Since I was in my teens and decided that I wanted to be tattooed, I knew that I didn’t want to walk around with the same pieces I had seen dozens of others with. Back then (‘90s), dolphins were popular as well as the staples of old school-styled hearts with a scroll reading a name. (“Mother” anyone?)
I had some very specific pieces in mind, but as the years passed, I changed my mind. While I was at NC State University, I wanted a wolf to meld in with a fox. When I was engaged, I wanted to make a heart with my name and my now-ex’s. When I was a strong born-again Christian, I wanted Bible quotes all over me.
Well, I ended up college hopping until the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill (UNC) and that guy and I broke up 3 months before our wedding would have taken place. My religious views have changed, but I think that the quotes are still worth getting. (“Man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart.” and some quotes from Song of Solomon/Song of Songs, but I’ll put these and others in scrolls underneath certain pieces to incorporate them.)
I sat down and thought about the designs I’d like for my sleeves. They’ve changed around a bit, but as I thought more and more about the overall look I’m going for (“duality” and twindom… I’m a Gemini as well as a twin), I came to think more or what I would probably still “believe” in decades from now and what isn’t too trendy because, as we’ve seen in fashion, trends change.
I’ve started doing my own tattoos and I’ve changed the one on my thigh a few times thus far. I started out with a dot, just to say that I had a tattoo. That progressed into a heart a few weeks later, which I filled (with black ink). I thought that a black heart wasn’t the best of things to have on my thigh, so I decided I would coverup with a crow and have a dove on the other thigh. For some reason, when I was free-handing the design around the heart, it came out more childlike and simple. I decided that I’d keep that and fill it in with grey so that the heart would remain. I decided that the thigh was too much for me to handle after the outline (I had touched up a tattoo on the sole of my left foot a few minutes earlier) and I thought that I’d let it heal up and see if I wanted to make any further changes.
After a week or so, I couldn’t decided if this bird reminded me of some Care Bear bastardization or if it was a nice change to the realism I’d been working on elsewhere. I’m going to keep it unshaded for now and see what I think of it after I’ve done some more work.
I think it’s rewarding to have a unique piece. Flash (the “art” up on the walls of tattoo parlors) is common and people tend to get offended if you tell them that you’ve seen their design before, especially if you say “yeah, Cherry Creek is a really popular brand” or that you’ve seen 3 other people with the exact same design. If you don’t believe that other people have the same tattoo, try searching for “pegasus” on BMEzine.com
I have the added factor of having done my other tattoos by myself, but I would NOT suggest this for most people. I have been training for a career in the BodMod (body modification) field and have been using sterile and professonal equipment. I’ve seen people use pin pricking with india ink and a sewing needle and the results aren’t pretty. I’m trying to find a new apprenticeship since I moved, so wish me luck!