Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The reveal

About 8 weeks ago I was a bit bored and randomly started wondering if any tattoo artists are capable of making a tattoo look like Indian-inspired henna --- only permanent. I did a few google image searches and was brought to the image of an absolutely fabulous tattoo that looked like it could be henna. I looked around the flickr site that was associated with the image and one thing led to another…. I was soon at the website of The Tattoo Factory in Chicago where the tattoo artist who made the amazing design works. Strange that she would be in Chicago… Then I read a bit about her and found out that she was voted #1 in Chicago for 2008… Even better. So then I thought about it for a day or so and decided that it could be the perfect time to get inked! I’m turning 30 soon and all that jazz. Plus, I had some henna done while I was in India and I didn’t want it to disappear. There was a particular peacock segment that struck my fancy and I kept staring at it, not wanting it to fade.


I emailed the parlor and within 10 minutes, had an email from Dawn, the tattoo artist. As she’s #1 in all of Chicago, she books far in advance so I made an appointment for June 28th. I knew that I could always change my mind, but honestly, in those 8 weeks, the only issue I had was trying to talk myself out of where I wanted the tattoo placed – the foot. I was thinking that I should pick somewhere less conspicuous… But what would that be? Basically my lower back or my stomach. As I don’t show off either of those areas very much, I was not too thrilled. Plus I couldn’t picture a henna design in either place. I read and read and read all that I could about foot tattoos – healing times, difficulties, pain. It’s a place on the body that some artists refuse to tattoo because of the discomfort as well as getting it “just right.” I knew that Dawn could do it, though, as I had seen some of her other amazing works. Plus, I decided that if I’m going to sit through the pain, I want it where people can see it and also, it was my vision and getting it somewhere else would be quite disappointing in the end.


I committed. I also managed to get Ken to decide to get a tat as well.


And then I waited. And waited. I ordered Topless Sandals and canceled my gym membership for the month of July.


The weekend finally got here and I was kept occupied with numerous parties and times with friends. We managed to score a place to stay for the weekend and I chatted with some friends who have foot tattoos to see about the logistics. One of the parties we attended was literally sharing a wall with the tattoo parlor (ironic). We chatted with a guy named Hank outside at 10 p.m. on the night before the big day. He really put things into perspective and calmed our fears. He said that human nature is to shirk from pain, not to push yourself to do something that inflicts pain, which is why it can be altering and so important (and addictive).


On Sunday morning, we ate a large breakfast at Kitsch’n and I stored up energy with chocolate chip/banana pancakes. We got to the parlor supremely early and despite being in Uptown, there was nothing to do except visit Aldi or open a cash account.


In the days leading up to going to get the work done, I started getting nervous more about the pain than anything. I have seriously bony feet! But also a very large canvas to work on….


Ken went first at the parlor and was quickly in the chair and getting a permanent quote on his shoulder blade – “i tramp a perpetual journey”… He was very honest with me as I started to settle into my chair that it does hurt. That it does not feel pleasant. And I think he was a bit worried about the outcome of my decision.


Meanwhile, Dawn began to prep the area and had printed out a couple of photos from the internet that I had passed on to her. And then she started drawing. I soon had a lovely, lovely, lovely paisley peacock on my foot. Larger than I had originally planned on, but I told her I wanted detail and not a big black blob on my foot. I fell in love with the design immediately and told her to go ahead with it without any changes. While she started, I began to get really nervous about the pain factor as just drawing with the pen was hurting a bit! But we proceeded and after the first few minutes where my foot kept twitching involuntarily, I got my hip in the right placement and we rolled on through. One hour later and numerous visits from Ken to check my well-being, I stepped out of the chair with the most perfect tattoo that I could have ever imagined!


Dawn is truly talented. And although she probably wasn’t too thrilled with my nervous chatter she gave me a sucker at the end for being a “good girl” on my first tattoo.


And did it hurt? Heck yes. It did not feel good, especially at certain bony points. But was it going to make me cry or meltdown? No. Could I sit through it for a 4 hour piece? Probably not.


I’m so pleased! And those Topless Sandals stuck to my feet from 3 p.m. – 2 a.m. without budging. In fact, I’m wearing them now. I show people my ink and they say, “Awesome! But, what is the deal with those SHOES?! Those are crazy!!!!”


shugerhugger said...

No crying? That's moxie, baby!

Juhi R said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Juhi R said...

Rach! I learn so much from you! topless sandals?!? never thot I'd hear of such a thing!

and your tattoo came out so well!! I am so happy for
a) you, and
b) its reference to India.

just curious - how much did you pay for it? and did she make you sign a contract to not sue her if anything went wrong..?

I so want one but am afraid to get anything done in india... thus the delay. already have the 2 things i needed to know before getting a tat - what design and where to put it!

And I am glad you are back to blogger... had missed so many of your posts...

PS: sorry about the earlier comment.. jus correcting a typo..

Dawn Grace said...

you WERE a good girl. otherwise i would not have given you a lollipop.