Q1. Where did you get your first tattoo?
A. I hesitate to answer this first one-- it goes into the
'Follies of Youth' file. I was maybe 16 or so, and it involved the
classic threaded safety pin with the India ink scenario, encouraged
all the more by forty-ouncers of malt liquor. The next tattoo was
some 6-7 years later, with an attempt to cover up the drunken
teenage. This one was also done in some guy's apartment in the East
Bay. The funny thing is that while I regret this tattoo heavily, it
gets a lot of attention because of its placement. It's a tribal-ish
dragon design that covers all eight of my fingers-- only my thumbs
are untouched. I can't blame my teen years or cheap beer on that
one. It goes into the "Seemed Like A Good Idea at the
file. I'd like to drag this answer out just a little longer to be
sure and make the point that there is a very good reason why most
(if not all) professional tattooist won't go below the wrists with
the inking. The hands are way too active and in contact with nearly
everything we do in life. I won't ever get them removed but I am
sure to use my fingers as an example of why you really need to think
carefully about what you are going to be wearing for the rest of
Q: What was going through your mind when you got your first tattoo?
A: (**Everyone's favorite expletive**) !!! -or maybe, damn, I
had no idea about the nerve endings there...
Q: Is there a meaning behind your first tattoo and what is it?
A: I think this is the last significant point I need to make behind
my regrettable first tattoo.
Since I got the dragon on my fingers back in my rock-star-wannabe
days I probably thought I was taking on some kind of symbol of
manual dexterity and empowerment, etc Years later I realize the
real meaning was simply that I used to crave a lot of attention. The
work that I've been getting more recently has such a greater sense
of poignancy and truth.
Q: What is your favorite tattoo, where is it and why?
A: My favorite piece to date is a photo-realistic design of an
actual tattoo (liner) machine that Laura did for me nearly two
months ago. It gets a lot of questions asked about it, and a lot of
compliments. I asked her to deviate only in the colors I chose for
its body and the coils. It was a trip to watch her put it down with
the same machine the image was taken from. It is on the top of
my right forearm, as I am right-handed and I have committed to
learning this craft to the best of my ability. I've found that
my apprenticeship has its unexpected perks in that I
have the opportunity to add to the work I'm wearing, as well as to
learn from Laura as she tattoos me.
Q: What advice can you give people who are looking to get ink for
the first time?
A: I would urge everyone to truly consider what is motivating them
to get tattooed, and to really strive to find the
graphic/message/iconography that will be representative for the rest
of their life. There can be no regrets if you give this decision the
respect it deserves.