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So I can't recall if I have posted any of my ink here before. To introduce myself, I'm 28 years old and I live in Ontario, Canada. I'm currently working with Wayne Galbraith on a lower leg sleeve. It's taking some time because of $$ and the fact that he lives a few hours away. But, he's about to move shops and that'll put him 45min away. So expect to see some updates in the next couple months.
(First off, sorry for not resizing the pictures. I'll do that when I get a chance, really! )
My first tattoo was a really small butterfly just above my ankle on the outside of my left leg. It was chosen from some really wickedly coloured wall flash, and then layed on my a guy with no colour skillz. Basically, after about a year, nobody could really see that it was a butterfly. It was just this blue stain on my leg. People who saw it from a distance were always asking if it was supposed to be a Playboy bunny. I forget the guy's name, but the shop was Mystic Spiral in Kingston, Ontario. And it was done in 1997.
Then, my sister and I decided to get matching tattoos. We chose a cool dragon that we saw in a tattoo magazine. Sorta Asian looking, sorta tribal looking. The artist changed the line a bit so it wouldn't be an outright copy. I got mine on my right shoulder, and she got hers on the her left. For some reason the picture I have of this tattoo has be colour-inversed, my skin isn't black, the tattoo is. The work was done by Jason at Altered Native in Orangeville, ON. I am pretty sure it was done in 1999. I don't have anywhere to link to this picture, but look at my userpic. That's it.
The third tattoo I got was from a doodle I had drawn of a dragon/gryphon. I wanted no black ink so it was done in red, orange and yellow. The artist also added some flourish around my butterfly on my ankle and laid in some yellow and white ink to try and give it some definition. It really didn't look any better in the end. And the doodle tattoo healed funny. It's really raised most of the time and it has small parts that look very keloid. The yellow ink bled out of my skin completely, no way to tell it was ever there. And I think I had a mild allergic reaction to the red. Thankfully its a small tattoo. I'll probably cover it up eventually. Although its the only tattoo I have that comes from something I've drawn. People tend to like it too (because of the absense of black ink). Sometimes people think that its henna (even though the colour is all wrong for that). It was done in North Bay. I don't remember the artist's name and I don't think the shop is still there. It was 2000 when I had the work done.
Next, I was working a short contract in Owen Sound and a friend was getting a tattoo done by Wayne Galbraith. I was very impressed with the piece. So I booked an appointment to talk to Wayne about doing something to cover up my butterfly. Now, the thing is, the butterfly was about the size of a twoonie. But after a long chat with Wayne, the piece we created was much, much bigger. Basically, I had given him a price range I felt comfortable with, and we had talked about a sort of story I'd like that tattoo to tell, and he sketched some things, and took some flash and altered it, and pieced together this really neat design. Then he went to work and about 3 hours later I had this tattoo:
I love it. That was 2002.
When I went to Thailand for the second time in the spring of 2003, I decided I wanted a souvenir tattoo. I walked around a lot of shops and just didn't feel comfortable with the work that was being done in them. It was all "off the wall flash" work, mostly black in, and in most cases the source of the ink was "home made." I got a bit discouraged. And then one day I walked passed a woman who had two gorgeous sleeves. I asked her if she'd had any work done in Thailand and she told me no, but she pointed me in the direction of a shop that she'd seen where she said she would for sure feel comfortable getting a piece done. Tattooo Sak Lai is owned by Poo and Leck New York. They use american bought ink, they have a sterile work environment, and the cost for work is almost twice what you'd pay in Khaosan Road (Backpacker's Alley), but I think its still about a fifth of what you'd pay in North America. I brought her a postcard to work from. I chose a Thai Soldier from Thai Mythology. There are a lot of characters (like a fish and monkey) that I saw on a lot of people, so I chose a really obscure character from the same drama. This solidier was once a boy who's father was killed before his eyes. He got very angry but decided to channel his anger into a positive venture and he joined the King's army. Here's a pic before the colour was added, and one after.
When I returned from Thailand I went to see Wayne again to talk about taking my leg piece and integrating it into a half leg sleeve. I described for him the image that I wanted and went away. Came back a couple months later and he'd sketched out some stuff for me. We made one or two minor changes and he went to work. This was early summer 2003.
For me, this tattoo is my favourite. It's my "politics." The shark/bomb represents progress/technology/north american agenda and the octopus is the many armed resistence. (If you count the legs you'll see that at this stage it was only a sex-tapus).
A couple months later I went back and Wayne added another piece to the back of my leg. It's a shell that he saw at the ROM and sketched. I really liked it and he was itching to tattoo it somewhere so I told him to go for it. I didn't have any idea how it would look when he started (the sketch was just pencil, no colour).
A few weeks ago I went in for a short sitting. I didn't realize when I arrived that I had the flu, but after about 2 hours of work I could tolerate no more, and by that evening the flu hit full force. We had planned to do a lot more integration between the three pieces, but what Wayne accomplised in the short time was just to add the final two legs to the octopus, extend a rock shelf out to blur the lines between the two panels, and add in a little bit of coral (that we designed based on a fractal image I found on-line).
I'll put up the pictures as soon as I have them.
So from here, I think we're going to add some more coral, some underwater flora. Not really sure exactly what else. From this point on, I'm basically leaving the direction of the piece in Wayne's hands. I trust him implictly and love his work.
I'm kind of a wimp. About 3 hours of work is my limit. So I expect that we'll have a number of additional sittings. But hopefully I'll have the cash flow over the next few months that by the end of the summer the half-sleeve will be done.
I've got some ideas for other things, a lower back piece, and perhaps some cover up/ an upper arm half sleeve for my left arm. But, who knows. All I know is that I love ink and I'll probably keep on going.
(Oh yeah, I almost forgot, I am a word in the Shelley Jackson Project too. But I won't be posting any pictures of it.)