Ink Envy

Two years back, I boarded the Queen Mary in Long Beach for the ship's second annual tattoo festival. I was a fledging reporter for USC's Daily Trojan and attending the skinfest was a quick n' dirty way to get a clip. But I had an ulterior motive: I was going shopping.

Six months prior, I had one of my favorite San Francisco-based artists draw up a design that had been floating around my head for quite some time. My own personal coat-of-arms. I'd been browsing local tattoo artists' web pages since then, looking for someone worthy of immortalizing the piece on my backside.

The tat con was perfect. Some 180 artists would be there, I was told. I had my eye on Marco Bratt from the Netherlands, who had an amazing portfolio and book to his name.

My ex-boyfriend was not tickled with this inking idea. "Tattoos on your girlfriend...that's like putting stickers on a Ferrari. You just don't do it," he'd huffed.

"And you'll never see it on your back, but I will every time you flip over. How's that for not fair?"

Well, he won, even after we'd had that my-back-my-right argument.

Bratt, and every other artist I'd shown my design to had shaken their heads and said 'Naw, too intricate. I'd have to blow it up.'

Meaning, my thumb-to-pinkie sized image would morph into a monstrous mural. And ink of such proportions...can cost some serious green. Not the kind of cash your average student loan-strapped kid can shell out spontaneously.

Fast forward two years, I'm at the same convention (now bigger than ever) with staffer LYT. "You getting inked?" he asks as we take in the sights.

Alas, the journalist's salary isn't too far off from the student's. And though Mr. Ferrari Stickers is long gone, we're still dating the anti-tat armada.

+++

It wasn't a total loss: managed to take some pretty neat shots. Check them out over here.

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