I have become fascinated on tattoo because it is unique and it is a true expression of oneself. Whether one prefers to have full body tattoo or just one or several pieces, each and every bit has its meaning and connection to the owner. So in contrary to common belief that tattoo is a symbol of rough, tough and harshness, maybe it is a thing in the pass and the way it was expressed. Lately, tattoo becomes more of what one wants to express or connect the drawing with, in other words, it does have a special meaning, special connection.
Then, of course, everybody is watching Miami Ink with its prominent tattoo artists like Ami, Garver, Nunez, etc.. they help to make it be seen from different angle, an angle of real expression of what it means to each individual owner. So by then, I have started to searched, rather obsessively, for various designs.
First, I liked turtle design in tribal version. It simbolizes longevity. Next design which I scrutinized was various tribal sketches, it could be wire, wave, but it could only happen in black color. Tribal design appeals to me because it is direct firm lines, but yet still softness at the end of the lines. Also I was eyeing on crawling tiger, since it relates to my Chinese birth year. I found tiger is too strong and may not be what I want. Then I went to Thailand and almost made one in a tattoo parlor in Khao San Road, Bangkok. It was ‘lamgat’ in Buddhism, it means and gives protection and security to the owner and it can only be put on the highest level of one’s body which can be tattooed. But to find the right artist, which understood Lamgat and its intricasy was not easy. The minute I found one, I doubt about its quality and hygiene.
I keep on looking in the internet, until I short-listed a couple of studios in Sydney. From the accompanying mailing list, it seems that InnerVision (www.innervisiontattoo.com.au) in Surry Hills stands out. I was still stuck with tribal design (probably with Chisaki, she is a Japanese visiting tat artist) or lamgat to be done by Thong (the Thai guy). Both were in InnerVision Studio. So I went and visited the studio back in August 2007 and tried to get myself an appointment. I did not get one, because they were already booked out and appointement can only be done 7-8weeks in advance. Well, I thought, if things were not meant to be, then it was not supposed to happen. It gave me more time to firm up on what I wanted for the design.
Then back in early January, in my last Bali trip, I got myself a yoga t-shirt with a lotus design at the back. Somehow I was very attracted to its simplicity. I searched further in the internet and never been so convinced that this is the right one. It simbolized pure, freshness, beauty. In Buddhism, lotus was the base of Siddharta Gautama’s seat for meditation. He was even born and put on a lotus petals.
Convinced and eager, I picked up a design of a tribal lotus which was readily available. A simple black-and-fuchsia colored piece. I picked Megan Oliver, as one of the senior artist in InnerVision. So the day had arrived for me to do it. I had never felt so nervous like this. Gary accompanied me, he was both curious and anxious all the way, too. Megan turned out to be a no non-sense, get-it-done, minimal chit-chat profesional artist. Her hand grip and movement was firm and very assuring. She is a legend!
After measuring and putting the stencil on my back, she asked for me to check on the mirror whether it was the right position. She then prepared the needles, inks (black and fuchsia) and all other tools. She asked me to sit very still, rather in a hunched-like position. It is not painful, it is more annoying because of the sound, she said. Then off it went… 45 minutes went by just like that and then it was ready for me to look again in the mirror. Awesome! I love every bit of it.
Afterwards, Megan explained about the after care hygiene, especially in the next 2 weeks or so. Also to forwarn me about any exercises in the gym or yoga asanas which I would likely to avoid in the next 2 weeks until the tat is set.
I am ready to get my second tattoo… and the cycle of long search begin again…
Tattoo is a signature of the soul (Cliffe Clayton, InnerVision Tattoo Studio, Sydney).