My First Tattoo
This video is the beginning of my tattoo journey. Well, not actually the beginning – more of a mid-point. I got my first tattoo 20 years ago in Salt Lake City Utah. This was long enough ago that tattoos on women were kind of unusual and tattoo shops not that common – especially in Utah.
(note; I am not a Mormon -no offense to you Mormons out there- I was living in Park City Utah at the time which is technically in Utah but not of Utah if you know what I mean)
I decided to up my bad-ass factor by getting my first tattoo. My first tiny, hidden away tattoo that you could only see in a bathing suit or if I was naked. I even designed it myself 🙁
I was reading a book about running with my inner woman wolf or some other shit – you know the kind of stuff you read when you are 20 , and devised what I felt to be a pure womanly symbol of power; A ring with a leaping wolf across it. The ring would be red, of course, to symbolize blood and life and death and about 15 other things I have since forgotten and the wolf would represent ME jumping like a total bad-ass across the divide of the entire world. I drew it the size of a silver dollar and decided on below my hip bone – out of sight and unlikely to stretch with age – and then drove to Salt lake City to the first tattoo shop I could find in the phone book to get my first tattoo.
No appointment, no idea of who would work on me, no clue at all really. Just my little sketch and a red wolf dream of awesomeness. My tattoo artist was a tall skinny kid who looked like a strung out Joey Ramone and had hands that shook like the devil – I shit you not. I showed him my crappy little sketch that I had worked so hard on and just like that he copied it on my body and got to work. Half an hour later it was done. He smeared some vaseline on it and sent me packing.
I was so proud of it and showed it to everyone that asked (and many who didn’t) until enough time passed and I eventually forgot it was there. Every now and then a friend or stranger would comment on it if they saw me at the beach but less and less so as the years ticked by until one day. I was with a girlfriend getting changed and she noticed my tat. She looked at it for a moment and then asked in all sincerity, “Why do you have the Greyhound Bus logo tattooed on your hip?” Holy shit she was right! This is not the actual tattoo but basically pretty fucking close.
I was horrified! How had I not noticed it before? I learned the first rule of tattoos – never, NEVER get ink unless you are really, really happy with the design and for fuck’s sake leave the designing to the professionals! We have all seen enough “bad ink” on TV and in person to understand the wisdom of these words.
Well there was nothing left to do but get it covered. I did explore laser removal but when the chick in the lab coat started listing all the side effects – burning, scarring, metal migration, open sores etc. – not to mention the cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $1500 (the original tat cost $50) I figured I’d just cover it.
I lived way out in Northern California 3 + hours away from San Francisco and in my neck of the woods there was only one tattoo shop. Lucky for me it was Triangle Tattoo.
Triangle is an old school shop with lots of flash on the walls and several hard-working tattoo artists The stars (and owners) of the shop are Mr. G and Madame Chinchilla – curators of a completely unique tattoo museum right on the premises, and with decades of experience between them.
Madame Chinchilla even wrote a book- actually make that 4 books! You can purchase them directly from her – autographed and everything – at www.triangletattoo.com
I made an appointment with Chinchilla and she agreed to cover my regrettable tattoo with a lotus flower.