tattoo interview.

i'm gonna be in CG! heres what i said about getting inked and my advice to young people looking to do so:

I always knew I wanted to get tattooed. From a very early age I found them fascinating and began thinking about what I would want one day. As I got a little older I started drawing them out and once I decided I wanted sleeves (full arm tattoos), I decided I wanted to have them completly drawn out and decided on before I even got one. By 18, I was done, leaving a few spots for things I might want in the future.

As an artist, having "ink" is a honor to me. My body has become my own personal canvas and I love that this is the one thing about my appearance that I can truly choose. Out of all of my greatest works (paintings, drawings, films, books) these are things that will literally 'be' with me forever. They all have extreme meaning to me and they also all link together, thus giving them a double (and in some cases triple) meaning. I don't think everyone's tattoos need to be very personal/meaningful to them but I DO believe that chances of regret go down when it is something you care about. I think of it this way: I have a key on my left arm that (while I love) is too big. If I could go back, I would definitely make it smaller but that doesnt make me regret it. Similarly, I have a bike on my right arm that I love (its one of my favorite pieces) but sometimes question getting. I'm more of a skateboarder, but it was hard to find a good way to ink a skateboard so because I also love to bike, I got that instead. However, because I am not quite the biker that I used to be and I still love to skateboard, I'd like to find a way to get that in there.

Because I am heavily tattooed (I currently have 15 and will have around 35 when I am done) I get asked questions about tattooing all of the time. No matter what I do to my hair or how cute I look on any given day, I will always get the most compliments on my ink. Infact, I've had multiple women tell me how cool they think it is that I push the boundaries and get inked on my arms, something many people are scared to do because of how it might affect what jobs they get or how it will affect their image. I'm happy to report that there is no "personality" associated with tattoos and that much of the social stigma against them has vanished, especially in large cities and artsy communities.

Sometimes people ask me if I think I will one day regret having so many tattoos. The answer is that I dont, for many reasons. One, I made sure to get things that mean a lot to me. Two, I planned them out over a long period of time. Three, I took the time (and this is VERY important) to find an artist to work with that I liked as a person, is an amazing tattooer and who understands who I am and what I like. I also made an important decision for me, which was to get only black/gray tattoos. I did this because I personally believe that the black is more "classy," it fades better and it matches everything I wear. :)

My advice for anyone considering getting inked: Do NOT get tattooed unless you are positive you want it. When you decide what you want, ask if its something timeless that you will love forever. Example: If you love the old compass your grandfather gave you, you will probably love a tattoo of it in twenty years. But, just because you love James right now, doesn't mean you will love HIM in twenty. Be smart about it and remember that forever means forever, unless you just love throwing money away on a painful removal procedure. Visualize yourself in twenty years. Who do you want to be? Try to see yourself in a natural setting with your ink. For instance, I used to really want swallows on my chest. Then I tried to visualize myself as a fifty year old woman with swallows. For some reason, even though I love them, I just can't see it. When people come to me concerned that they might regret it, I usually ask them to consider living by my tattoo rule. Once you've thought of the perfect piece/placement, spend one year thinking about it. Hang it in your room and see if you get sick of looking at it (if you cant stand it on your wall, you wont want it on your body for life.) After a year, have an artsy friend draw the piece on you (in your previously chosen spot) in sharpie. Keep redrawing it for three-six months, however long you feel is necessary. If you STILL love it, the chances that its meant to be are greater. Of course, nothing ensures that you won't one day regret it, but I truly believe that if you are patient enough to wait a year and a half about something you are excited about and you remain excited about it, your tattoo has a better chance of survival. You wouldn't marry a man after one night, right? Spend some time with your ink.

Getting tattooed is serious and I honestly think it taints the art of it when people just run out and get tweety bird on their ass on a whim. Getting inked costs a lot of money (when its done right), is painful and is permanent. But it's also beautiful, artistic and if you ask me, pretty exciting. I love that I get to wear my heart on my sleeve(s), everyday.

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