I haven't been spending much time at home lately, so I haven't had a chance to take any pictures in weeks. These represent three sessions worth of work. As you can see, the background on the right side of my body is near completion - after one or two more sessions we'll start adding some color. The area under my armpit on the upper part of the ribs wasn't at all pleasant to tattoo, but other than that the past few sessions haven't been too bad. I'm really not looking forward to getting the background near my groin area filled in at the next session.
The last time I was at the shop one of the artists joked that my kidneys were probably turning black. I managed a nervous laugh, but only barely. I've noticed it takes me longer to heal these days. I chalk it up to age and pray all the ink building up inside me isn't taking its toll. I'd be interested to see some studies on the health effects of tattooing. Seems like most of the information out there is anecdotal, which is not surprising - it's not like scientists can just tattoo folks and see what happens in a controlled environment. I try to put my faith in the tattoo community and their collective knowledge on the matter. The artists probably know more than anyone else. I'm assuming that it's a situation similar to steroids. For many years, the body builders and locker room dealers knew more than doctors about the effects of steroids on the human body because they were out there experimenting on themselves every day while scientists were grappling with the ethical issues involved with human testing. That being said, the most common health issues associated with tattooing are transfer of blood-borne illness, infection, allergic reaction and scarring. So far, I'm pretty good on those fronts. I'm still really curious to hear about potential health issues due to extensive tattooing.
I went to the beach a few times this summer (armed with plenty of sunblock of course), and the looks I'm starting to get when I take my clothes off are pretty funny. Sometimes I forget I'm turning into a bit of a freakshow.