Tattoo Collecting and the One That Got Away…
So what is the difference between having tattoos and tattoo collecting? Welllll – it’s kind of subjective but there are a few things that will separate the devoted from the die hards.
A tattoo fan will – you know – go get a tattoo at a local shop. Maybe they have their heart set on a nice dream catcher or a tribal arm band. Maybe they got that panther scratching their forearm on a whim when they were waiting to get their tires rotated and the auto shop was cheek and jowl next to the tattoo shop.
A tattoo collector will spend hours (and hours) looking at tattoos online, tracking down the artists home shops, trying to locate what conventions they attend and combing their portfolios to create The Perfect Email that will make them want to tattoo you.
A tattoo fan knows that tattoos cost money. Dang some of those tattoos can cost over 200 bucks! But hey – maybe you can talk the guy down a bit if you bring in your own drawing.
A tattoo collector knows that tattoos cost a fuck ton. Like “never actually reveal to your husband how much that sleeve actually cost” fuck ton. Tattoo collectors are collecting art. Art is expensive. Top tier artists charge 150 – 250 per hour (plus tip you cheap bastards) but their work is so far and above that itmakes sense.
Drive a Prius
Drive a Bugatti?
A Bugatti cost more than a Prius.
A tattoo fan gets a tattoo when the mood strikes and it is convenient for them. Oh – there is a two-hour wait at your shop today for walk ins? Never mind – I’ll go to the shop down the road.
A tattoo collector knows that they are at the mercy of their favorite artists. You will go to their location when they say or never mind. They are that busy. Think it’s unreasonable to expect a client to drop everything and fly to your location to get tattooed? Whatever – there are 20 or 50 or 100 people who WILL do it – and you just lost your chance.
And that is my “One that got away” moment right there. I have a list of artists I very much want to work with. I know it will be expensive (it’s OK – I spend virtually NO money on clothes, shoes, jewelry, makeup or “facial adjustments” that many other women spend money on – I’m hitting middle age with a face full of well-earned laugh lines and freckles and a shit-load of tattoos, it’s my look.)
Right now my number 1 “tattoo crush” is Teresa Sharpe.
forget that she was on the cover of Tattoo Magazine . Forget that she has “celebrity tattoo artist” status. Ms. Sharpe is SO freaking talented she was already garnering major buzz way before she showed up on TV.
I just missed her on the Unkindness Art Tour with another rock star KellyDoty
(see my tragic attempt to book an appointment with Ms. Doty here) and I have been following her faithfully on Facebook , Instagram, and twitter. Then I saw it – a call out for a collector who wanted to have Teresa Sharpe and Erin Chance do a collaboration. (Not familiar with Ms. Chance? try this on for size.
Yeah. It’s the tip of the iceberg.) I swiftly emailed and pleaded my case not expecting a reply (this was probably my fifth or sixth email to Ms. Sharpe) and guess what? Teresa emailed me the next day!
Teresa asked for pics of my “location” (I don’t do selfies – so I had to make contorted attempts to photograph my hip and back in the bathroom mirror – sort of tragic) which I emailed and it all looked solid. Then with deep trepidation I asked her when the date was … July 9th. Seriously?! July 9th?! My family has a trip planned. It’s for my children. There is NO WAY I can skip my children’s summer happiness for a tattoo…is there? No. Sadly not.
And so I had to decline. No chance of a re-book – Teresa’s book is full until, I don’t know…forever. My husband – to his undying credit – told me I should just go for it if it meant that much to me. But I knew I couldn’t do that. My kids think my tattoo thing is cool. As cool as anything having to do with their mom can be anyways. But I knew if I blew off their special vacation to get a tattoo it would morph into something else for them and it would not be good.
I know it’s not much of a tragedy and I’m not seeking pity or compassion. I get it. It’s Just A Tattoo.
But that is what happens to your logic when you “jump the shark”
from tattoo fan to tattoo collecting. For now though I guess I’m still just tooling around on my water skis trying to screw up my courage. (if this analogy makes no sense to you google “jump the shark happy days”) Actually maybe that would make a bad-ass tattoo? Gotta go – I got some emailing to do.
PS – A final thank you to Ms. Sharpe who not only sent informative and professional emails but let me down with grace. One day Teresa… One Day…
PPS – Is being a collector “better” than being a fan and having lots of tattoos from different people that don’t have wait lists? NO – of course not. Tattoo World has room for all kinds of fans and enthusiasts!