Wednesday, February 8, 2012

All Tatted Up {Edition 3}

I'm so happy it's Wednesday because I'm pretty excited to get back to sharing my tattoos with you guys. I think these may be my favorite posts. {Edition 1; Edition 2} What am I going to do when I run out of tattoos to feature? Hmmm... maybe this is just the excuse I've been looking for to get another tattoo. I blame you guys!!!

This week I'm featuring my third tattoo- a little tree on my inner right arm. It was my first tattoo that wasn't on my left forearm and (what I thought) was a big leap into the world of highly visible tattoos. Now I realize that it can be hidden fairly easily, but I was still majorly nervous to take the plunge. I mean- upper arm, right arm... It was a big decision. Of course I made it on a whim! My best friend Jamie was visiting me in New York and we decided one day that we wanted to get tattoos. It's kind of something we liked to do together. So instead of making an appointment with a reputable artist & shop and planning for months, we decided at 2:00 on a Saturday and were getting tattooed by 5:00. (Kids, don't try this at home.) We ended up going to a random in the East Village simply because they were the only people who would take us as walk ins before the end of the day. In hindsight, we were pretty stupid to do this, but whatever. It's still worth telling the story.

We showed up without any reference photos, but pretty clear descriptions of what we wanted. Everyone at the shop looked at us like we were idiots. This was the total opposite from the two previous tattoo experiences I had where I went in, described what I wanted and Dominick would design it perfectly. Nope, apparently these dudes wanted me to have a photo they could trace and then tattoo on me. But I just kept saying "Like... a stamp of a tree. So take the outline of a tree... and fill it in!" It was inspired by my favorite Bright Eyes lyrics- "Oh you are the roots that sleep beneath my feet and hold the Earth in place." My description didn't work for the tattoo artist, so I had to get on their computer from 1992 and look up pictures of trees for them to understand what I was saying. It was all very bizarre. I should have followed my gut, which was telling me to run back to Toledo and my familiar shop, but I didn't. Instead I gave a few different drawings to one of the tattoo artists (I honestly don't even remember his name) and he made a drawing that was a composite of a few of them. I had him put it on my upper right arm because I felt like getting on my upper left arm would look to patchy. Once he put it on, I wasn't super stoked on the placement (I wanted it further back) but the tattoo artist said it would peek out one direction or the other no matter where he put it. I didn't want to have him redesign it to be taller instead of wide because he just did not seem into it. At this point I was feeling pretty bummed on the whole experience, but I didn't have the balls to just walk out... So, of course I let him tattoo this little tree on me permanently! When you're 20, you don't realize that you have total control over any situation in which you're paying someone money for something. Yes, even prostitutes.

Anyway, the dude made fun of me the whole time for letting out little expletives in pain- upper arms are sensitive! Plus he was really heavy handed. The entire experience was a debacle. The silver lining was that I was there with my best friend so we experienced this whole thing together. There are so many things I wish were different about this tattoo, now years later. I wish the trunk was longer. I wish the branches were longer in comparison to the roots. Blah blah blah. I LOVE the idea of a tree and I definitely don't want to change the tattoo entirely. I just think that I'm going to get it redone eventually to make it bigger and less stamp-like. I want more details in it now, and I want to extend it out in all directions. I also think I want to get the Bright Eyes lyrics incorporated into the tattoo somehow. I'm less scared of big tattoos now than I was when I first got this little guy. I don't know though. Even though it was a bad experience, some days I like my tree. It's delicate. Ah... I might change it, I might not. Apparently I'm super decisive about getting the tattoo in the first place but hesitant to change it after the fact. I'm weirder than even I know. Especially after looking at these photos, I'm feeling nostalgic about my little tree. It's been with me for so long. I can laugh now at how young and naive I was during this whole ordeal and appreciate my dainty tree. 

But no joke- this was a lesson learned. Of course, every tattoo experience isn't going to be "the best ever!!" This little tree is my bad tattoo experience. I was too scared to ask the burly New York tattoo artist to change his design and his placement because I was unhappy with it, and I ended up with a tattoo I less than love. This tattoo taught me to be as particular and as detail obsessed as possible when it comes to getting a tattoo. The artist may think you're crazy, but at the end of the day they've probably been exactly where you are now, and were just as particular. Also it taught me that to have a really good tattoo experience, actually liking your artist is totally key. I've legit LOVED every artist I've been to since getting my tree. Very, very important. 

Strangely, though, my little tree is the tattoo I get the most compliments on. That always blows my mind. Whenever someone's like "I love your tree!" my auto-response is something like "Really? Are you sure?" It gets awkward. Still, silver lining- other people like my tree! But let this be a lesson- always, always, always make sure you're totally in love with your tattoo design before you get it & always research your shop before you go. Anyone else out there have any bad tattoo experiences? I'd love to hear them! (Misery loves company.)

PS- I promise my next tattoo story is way happier than this one. All the rest are. Don't worry!! I was hesitant to post a bummer of a story, but I really think tattoo education is important for those out there considering getting inked. Learn from my mistakes!


  1. To say that you went through all that I love it. The idea behind it is lovely and I think it would be a great idea to incorporate the song lyrics in somehow, but I think it turned out pretty well.
    But I know what you mean about tattoos, sometimes when it's not quite perfect it can be irritating. Mine on my wrist is a little patchy.Luckily this is very easy to rectify, but finding the right person to do the job, now that's the tricky part.
    I can't wait to hear about your other tattoos.
    This was a great story, and a very important one to share.

    1. Thanks girl!! I was super hesitant to post a downer story, but super happy that you liked it. If you get yours fixed, let me know. I don't know anything about getting tattoos touched up so I'd love to learn more before I dive in.

  2. Wow crazy story! Can't believe you went through with it! I would have been so, like... "no way!" I've never gotten a tattoo, but have always thought about it. It's not really a strong desire, but maybe I will someday. I want to get the words "Keep breathing" tattoo'd on my wrist/inner arm.

    Anyway, love how it came out anyway, despite the unpleasant experience behind it!

    1. Aw that would be a super cute tattoo!! The wrist would be the perfect spot.

  3. Yeah, I think filling it in and adding on to it would be really cool! You sure got some balls, girl.

  4. I really liked this story - I'm so used to reading about good times and I've never really had a bad tattoo experience, but this was an eye-opener. I'm so sketchy about who I pick to tattoo me, just because I am so against the homemade offices in your home shit. It bugs me.
    I'm not sure what they didn't understand about your guidelines for the tattoo, it was simple. I love the guy that's tattooed me a few times because he doesn't copy it from a computer, but tries to add his own spin on it.
    I love the tattoo, though.. I eventually want a huge tree tattooed on me. Can't wait for the next story!

    1. IIII know, right?! Sounds like you have an awesome tattoo artist. Lucky!! After I got this I started seeing people with trees on their thighs or sides and I started to get super jealous. I love huge tree tattoos. I'm sure it's going to look awesome on you!!

  5. nice! xx

    p.s. I'm having a giveaway from the leather satchel co. if you'd like to check it out. :)

  6. I love everything about this tattoo!


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