Q1. Describe each
of your tattoos, where they are, who
done by ( you may include shop name and link if available)
and what they symbolize to you if any.
A. I have a full-color leg wrap on my
right-starting at the outside ankle, going around behind my calf, up and over my knee and
ending at my hip---all flowers, with a bird, butterflies, a bee, a yellow jacket, and a
dragon being born from an orchid. I have a black and gray full backpiece of a tropical
rainforest-with a bigger-than-life hummingbird, praying mantis, fuchsias (a
kind of flower), frog, and orchids, all with a waterfall in the background, a stone wall
and kanji (meaning "fighting spirit") on the top and surrounded by leaves of
different sizes and shapes. I have a piece that goes from my side and wraps around my left
side on my ribs under my breast, then up and into my cleavage, curling back over the top
of my left breast-color magnolia flowers, aquilegias, and a small hummingbird. On my left
hip I have a Chinese fan in color (with a water color effect) with some kanji in red on
top of it. I have a have a half-sleeve on my left arm of tiger lilies and cattails in
smoke (color-tiger face in the flowers, and tiger tails) (my way of being witty! :) ) and
I have a half-sleeve on my right arm of a green man and goddesses in black and gray; this
piece is in progress.
All of my tats reflect my love and respect for nature, and kind of symbolizes my
spirituality--especially the green man and the goddesses-the green man is the Spirit of
the Oak, Protector of the forests, and mate to Mother Nature-and the goddesses ARE Mother
Nature/Gaia. In addition, a lot of my work was done at a time I was dealing with early
childhood sex abuse, and I can trace my recovery from that abuse through my tats-the
dragon on my right hip is a symbolic protector, done at the time I was working through the
worst of that abuse. And my tats tell all about me---I am a greenhouse grower of
houseplants and outdoor bedding plants, and an avid gardener and birdwatcher. My first tat
was done down in Wildwood NJ, at 34th Street Tattoo on the boardwalk; the rest of my work
is done by Trip, at The InkWell, on Street Road in Southampton PA. A huge selection of
body jewelry at The Backroom <----this link will take you to Trip's website (where
more of the tats done in his shop can be seen)
Also---(how could I forget???) I took a 3rd place for my back in 1998 at Inkin the
Valley (Wilkes Barre), and 3rd place Small Black and Gray (the Green Man) and 3rd place
Overall Female in 1998 at the Meeting of the Marked (Pittsburgh).
The Orlando convention was a lot of fun; I won 2nd Place for my wrap - around. I also got
a piece by Judy Parker-done in a style totally unlike anything else on my bod-a
whimsical-style cat with many tails surrounding him, a serene smile, and holding a tattoo
machine!!! He is sitting in a lotus flower and it has a smoky effect to it. I just love
Q2. What was going through your mind when
you got your
first tattoo and how did you react weeks after it was
on your body?
A. The only thing going through my mind was
how much it hurt---it turns out that the guy who did my 1st tat was extremely heavy
handed. And weeks later I still loved my 1st tattoo.
Q3. How do you choose your artists and your
A. My first tat I got from a Tattooist
working in Wildwood NJ on the boardwalk---I had decided that I was going to be tattooed on
vacation---and that place was the only one around. I had a basic idea of what I wanted,
chose some flash and the guy modified it for me. As for the rest---now I know what to look
for, in terms of compatible art styles (I only have work done by Trip at this point,
except for my 1st piece, though I do have another artist lined up for another piece to
complement the piece on my chest); and my work is inspired by nature-
Q4. How many tattoos are too many?.
A. For me---the number is nonexistent.
Q5. What advise can you give people who are
get ink for the first time?
A. 1) Don't settle for flash designs, unless
the design is REALLY what you want-most pieces of flash can be easily customized to give
you exactly what you want.
2) You get what you pay for. Don't expect quality work for bargain prices; and don't
settle for something less than what you want because it is all you can afford. If you
cannot afford it now, save your pennies until you can afford it. The cost of quality work
is worth the price--after all, the work is going to be on your body forever.
3) Choose an artist and shop where you feel comfortable. It is never appropriate to
require women to half-undress for a tat---unless the tat is being placed in a spot needing
that type of exposure. (There are shops that treat women well and that do not allow their
male customers, or employees
for that matter, to act like jerks to their female customers.)
4) Don't be afraid to ask questions!!! If you can't get an answer that satisfies you, ask
again. If the artist doesn't/won't answer to your satisfaction, go to another shop!!!
5) Don't approach getting your 1st tattoo thinking, "Well, I can always get it
removed or covered up if I don't like it." That is kind-of like going into marriage
thinking you can always divorce if it doesn't work out. If you are thinking of removal
before getting it done, then you should probably wait a bit to get it.
6) take your time picking your design---the shop will be there tomorrow and the day after.
7) When someone (especially a young person-17 or so) asks, I always suggest avoiding
popular figures (such as Taz, Tweety, Red Dog, etc.). While you may love it today, the
odds are good that you will NOT love it in a year or so.........and if you do get a trendy
character, try to put it on an easily covered part of the body.
8)***********VERY IMPORTANT*************** Enjoy the "WOW!!! I just got my first
tattoo" feeling when you're done---you SHOULD be proud (it takes a lot of guts to sit
down for your first tat), and this is the only time you will get that unique feeling!
9) Caution!!!!!!!!!!! If you have even a slightly addictive personality, you WILL become
addicted to getting tats!!! (though I cannot think of a better legal addiction to have!)
10) next-to-last---be aware that you will need to protect your new work from the elements;
I would not get another tat while on vacation---I was at the NJ shore and had to keep my
1st piece covered (leading to a weird untanned spot on my leg) and I could not go in the
ocean after it was done. And to go with that thought---
12) last---plan on using lots of sunblock once your piece is healed---I often say I should
buy stock in the companies that make sunscreens! You want to the sunblock to keep your ink
from fading from the UV.
Q6. If you received a piece you were not
would you go back to the same artist and let him/her
know or just move on and get it modified / covered.
A. I would not go back to the person who did
the only tat I have that I am not crazy about---that tat is my first one and as such has a
special meaning to me. So even though there are things I do not like about it I will not
cover or change it.
Q7. When you walk into a tattoo shop what do
the most important thing an artist can do for a customer?
A. Putting the customer at
ease, and maintaining a friendly shop, are most important-if a customer feels intimidated,
or feels stupid if they ask questions, then they will never be more than a potential
customer---because they will leave and not come back.
Q8. Do you thing the cleanliness of a shop
an artists work?
A. Absolutely-If the shop is clean, the odds
are good that some other less-obvious practices are followed---such as using methods to
stop cross-contamination, proper sterilization techniques, and the artists' commitment to
doing the best work s/he is capable of doing. (If you are particular about cleanliness,
chances are good you are that way about other
aspects of your work)
Q9. Do you put a price limit on the work you
receive and if so how high will you go?
A. Not really-a lot of my work is BIG, so
the pieces are done in steps, I schedule appointments when I can afford them.
Q10. Do you have any work in progress and or
specific work in your near future?
A. My right half-sleeve is in progress-the
goddesses hair and some stained glass form a kind of frame that needs filling (I am
thinking of a small machine piece-my tribute to the artists' tool-and a reference to
piercing); the stained glass needs to colored in; and the top needs to finished off. Will
also be getting a piece that goes from my cleavage and curls up/around my right breast
with a small poison dart frog in it.....although this a just a thought right now.........
I also plan to get a wolf spider tat on the place on my arm where I was bitten by one-this
is my way of dealing with my fear of spiders.