Saturday, May 29, 2010

Today marks the six year anniversary since I embarked on my Japanese tattoo adventure. Wow, time flies! A lot has changed since then. When I started, Shinji was working at the since shuttered 55 Tattoo studio on West 19th Street. After the last 4 1/2 successful years at New York Adorned (during which the fabulous Brooklyn location was opened), I'm very happy to say Shinji is now on the verge of owning his own private studio! Congratulations, Shinji - I'm so happy for you!

Let's break down some numbers:

  • 5 full years of tattooing
  • ~190 hours of tattoo time (that's about 1 2hr session every 3 weeks)
  • 2 book appearances and 2 magazine appearances (and featured in all sorts of Adorned material)
  • 1,000,000 bottles of ointments and creams

One number people are always asking about is money spent. I won't give a figure, but I will say that my initial estimate of 20K-30K turned out to be quite accurate.
Here's a shot of me after my first 2 hour session on 5/29/2004 from Ye Olde Blog archives, with the three tattoos I since covered up still visible:

This morning I was looking over my very first blog post, in which I wrote "To me this is a work about strength, perseverance and transformation." How did I do on those? Yes, I persevered. Am I stronger? Well, I guess I am more confident in my strengths after the aforementioned perseverance. Have I been transformed? Yes - but only to look at ;).

Some things I learned:

  • Don't consider undertaking such a tattoo unless time and money are no object.
  • Respect your tattoo artist and their craft.   Treat him or her like a professional and an artist.
  • Be ready for pointed questions and stares.  I can be aloof by nature so this is still a tough one for me.
  • Japanese tattoo was an entry point for me into the world of Japanese art and culture in general,  which has been tremendous.
  • There is a vibrant tattoo community out there which is worth exploring.  The artists can be fiercely competitive but I also sense a common bond and mutual respect/admiration among peers.  Those of us who enjoy receiving tattoos are in it for as many reasons as there are people, but at the end of the day the is an understanding through shared experience and art.

I'm not sure why I started blogging about this.  Hopefully this has provided some sort of useful information to someone out there and is not a worthless journey to the center of my ego.  There have been some great people that were connected to me via this blog, and for that, I'm thankful.

Now lets see if I can get this finished in the next year!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Just got back from the NYC tattoo convention. A few artists that caught my eye: Jess Yen, Boris Tattoo, Dan Henk, Noon, and Horitoyo. Oh, and "hi" Dmitri! Nice meeting you.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Here's a great article with tons of old school Japanese tattoo pictures and some wonderful insights from artist Horihide.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

The background on my left side is moving along nicely, slowly approaching my waist from both ends. Definitely feeling some dread about today's session! (I whine a lot, right?)
In other news, I recently discovered Google thinks I'm some sort of authority on "munewari" tattoos. Ah, those foolish, foolish algorithms.