I guess my brain has rebooted itself, because suddenly I found myself writing again, and I really like it. Not that I haven’t been doing some writing during this year, but it was all for different purposes, like the JAZZin.lv magazine, which you should totally check out BTW. And although first I planned this blog to be about my working experiences solely, I’ve decided that I’m not sticking with that concept, because there are other things I wish to share my thoughts about. Like, for example, tattoos. Because I have some and it has never been a secret, but until a couple of years ago everything connected to tattoos in my life was sporadic and, honestly, just lame. Like my first tattoo, which I got in 2003 while still in school. At that time the tattoo culture was only starting to invade our country (I think, correct me if I’m wrong), we didn’t have a lot of parlors in the city and for most people, tattoos were associated with jail. But suddenly every girl and every boy decided to have something drawn on the skin for life and it was usually b/w and mostly swirls, something tribal, there was not a lot of imagination put into creating a piece of art. Now we have more tattoo studios than dentist offices in our small town of 700k people. Due to Instagram we suddenly got access to this huge world of design, different techniques, more color, more concept and now almost every person I know has at least one tattoo. I have 3 and one of them is a coverup.
So, my first tattoo, year 2003. It all happened somewhat unexpected. I was in my 12th grade, the last year of school, I remember noticing tattoos on the shoulder blades and lower backs of some girls and then suddenly half of my class was talking about also getting one. I didn’t want to be left out, so I joined the discussion and then I found myself on the doorstep of some basement with no sign, it was just a basement, and in my hands there was a huge bottle of sparkling water, because the artist was hungover and had asked me to bring along some hydration. I walk in, and there he is, hungover, not very neat dude with shaking hands…
But I’m not a chicken, I’m not backing down! So I sit in a chair, take the sketch journal and start thinking about which tattoo I want and where. Yess, that’s right, I went to get a tattoo without knowing what I wanted and where I wanted it. The only thing I knew at that point is that I needed to choose a place on my body where my parents will not notice it. Oh, and I had a goal – to be cool. So there I was, in a freaking basement, holding a journal with a hundred different swirls and tribal butterflies and I didn’t want that. What did I decide to get? A scorpio, ladies and gentleman, a scorpio. Because why? That’s right, because my zodiac sign is a scorpio. I chose a spot between my shoulder blades, right on the spine and there was that. I remember sitting in that freaking chair, chewing the plastic (I actually broke a chair with my teeth, literally bit a piece of plastic out of it…), almost crying because of how much it hurt (some lone tears were shed, let’s be honest), while the dude just kept drilling the tattoo gun into my skin, and I didn’t like it a single bit. There was no satisfaction in getting a tattoo, but there was a sense of pride, because now I’m one of the cool kids. Yeah, I was 18 and still that insecure. But oh well…
My next tattoo was a dandelion. Not an ordinary one, but the one used as a logo for my band. That decision was conscious, I was starting to dig the idea of tattoos more and more, but I decided that starting from now, every tattoo should have a story behind it. This one does – it’s a dedication to the band that made me choose music as a profession. Since all of my childhood I’ve been running from music, not towards it, it took me a while to realise, what my real passion in life is. I had my reasons to not want to do music, but in the end it was just a matter of choosing the right one to dedicate your time to. So, after sharing my dream of immortalising this band on my skin forever and ever, my friend made me a birthday present – a voucher for the tattoo. Just FYI, tattoos in Latvia do not cost that expensive, you don’t need to sell a kidney in order to get one. That one also was pretty painful, it’s low on my stomach, on the right side, the skin there is thinner, so it was challenging, but totally worth it.
My third tattoo was less conscious, that the second one, so I guess I took a step backwards from my original plan. I have 7 stars behind my left ear, but in the beginning there were only 3. I got those together with a friend, we had matching tattoos, we wanted to make a tribute to our friendship (adult thinking, yo). Why did we choose stars? I don’t remember. Why 3? I have no idea. I know that it didn’t hurt, but the sound was excruciatingly annoying. Then, after a while, I took a look at a picture and decided that 3 stars look lonely and added 4 more. Now I have 7 stars behind my ear. Every time someone asks me – why do I have 7 stars tattooed on me, I have no answer. So the only explanation can be – a temporary lack of judgement. At least it’s not a name of some ex who I’m not seeing anymore or something, that would be just pathetic.
Now the last one is something else. For a couple of years now I’ve been admiring the masterpieces the tattoos have become. The ocean of color and ideas is so vast, that the longing to just dive in kept growing and growing until I took a look at a picture of my first tattoo and decided that it’s time to make something beautiful of it, to turn it into something I will not be ashamed of, that I will wear proudly. I’ve searched all through Instagram and Pinterest, tried to find something that would resonate with me, and I did – flowers, nothing super original or out of the box, I know, but I decided that it’s what I want. Flowers are beautiful, colorful and gentle. And I also chose peonies, just because I like them.
Then I started looking for the right artist, and that was a struggle. I wrote to several studios, some never answered me, some rejected me, because they didn’t want to do a coverup job. But then my searches had resulted in finding an artist one town over – a small studio “Tattoo Bakery” owned by an artist Olga Kalinina. We started conversing through emails, I described her what I wanted, she made some suggestions, we discussed some more and after a while we set up a date. I arrived at the studio, we spent some more time on the design, finally came to the consensus and started working.
Now let me tell you one thing – if you have the chance to choose, don’t go having tattoos when you’re sleep deprived (that night I slept only 2 hours or so) and when it’s hell hot outside. To my shame I realised that I will not be able to handle all the tattoo made during the first session, I felt dizzy and almost gave back everything I had for lunch that day. So we did one third of the design and I went home. I returned after two weeks having had more sleep and with a pack of painkillers (that didn’t really help), outside was still too hot for any decent existence, and still we didn’t finish. So, it took me 3 sessions to get my scorpio covered up, but I’m very pleased with the result. The mistake of my foolish youth is finally buried under the petals of some fine peonies and I’m actually planning to expand the tattoo, to add more flowers, some more greens and maybe even getting another one somewhere else. I decided that I like color, that I like watercolor technique and I just like looking in the mirror now and admiring the fine job Olga did. So here’s a close up of the awesome thing I now have, the picture, as usual, by my one and only.