Weekend Update: Hopkins Ink Edition

Way back in October when I started my new job, I had decided that my present to myself for starting a new career would be to finally get the new tattoo I had been working on for a while. I had decided to go to the same place I had went for my first tattoo over ten years ago, Electric Dragonland. Back then, I was able to just walk in and get a tattoo, but they’ve gotten quite popular over the years, and now have a 3-4 month waiting list. Knowing this in advance, I set up my consult for December, and scheduled the appointment for March… but more on that shortly.

Friday was a typical Friday; morning meetings followed by a deluge of service tickets and walk ins. We were able to sneak out of the shop for an hour in the afternoon to check out a new space we’re probably moving in to, and since it was beautiful outside, it was a nice afternoon. I frantically juggled five or six repairs in the afternoon and somehow managed to get out of the office on time. Friday evening was fairly laid back; my wife and I watched some TV and I mentally prepared myself for Saturday.

Saturday we did some spring cleaning in preparation for a bridal shower my wife is hosting next weekend. Serious cleaning, involving things like washing walls. I also took after the massive ice drift in our driveway with a shovel in an attempt to break it up into smaller pieces so that it melted before July. Soon enough, is time to head off to the studio for my new tattoo.

I’ve had a bunch of different ideas for tattoos over the years, but one in particular has always stuck in my head; a stalk of wheat. I grew up on a farm, and a favorite memory is biking down the field road between huge fields of wheat. The idea started to gel around the time of my dad’s funeral, where another image stuck with me; his casket arrangement had stalks of wheat mixed in with the flowers. It was simple, and fitting. So about two years ago, I started thinking of ideas involving wheat for a new tattoo. I knew I wanted something made of mainly straight lines, so I started checking out some of the stained glass designs of Frank Lloyd Wright, and based on several of his designs, fired up Photoshop and drew up an idea. I was originally going to get it on the back of my arm/tricep area, but eventually decided on my leg. The idea is that while serving as something of a memorial piece for my father and grandfather, it also will remind me of where I came from, and that regardless of where I am, I’m always home, because it’s like I’m standing in a field of wheat.

When I went in for my consult with Thaddeus (who I chose because I totally dug the work he did on b33n3r), the first question I asked him was “Is this even possible?”. I’d heard that straight lines were tough for tattoo artists, and the piece is all straight lines. He said it wouldn’t be a problem, but that I would need to make the linework thicker, and that it might not look straight on the calf (since it curves). With this in mind, I set a date and made a few changes to the final design, basically thickening up the lines.

We headed out to the shop for my 5:30 appointment, and they were running a little behind, so my wife and I flipped through some of the books and I explained to her the difference in the various metals that were playing in the background.* After I signed the various wavers, we talked about the design, and after telling me about the cleaning and sterilization process of the equipment, it was time to get down to business.

After shaving my leg (which I was expecting, but not really prepared for… I have hairy legs), Thaddeus spent a good ten minutes aligning the design, and then had me lay down for the actual tattoo process. Enough time had passed since my last tattoo that I had NO idea what to expect; it turns out it’s not as painful as I had thought. The bits near the ankle and knee where more intense, but overall it felt more like getting bit by a horsefly repeatedly. It took about an hour and a half, during which time my wife asked a ton of questions about tattoos that I wouldn’t have thought of, so it was a pretty informative session. I also spent some time talking about his action figure collection, so that was pretty awesome. After we were done, I got bandaged up, and after getting an explanation about how to take care of it, we were off. We had a nice dinner at Panera, did some shopping, and headed home to enjoy the evening.

I woke up early on Sunday, took the bandages off my leg, washed off the excess ink, and took a picture:

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I’m really pleased with how it turned out; it’s exactly what I had pictured when I came up with the idea. After doing some lounging about Sunday, we got around to doing some more cleaning, and since it was such a nice day, got outside and took down the Christmas lights. That evening, we watched The Duellists, a movie about two French soldiers who spend the majority of their lives fighting a series of duals. My wife wasn’t a fan, but it’s a great film. A bit slow, but the dueling is historically accurate. And since it was Pi Day, we enjoyed some pie during the film.

* I also sent my sister, who was at a Bon Jovi concert at the time, a text telling here I was getting a tattoo. Huh… that was a very strange sentence to write.

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