Monday, July 23, 2007

Fresh Ink

I'm gonna beat yo ass with this dried dou fu :-).

I recently had some new work done on my forearm and it's now healed enough to look presentable, so here it is.

Sorry the picture quality isn't that great- the batteries in the camera were too low to charge the flash and I didn't have any fresh ones, but I think you can still see the picture okay. Just in case you can't tell, that's a peace dove above the rose, and two olive branches flanking the rose blossom. The rose stem has some kind of wing-like design emanating from it but it's just for show. Presently this is still a rough sketch, though maybe you can't tell by the quality of the picture. Pretty much everything has to be re-done cuz the black is kinda splotchy in parts, especially the elbow flames, and the lines aren't too sharp in several places. I like having a work in progress cuz it gives me something to think about and plan for.

Since this is primarily a tattoo blog, let me give you some facts about my experiences in Chinese tattoo parlors.

I have been to three parlors in Pingxiang, tattooed by a total of six individuals, and so far the best was a middle-aged woman with a cool fairy on her ankle. The parlors are very sketchy-looking, kinda holes in the walls of local shopping malls, but the equipment is always clean. Before coming to China, I had three tattoos done in America. Total time: 2 1/2 hours. Cost: $240 (about 1850 RMB). Subsequently I have had umpteen tattoos done here in China. Total time: approx. 45 hours. Cost: approx. 4800 RMB. I know the quality of my ink is certainly less than if I had gone to a more expensive parlor in a large city, but my personal theme of my ink is simplistic, kinda tribal (as in primitive groups of people, not the tattoo style) so I think intricate detail capabilities would be an unnecessary expense.

I'm a very thin dude so I don't have a lot of meat to cushion the tattoo needle, especially on my shoulder bones. When I was getting two particularly large tribal pieces on my shoulders, the pain on my shoulder bones was nauseating to the point of delirium. The tattoo artist saw my grimaces and offered put some medicine on my shoulders. Now don't hate- I know the pain is part of the experience and usually I can take it like a champ but this time got the best of me. I agreed to the medicine, thinking it would some soothing aloe or whatever. It was actually some kind of numbing cream, and the skin on my shoulders was completely deadened as soon as she put the stuff on. She could have hacked of my arm with a machete and I wouldn't have felt it. Of course the pain returned with a vengeance after a couple of hours and the weeks of healing later, but at that moment, it was kinda like a massage. Being given by an annoying mosquito.

I've lived in Pingxiang a total of 23 months. I have gotten tattooed in all but four of those months. I have only one more new design currently planned. The rest of my visits to the tattoo shop in the near future will be for cleanup, redos, and minor additions.

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