worry, we only got another 15 minutes."

If you're a heterosexual male, this is the equivalent of a woman telling you "don't come yet, I'm almost there."

I'm now thinking about time... 

How much more can I handle?

How many drags can I take on this eCigarette?

How many songs have rolled by on the iPod?  After all, your average song is four minutes, which puts me at 3.75 songs before I can call it quits....

Frankly, I'd rather NOT know.  Let me keep fighting the good fight and hit me with the green soap when we're done.


A bunch of you readers have been asking me about healing & care (which I've addressed briefly in the past), but I promise that I'll get around to it before my next sitting.  

Thanks to all of you for following me on this journey, feel free to send money for Aquaphor and don't forget to follow me on twitter.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Quick Pic - Tha Blues

We did two sessions this week (a total of six hours) and began the color.  I'm ecstatic about how electric these blues have turned out.  Full post once the bruising goes down and I can get the lil lady to take a better pic...

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Sitting 7 - Background COMPLETE

Date: March 8, 2012
Tattooing Time: 4.5 hours
Breaks: 2 (25 minutes)
Total Tattooing Time: 26.5 hours

Right after we finished up the lower-spine (right above the crack in all of its unforgiving, spinal-column brutality), Rube gave me a smoke break while the crew dragged out a table to replace the chair I had been A.C. Slatering.  When I came back in, I dropped trou and laid on the table awaiting what I knew was the final work on the wind-bars and waves around my ass and all of it's next-door neighbors.

Just as soon as he starts shaving my ass-crack (after all, my lineage is Scots/Lebanese/Hungarian/Russian), a Sade record rolls over on the in-house stereo.

"OH, SHIT," Rube yells as he uses his elbow to hit the volume knob in his workstation.  "Did I ever tell you about the time I saw Sade on tour?"

Which he proceeded to do, at length, as I listened patiently.

After the following three minutes of silence, he looked at me in the mirror on the wall and said, "Fuck... this is gonna go on the blog, isn't it?"

Yeah, dude... this is my lede.


I've already said time and time again in this blog that my actual (butt) cheeks don't hurt very much when hit with the machine.  This day, however, Rube really got in there right in the crack to fill in all of the waves and background.

I don't quite care if you have a butterfly or a pair of lipstick-prints or your baby-daddy's name on your cheek, but when an artist is actually getting into your CRACK to make you look cohesive when you're standing upright...?  Well, that's a different sensation all together.  While the hand-mirror proves to me that he was quite far away from my trash-chute, I could have sworn at the time that his machine was on a direct mission to eradicate the hemorrhoids that I've been suffering in my advancing age.

Not fun in the least, but I jokingly thanked him that he had decided to do all the waves splashing out of my ass-crack so we wouldn't have to go back in there for color.

"Old trick of the trade," Rube joked.

It also occurred to me that - many years ago - Rube used a footswitch for his machine.  Now, no longer.  Obviously, I had to ask why.

He explained that the slight elevation of his foot was taking a major toll on his lower back and - if he could stop the machine expertly with his hand - why wouldn't he eliminate the pedal?

Unorthodox, perhaps... Or maybe just a man who knows his tools.  After all, I've seen my father do shit with a table-saw that yields beautiful results, despite risking life, limb and an OSHA lawsuit.


I can't possibly begin to explain how excited I am that the "background" is done.  No more black.  No more grey.  Well, that's the theory, anyway...

But the important part is that we now start with color.  Colors that neither of us have really discussed in much detail since I proposed this project, much less when we literally began it.

I worked as a graphic designer for many years (and this economy finds me back in that line of work).  I always hated the term "pop."  Clients or art-directors would always say, "Can you make it pop more?"

Well... my backpiece is about to do just that.  And I'm fucking amped.

Talk to you kids soon...

Saturday, March 10, 2012

A Quickie

Once the bruising goes away, I'll get some proper pictures and write-up my last sitting... in the interim, I'll just be sitting down very, very carefully.

Here's a pic from the Kings Ave Instagram account.  Apparently, I am "infamous."

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


(PS - bad filter on Marisa's camera... no way I'd let my ink get that rosy)

I'm back in the chair (AKA: on the table) on Thursday.  Sadly, I had to turn down a few open cancelations at the end of February because I was going to Puerto Rico for a well deserved vacation, but it feels good to go back to work on the back.

Heading to a tropical climate as a heavily tattooed man is never easy.  In all honesty, I feel a lot more compassion for my loving girlfriend who is both far more covered than me and - well, let's face it - a woman and, as a result, subject to a lot more scrutiny.  Regardless, you're gonna hear a lot of shit down by the pool, especially when you're both lying around in Speedos.

The winner, however, for our trip was a woman in her 80s who was shuffling about in a giant sun-hat and a bathing suit that perhaps should have covered a bit more of her thighs.  Regardless, I couldn't help but love her.

As I stood by the back-end of the pool smoking a cigarette while working on a book of Sunday NY Times crosswords, I heard a small but confident voice behind me...

"I'm sorry to bother you, but I want you to know: I think your tattoos are beautiful.  Did you do them all at once?"

I turned around to find a woman who has been collecting social security for almost as long as I've been alive, approaching the "scary" guy in a sarong down by the pool.

"Thank you very much, ma'am.  No, we've been working on my body for about a decade.  We're still not done just yet."

"Well, whoever is doing all this beautiful art is doing a great job at tying it all together.  I'm gonna go get a henna tattoo at the other pool and really freak out my friends in North Dakota once I get home."

Seriously?  I wanted to hug her.  But, that might have been creepy considering that I was wearing a very "compact" bathing suit.

She rocked.  Unlike many of my fellow hotel-guests who felt the need to speak to me for that three-day excursion...

  1. "Sick ink, Bro!"
  2. "Sweet tats!"
  3. "How long did that take?"
  4. "How much did that cost?"
All honest, but cliched questions.  I consider it my duty to help keep people informed, especially when they're not being judgmental. I'm more than happy to hear praise from a stranger when I'm displaying my pasty, half-Scottish body poolside in the Caribbean.  After all, I'm quite sure I asked a black person at one point in my pre-pubescence if I could touch their hair.

The winner for the weekend, however, was a man in a Desert Storm Vet cap and a very prominent gold tooth on his front, right bicuspid...

"Your tattoos are really nice, man.  I wish I could afford work like that, but I got kids."

"Well, I got a mortgage in Downtown Brooklyn - it's not too different."

Talk to you kids over the weekend.  We got another double on Thursday.  Wish me luck.