Tuesday, April 17, 2012


Today was another three hours at Kings Ave NYC.

Fortunately, band practice was canceled this evening, so I was able to knock down some calories and cocktails before coming home at a more-than-reasonable hour.  Unfortunately, we hit a lot of the spinal column today which is a difficult place to wash and lubricate when your girlfriend is out and about with a gym-class/cocktails date with one of her girlfriends.

And while I think I worked it out for now (and will undoubtedly ask the Lil Lady to help slather me up when she gets home), this strikes me as a decent time to answer all of these requests I've received about the "healing process."



While Rubendall has done 99% of the work on my body over the last several years, I still adhere to the basic tenants of his healing process: Light layer of ointment (preferably Aquaphor) 2-3 times a day for a week, then hypo-allergenic lotion twice a day for the week after.  No direct sunlight, no hot water, no fragrances, no abrasives.  Seems simple enough, right?  Let the shit HEAL.  Don't smother it, don't pick at it, rub it, scratch it and for fucks safe take your loofa out of the shower for a week or two.



I cannot tell a lie, I break Rube's rules.  I use Aquaphor for the first week and then only apply it to shit that is really scabby for the following week.  After the first seven days, I will use lotion maybe once a day on the other parts - but only when necessary - because my skin is fairly accepting of tattoos.  Sure, I bruise very easily, but no amount of moisturizer is going to help you out of that.

Just keep your eyes open and be attentive to this VERY EXPENSIVE INJURY on your body.




Rule #4 of Tattoo Healing: SEE RULE #1.


  1. Another question if you don't mind:

    How important was personality when choosing Rubendall? It's sort of a silly question since in my very limited experience with him (ie my wife buying a print from him at a convention and saying that he seemed like the nicest dude in the world) he seems as nice as his tattoos are great, but did this figure into you deciding on him to tattoo your back?

  2. Excellent question, Graeme - and perhaps one deserving of its own post.

    While Mike is an incredibly nice guy, I didn't choose him for his personality - I chose him for his portfolio. When he did my first sleeve, I literally went in it thinking of it as a business transaction: I give you the money, you give me the art. If he was an outright dick to me at our initial meeting/consult, I may have reconsidered my decision - after all, who wants to spend hours upon hours with an asshole (an asshole who's inflicting pain on you, no less)? But, my initial impression of him was that he was a courteous professional who had the skill set to put something beautiful on my body - which was what I wanted. Becoming friendly with him over the years - bullshitting about music, family, etc - has simply been an added perk.

    (On a related note: Yes, I do think it's important for you to like your artist and to get along - and, yes, I'm friends with a lot of tattooists - but I've seen a lot of people go into the client/artist relationship thinking, "we're going to be friends" and I don't think that's a great way to look at it. At the end of the day, it's the artist's JOB, not a social engagement (despite the socialization that often occurs during the tattoo process). Sure, the art that's going onto your body would/should change your life, but there's no reason to think that that somehow makes you closer to the tattooist.)

    I won't lie, I've walked into a fair share of shops where the atmosphere isn't welcoming - wherein the staff has a "holier-than-thou" attitude, rather than just the old-school "we're a tough-guy shop" routine. Frankly, I just think that's bad business. On the flip side, I've walked into places where the staff is friendly/polite and I could immediately understand why people get tattooed there. Case in point: when Marisa and I were in Edinburgh, we stopped in to "Red Hot & Blue" just to check out the work and "pay our respects" across the pond. The owner and the shop manager were incredibly friendly, hung out with us for a half-hour, complimented Marisa on the books she had published (they were familiar with the works) and even sent us on our way with some enamel lapel-pins featuring the shop's logo. I'll never forget that experience and I wasn't even getting tattooed!

  3. Really insightful post Brian. Sorry I missed you at the NYC shop this go around. We'll have to figure something out. Drop me an email if anything.

    I completely agree that people who already have tattoos should know their own body and how it deals with the healing process. Definitely follow your artist's advice on aftercare but one can customize it to suit their needs. Depending on which part of my body (so far arms and thigh) I go twice a day with Aquaphor in a really thin coat over the new ink. So thin that you barely see the sheen from it. I do Aquaphor for about 2-3 days. Afterwards, I switch off to lotion for about 2 to 3 three weeks, twice a day. My last session I bled a ton (I have pics to prove it) but did not scab at all going with this regimen.

    Also, one thing that should be mentioned and there is a plethora of info online is people's reaction to certain colors. Lots of people have allergic reactions to the color red. Some are very minor and just take longer to heal. Others have it bad and may sometimes need to take Benadryl to mitigate the reaction. If it gets terrible, definitely see a doctor and also notify your artist. Personally, my reds take much longer to heal and it peels a lot more during the process but so far so good. Pinks don't sit well on my skin and isn't bright or vivid compared to other people. I have a purple colored peony on left forearm that had a very mild reaction. I took some Benadryl and also used a lubricating cortizone cream that soothed it alot without ruining the ink.

    Met Jason Corbett from Red Hot & Blue when he was visiting Kings Ave during their grand opening for the NYC shop. Super nice fellow and I follow him on Instagram. He's cranking out some nice pieces!