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Tuesday, May 25, 2010


"Tattoo Artist" By Norman Rockwell

It's no secret, I am heavily tattooed. That said, it's obvious I am completely addicted to the art and would have even more square inches of my body covered if finances allowed.

Tattoo art has inspired some of my headbands, the background of my business card is my left arm tattoo 'gone monochromatic' to match the peach. I am passionate about tattoos, they make me turn my head and catch my eye from afar. I adore them through and through. My colorful skin has become a conversation piece for years now, so I thought I'd share some of my thoughts about questions people normally ask me in regards to my embellished body.

I first went 'under the needle' in 1991. I was 17. I had graduated High School, was working full time and the artist did the tattoo despite the fact my parents did NOT sign a parental consent. Thank you Mr Mee. Oh, and thanks for dealing with my utter lameness of passing out before you ever touched me with any tattooing machinery. Thanks for the smelling salts, the cool air fan, and drink of water. My first tattoo was on my right wrist, and was the tiniest thing you EVER did see! It was the bird from the Peanuts, Woodstock. I literally picked it because it was the smallest thing I could find that I liked. It took 5 minutes to tattoo. I didn't really think much about it. I just wanted a tattoo. It really had no meaning besides that.

Since that youthful time I have been tattooed too many times to count. I have tattoos Everywhere! And there will be more in the future (I hope).

neck was tattooed in 1994
Thigh Tattooed in 1997-really needs a serious touch up

Several of my tattoos have been covered or have been added to. Woodstock is now black leaves.

Wrist cover up Tattooed in 1995-yes they fade & the color bleeds out...

Ok, now Lets talk about pain and fear.

Yes. It hurts.
I tell everyone, I am a wus. If I can do it, anyone can. Honestly, you can trust me on this. I have passed out cold from countless needle sticks. Once, I passed out, at the doctors office about 5 minutes after a finger prick blood test. (I fell off a chair in the waiting room wearing a short skirt...very embarrassing...) I tell you this because I want to stress I HATE needles. hate hate hate! them. Getting tattooed is not like a blood test or a shot. I recently had a tetanus shot, my arm killed for days, tattoos are less painful than that shot was in my book.

So far as the needle fear...You can't really even see the needle. I mean, most of us with needle issues cannot look at a hypodermic without a bit of paleness washing over us. Personally, I can't even visualize one in my head at this moment without feeling a little flush. The needle on the tattoo gun does not go in that deep. It's about the depth of a brush burn and feels very similar to a brush burn when it's done.

If the pain is your worry. bah, you can totally do it! For most it hurts super ouchy for the first minute or so, after that, your endorphins kick in. The area being tattooed numbs up and though it is annoying and still hurts, it is quite tolerable. I can handle about 3 good hours of getting tattooed. After that my legs start to shake, uncontrollably, that's when I know we need to wrap up the session.
Thumb Tattooed in 1993

And just a side note:
Hand & foot tattoos hurt A LOT, more than most places. Often times tattoo artists charge more for hands, some require additional release noting they cannot guarantee work, or just flat out refuse to do them. They do fade quickly on your hand.

Around age 22 I was referred to an awesome artist, and one who does my tattoos to date, Jeff Messersmith, owner of Permanent Impressions in Lemoyne, PA. Jeff covered my Woodstock with some vines I had drawn. I returned back to Jeff many years later to have him cover up a bad stomach tattoo I had gotten when I was younger.

This was the first I had been tattooed in over 10 years, in fall 2006. The tummy is a very ouchy area, I moved a lot, it needs touched up but I have no desire to sit through that.

My favorites are my newest, most colorful tattoos. My dear, talented, artist husband has drawn all of these for me. He is often reluctant and procrastinates drawing tattoos for me...but I think he must secretly love all the attention these get.
My left arm, Designed by Keith Hartman, tattooed by Jeff Messersmith started July 2007 and finished in December 2007 I am hoping to go 3/4 sleeve over the next couple years.

Often people want to put a story behind their tattoos. I think the TV shows that popped up over the past few years really tried to knock this concept into everyone's head, hard. My rationale is this: Don't be hasty. Think carefully about what you want. Be sure to place it where you want it. Does it need to have a story behind it? Nope. I just love the art of tattoo. I don't need to tell a story as to why I have a piece of artwork hanging on my wall, so why would I on my skin? That said, if you want it to tell a story, by all means story tell away! That is part of the beauty of it.
Tree designed by Keith Hartman Tattooed by Jeff Messersmith in finished Spring 2008

I admit, some of my tattoos do have meaning, I chose red lotuses because they symbolize passion, love. What can I say? I am a romantic, but, just looks good on my pale skin and my husband already had pink/white lotuses. My stomach tattoo has some symbolism relating to becoming a mother. I have the word "free" hidden in one of my tattoos to remind me to stay free of a particularly strong emotional weight that I had unburdened myself with a time before I had the word tattooed. My tree has my daughter's names, and within the tree, sit 4 birds, one for each family member. What I am saying is to be careful not to get caught up worrying about the story you would tell if you were on LA Ink. Just get what you want.

Lotus Tattooed by Jeff Messersmith Designed by Keith Hartman Early Spring 2009

Find the Right artist. Jeff is great. My husband's illustrations and Jeff's strengths and preferred tattooing style go very well together. He is also really fast-which is awesome when it comes to the pain factor and my impatience.

Ask about price, but keep in mind this is an artist. You are placing artwork on your body forever. They deserve to make an excellent wage. Are they drawing something custom for you or tracing something you brought in? This all plays a part in the pricing, or at least should. In my experience tattoo artists charge based on experience. Jeff charges hourly, but some shops take a look at your art and give you a quote. If they run over they still charge you the quoted amount. In the same line of reasoning; Yes, Do tip your tattoo artist. I tip 15-20%.

Meet with the artist and make sure your personalities mesh. It's a rather intimate situation, getting tattooed. It's up close. So for me at least, it's personal. When my chest was tattooed Jeff was literally leaning on my boobs at one point or another. If you feel nervous with the person, regardless of how professional they are, the nerves you already feel about the pain and so forth will just be multiplied.
My most recent Tattoo, done this past Winter. Designed by Keith Hartman
Tattooedby Jeff Messersmith.

And what does the future hold for my skin? Well the above left arm needs filled to 3/4 to include My pin cushion, one of my late Grandma Kenderdine's thimbles, Buttons, thread. Next up will be a cupcake that has already been drawn, I just need to gather up the funds.

I hope this was helpful to read and maybe a little fun to look at. I thank you for taking the time to look and read! I'll leave you with this: Please, for the Love of all that is lovable, please do NOT call tattoos

Thank you! Have a Peachy Day All!!


PrettyCoolShops said...

awesome! I too would be covered head to toe if we could afford it 8^)
wanna see mine?

I love your sleeve! Hoping to get full sleeves someday.... someday 8^)

Blackjaw said...

Nice writing there little lady. Yes, one day you will have those 3/4 sleeves.

MJR Designs said...

I love your sleeve tattoos! I'm planning on starting a left sleeve relatively soon as a -very belated- birthday present to myself. It's going to be all Japanese motifs, divided by seasons. However, I'm still torn if I just want it all one color or going full-color.

Jen said...

Diana-Nice work! (tattoos:)
Keith-your comments always make me smile so big my dear husband.
MJR designs-full color!! :)

PrettyCoolShops said...

yes, MJR I vote full color too! i was all black work for years, but now that I have started color I love it even more!