Saturday, April 4, 2009

Inky and the Brain

A few years ago, I came up with The Ultimate Tattoo design (a skull, with a snake [barfing a rose] coming out of its eye socket, on fire, with a knife through it) but decided it might be construed as "aggressive" in today's economy. Various other designs have been considered, but what I really want is, like, a fucking gigantic tattoo. The walls of Jericho down my arm, or a pirate fight scene across my shoulders, or a a diagram of a cell. I'm not super interested in pretty, "girl" tattoos. I don't want a line of stars, or a line drawing of some lithe girl. Tattoos are mutilations; I want one that reflects that.

It's weird to think about tats as scarifications; it's like being freaked out by earrings. But it's true. And some ink is ugly. Ironic or joke tattoos are for assholes - you're going to have that jack-off ink until you die, bonehead. Ink that wasn't thought out makes people wonder if you're a moron (you picked that salamander out the book? How original). You shouldn't have to tell some epic saga when someone asks why you got one, but you should have a story, or a reason, or a clue.

The old-school really appeals to me: the stars on the elbows, for example. Classic! Anchors, pin-up girls, Death Before Dishonor, etc.: all good choices. Words also work. I'm a reader and a writer, and quotes (never names!) make sense. I love the colour and the aesthetic of a really beautiful piece of work, one with an old-timey feel to it. Tattoos should feel like maybe you acquired it during your stint in the merchant marines, not as the culmination of some drunken weekend with your sorority sisters. Oh, and they should be big: goofy little Kanji characters on the inside of your wrist isn't going to cut it, sister.

On the other hand, I feel like there's a lifestyle associated with the kind of tattoos I want. It's a punk-rock thing. I'm not a punk. I already wear a lot of black and have gauged ears. People already think I'm hard. (These people have never spoken to me; in reality, I'm goofy and kind of nervous.) I don't want to misrepresent myself, or seem like I'm part of culture that I'm not. It wouldn't be posing, because I genuinely like the look, but it could be construed that way.

But you know what? I don't really care. I'm not curing cancer, or defining myself by the way I change my look. It's not about that. I want an investment in something beautiful and tough.


  1. then you need to check out the work of emilie roby:

    or your meat is mine:

  2. what about "ink on the brain"?
    That whole tattoo on the face thing....
    I for one know that every decision I have made in my life must be a good one, because I never got paw prints tattoo'd on my forehead, like some sad waste of a girl in North Bay did.

  3. if you are trying to associated yourself as part of that society you should get your lingo straight.

    you have stretched ears, not gauged.

    and tattoos don't make you "hardcore." are you really serious about that? you are no better than any of those people with kanjis or whatever other stupid tattoo just because you voice that opinion. that tattoo made someone else happy and then you bring it down? now THAT'S being tough.