I’ve been trying to think about when I first started wanting tattoos. I knew about tattoos when I was little (Popeye, duh), but I don’t think I seriously considered what it would be like to have a tattoo until I knew someone who got one.
I’m not sure, but I think the first person who I knew who got a tattoo was a guy named Mike Fitzgerald. This was probably around 1990 or so (I would have been about 16). It was of a crescent man-in-the-moon face in a circle with squiggly black sun rays radiating from it (or did the circle and rays come later?). I remember talking to him about the pain, how the guy messed it up but was going to fix it later, how much it cost, etc. In retrospect, it sounds like he had a pretty typical first tattoo experience. I was fascinated by Mike’s tattoo, and really wanted one, too, but at the time I couldn’t imagine spending $50 or whatever on ANYTHING, let alone something that I was worried I would regret for the rest of my life.
Pretty soon I went to college and became thoroughly entrenched in the punk scene in St. Louis (and beyond), and it seemed like everyone was getting inked, whether it was at a “parlor”, at a party with a homemade “gun” made out of a Walkman motor, or scratched out in a dorm room with a needle dipped in ink from a Bic pen. Even in the middle of all of that, I still couldn’t decide on anything that would be worth committing to or spending money on. At least that’s what I told people; I think I was mostly just scared to do it.
Drawing fake tattoos, on the other hand, was much easier! They could be huge, scary, cool, and/or completely stupid, and even if you drew them with a Sharpie, they’d eventually be gone! You could have a new one every time you played a show!
I can think of half a dozen instances off the top of my head of my friends and I going out in public with crudely scrawled marker tattoos. Pictured here is me “singing” with my band at the time, The Meat Sisters, at a DIY punk show in Springfield, MO in some unused office space, in summer of 1993. The fake tattoo on my arm is a chunky circle-A anarchy symbol flanked by two skulls with mohawks, accompanied by the text “HARD CORE”. On my leg is the burning wheel logo of Krishnacore band Shelter, with the message “KRISHNA RULES”. Both were supposed to be ironic: the skulls, mohawks, anarchy symbols, etc., being total punk clichés, and “religious punk” being a bit of an oxymoron, at least as far as I was concerned.
I still think the “hard core” design, which I originally drew for the label of the B-side of the Meat Sisters 7″ EP “Undermining America’s Traditional Values” (Synergy Records), would make a kick-ass tattoo… But I’m still not hard core enough to get it.
Those of you who actually visit InkNerd.com may have noticed a new feature: the twitter feed. If anyone who doesn’t bother to come to the site is interested in following me on twitter, you can find me here: http://twitter.com/inknerd (I promise to tweet about geek tattoos in addition to the standard personal mundanities).
Mostly I’ve added this bit in an attempt to quickly put some new content on the site when I don’t have time to craft a real post (which is most of the time these days), but it’s also a learning experiment for me: I’m kinda trying to figure out what twitter is all about.
I know, I know, I’m way behind. When it first emerged, I thought “micro-blogging” was a collossal waste of time, but I have gotten used to following the brief snippets of my friends lives on Facebook via their status updates; it is entertaining, and makes me feel closer to those I follow.
And I do love the fact that I can text to twitter from my phone and the tweet will show up on this site, on twitter, in the feed reader of anyone who is following me, and on Facebook (well, it would, if Ink Nerd was on FB). Now, if I could combine all my accounts into one, that would be great!
If any of you are tweeting on a regular basis, holla back! I’m looking for friends to follow…
After sitting next to me at work for 3+ years, I’m surprised that Sasha didn’t know I was into fossils. This trilobite is my prized possession, fossil-wise, paired with a really nice tattoo I found in modify_evolution’s flickr photostream (gotta keep it on-theme, right?):
I found it in an abandoned quarry in the bluffs in Alton, Illinois, just a few miles outside of my hometown of St. Louis (and across the Mississippi) when I was about 9 years old. My friend Ezra had just found an excellent trilobite fossil near there the weekend before, and I begged my dad to take me (and Ezra) to the same spot to look for more. I didn’t have much hope that I’d find one as nice as Ezra’s, but sure enough, I picked this one out of the gravel. I’m sure my dad was relieved that I found something; he had been ready to go home for quite a while..
The photos after the jump will give you a better indication of scale…