Painted into a Corner

I’m finally home from my two day road trip. Four hundred twenty one miles in just under 36 hours, from Philadelphia to Bradley Beach New Jersey and then down to the D.C. area. I decided to do it all in one round; after my appointment with Robert Ryan at Electric I headed directly to the D.C. area, stopping at a Holiday Inn just outside of the city and recovering for the night.

Robert tattooed a few hours worth of Devil head in my left armpit. I’d been dreading it, but despite my fears it ended up not being as terrible as I’d imagined. Certainly not fun and absolutely something I’ll not be doing again any time soon, but by no means unbearable. I had every intention of documenting the tattoo; even packing up my Kodak HD and making sure it was fully charged. But by the time I got there and got into the rhythm of getting tattooed it totally slipped my mind. Robert and I even joked about spoofing Miami/LA/NY Inked by doing a touching video where I admit my interest in Satan came from my dead Grandfather. Still never managed to unpack the camera.

Being tattooed by Robert is a pleasure. As I’ve said before, he’s a combination of humility and humor; someone who appreciates a good story as much as he’s able to share one. I appreciate his willingness to tattoo a pretty horrible piece of real estate. Can’t be pleasant to have your hands in someone’s armpits for a few hours.

I’m sorry I have nothing to share, image wise. We didn’t bother taking pictures of the tattoo. After a few hours in the armpit my skin was swollen, already bruising and the texture of corduroy. Once it settles down I’ll try to snap a decent photograph of it.

From New Jersey I headed to Greenbelt, MD. The hotel was serviceable, very much suited for my needs. Despite being bandaged and taped (my normal method of healing starts with a hot shower and leaving it alone) I wasn’t in too much pain, so I headed back out for a late dinner. Following David Bruehl’s advice on post tattoo nutrition, I amped up my protein intake in the form of a large steak with a side of steamed vegetables and a full night’s sleep.

I had originally intended to return to Philly after visiting Robert and then head to Tattoo Paradise the following morning. My ignorance of D.C. driving conditions would have totally screwed us; it took an hour and forty five minutes to travel the sixteen miles from Holiday Inn to Paradise. Constant construction and aggressive drivers led to a hellish commute. I was glad to have made it after a full night’s rest instead of rushing to get there from home.

Shortly after arriving I met Deno; which like meeting Robert last month is atypical of my standard tattoo experience. Getting tattooed, particularly in a tender spot like the inner thigh, is stressful enough without having to ‘get to know’ the person who’s contact screw is half an inch from your crotch. Luckily Deno couldn’t have been nicer, and was able to translate my fairly loose idea into a workable tattoo. The other artists at the shop helped distract me from the discomfort (which, like the armpit, wasn’t as bad as I’d thought it was going to be) and before I knew it, we were bandaging everything up and saying our goodbyes.

After a quick dinner with my old friend Alyssa and her fella we hit the road and made it back to Philly in decent enough time.

Getting two fairly intense pieces that close together is something I’d normally try and avoid, but I was thrilled to spend some time with Robert and Deno; totally worth it in the long run. Next up is an August 3rd appointment with Thomas Hooper for more on my palm/inner fingers… apparently I never learn.

Woe is Me

Baphomet tattoo by Robert Ryan; Electric Tattoo NJ

Next week is going to be a rough one for me- I’m going to be getting my armpit tattooed by Robert Ryan on Monday and then driving down to D.C. for some inner thigh action from Madrid’s Deno. Two relatively terrible spots, but I’m sure the finished pieces will more than justify all the whining I’ve been doing since the appointments were confirmed. I’d normally never get tattooed two days in a row, but I’ve really been feeling blue lately and I think that shocking my system will be a good remedy. I’m considering making a little video blog entry next week, we’ll see how everything goes.

Tattoo by Deno, Circus Tattoo Madrid