Wednesday, February 07, 2007

you must be of age and sober

i parked a block away from 38th and locked the prelude up tight. not far away, signs declared "one hour parking only, violators will be towed." i was definitely going to be longer than an hour, and wasn't going to be able to just leap up and move my car.

the door was still locked. despite my earliness, another patron awaits the noon hour, hands deep in coat pockets, shoulders hunched.

"odd, it's not cold." i think to myself, and decide that he's probably hunched up against his own nerves.

the door opens, and i walk into the waiting area. one of the other artists asks me if i am scott's twelve o'clock, and i nod.

"i'll let him know you're here."


i gaze at pin-ups on the wall, a faint hint of patchoolie and other incense vague in the air. after a few moments, scott comes out with my original drawing, lays it out on the counter, and says, "ok, here's what i have on this so far--pretty much nothin'."

i laugh.

"--cause i've been through all our maxims and stuff and i can't find any pictures that are similar to what you have going on here. so here's what i think we'll do, we've got six hours, we'll sit down and see if we can find anything that will give us a good starting point for our drawing, ok?"

"sounds good to me."

we sit on comfortable 60's waiting-room furniture, and pull out a stack of magazines. as i begin leafing through, scott asks the dread-locked artist with the down-eastah accent if they have any playboys or hustler (my original drawing came from two hustler girls, but due to how they are standing, it throws their balance off for a full back piece.)

a large box is produced, and we weed through old issues of ink and tattoo to locate a small handful of playboys.

we spend about an hour leafing slowly through the magazines, and the other artists even breifly displays his prized collection of big black butts, but despite the occasional "mm mm mmmm, check her out." we are no closer to having a launching-pad for the drawing that will become the piece of art that is to be etched into my skin.

we drive to the other store, where scott is sure he has some penthouse and hustler. we take a momentary break so that he can show me the bass he made from scratch, and tear out an add for a gay phone-sex line to pin onto the youngest artist's bulletin board.

"how about this one?"

"well, it would be ok, except the lettering across their lower bodies."

"shit, the blonde has her hands down the brunette's panties anyhow. maybe a bit less erotic and a bit too x-rated for what i'm going for."

"oh, hey, here's this."

scott has found one of his boris vallejo books. vallejo's art was the inspiration initially for my angel girl/devil girl design in the first place, and scott had picked up on that right away, and had said he wanted a vallejo style picture and effect for the final product.

i flip through the book, and there it is: siren song. i tap the page, rattatat, with my index finger.

"that's the one."

"yeah," scott says, "yeah. we could make this one more normal and get rid of all that demonic shit."

"right. and throw angel's wings on the blonde and devil's wings on the dark one."

"let's go."

off to kinko's for color copies, and we both agree that reversed is how we want the pic to be (i've no idea why i have always pictured the angel girl on my right side and the devil girl on my left, but in every incarnation of the original tattoo sketches, that is how it has always been.)

back to the parlor to draw it up, adjust the scales, claws, and web-fingers of the siren, and place wings on the two, and then back to kinko's to print out the full-size final product: a collaborative effort betwixt mr. vallejo, myself, and scott.

then down on the table.

i have a few tattoos. i wasn't overly concerned about the pain.

i should have been.

"sorry about that."


"i'm trying not to tense up or move, but my muscles seem to have a mind of their own."

"it's hard."

no kidding. most spots were on the same level as any other tattoo i have ever had. even the spine, which i had heard was one of the worst, only made my skull vibrate. but the muscles along the spine? oh my ever-loving god! and there was nothing i could do about the tensing each time he touched them with the needle, except be tense already when he would start.

and the absolute worst was one of the girl's feet, which trails down my hip-bone to the top of the buttock. i crushed my face into my hands, grimaced, and tried to tell if anyone was laughing at me behind my back.

after two-and-a-half hours, the outline is done. it is incredible in it's beauty, even more incredible at the hint of how involved it will be when done.

when i arrive home, my wife, who has always seemed skeptical about my latest and greatest "project", says, "ok, let me see it."

"now, you should know," i say, while unbuttoning my shirt, "there aren't any real hardlines in it, it is going to be less like a drawing and more like a painting, so the lines are sorta faint."

"oh my god, honey!" she says. i crane my neck, sore from the odd position and tensing for upwards of two hours, over my shoulder to judge her reaction.

she is on the fence no more.

"look at the detail. oh my god, give me your phone, i want to send a pic of it to some people."

as she takes a photo on my cell phone and sends it out to friends, she continues to stare at the baseline for my tattoo, eyes wide, mouth open in awe.

i am pleased.

the rest of the evening i receive text replies ranging from "that is gonna be hot!" to "daaaaaaaaaaaaamn dude." i don't even know how many people my wife, in her new-found fervor, has sent pictures to. i laugh as the replies keep rolling in.

the image is far from finished. lord knows how many more appointments i will need to complete the coloring and shading, and there is no telling the amount of ache that each one will bring.

but it is going to be worth each and every bit.

darth sardonic



Blogger Krissie said...

Is it finished?
Will you post a picture of it?
Yeah, I'm intrigued now...

9:11 AM  

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