Well I grew up as a middle classed white girl, but my friends always seemed to be those rough and tumble biker folks who were covered in skin art and would proudly display it to all who would look. At a very young age I had a friend who was a pro artist in the tattoo world and he offered me my very first piece of ink. Although I was only 16 and this was totally illegal for him to do, I had sort of been raised by these guys as I was allowed total freedom as a teen. So once I worked up the courage I went in and got my first, a tiny black rose bud, not quite ready to open up to the world. Even though I was only 16, I realized that was a great representation of my first piece of skin art. A single black rose bud, closed in upon itself, but just waiting for the chance to open up and show its own uniqueness to the world, just as I was.
I got this tattoo because just like a lot of people who desire skin ink, they have a purpose behind it, even if you wouldn't understand it without asking. Hey, ask already! Those with skin ink usually are happy to tell you what inspired this or that particular piece. My first tattoo was not welcomed by my folks. My Dad seen it while I was sleeping and tried to scratch it right off. Bad idea on a fresh tattoo but it survived. For a lot of people in my father's generation, tattoo's were a symbol of the wild and crazy, the guys you stayed away from if you wanted to avoid trouble.
So aside from those who just hate skin ink, what do the tattoo's people get mean to them? I must admit, after the black rose bud I was a bit hooked. But I had a great artist who would make me think on a piece of art once I had picked it out, and a month later he would ink me if I still wanted that design. Tattoo's called RIP tattoo's are one way that a tattoo lover may use to honor a friend who has passed on. Then there are the boyfriend, girlfriend, wife or husband tattoo's. Not always the smartest move but hell, as long as your next girlfriends name is Pam, it should be just fine! Of course the decades long popular MOM tattoo is also a common piece of skin ink.
Most people do put quite a bit of thought into their tattoos. When you see a person who has a sleeved arm you can bet your ass that the design and sittings it took to get that ink there were meticulously thought out. Between the artist and the tattoo-ee, sometimes years of planning can go into a full arm or leg sleeve. Someone who knows little about tattoos may think “Wow, what a mess on that guy/gals arm. But they just have no idea that putting together a large piece in different sittings requires the patience and knowledge of the best of tattoo artist. If you ever take a close look you can see for yourself how parts of the arm or leg are used to incorporate special designs. Hell, I have a great friend who has a spider web tattooed on his armpit. Yeah, I guess if there is anywhere on a body that could accumulate a spider web that would be it. Or what about the guy with a zipper on his bald head that is unzipped to show his 'brain' hanging out. That was always one of my special favorites too. My second tattoo, and ladies will understand this one for sure, was tattooed just above my left breast. It's a great piece , but WOW, was it a sensitive spot to get some ink. That doesn't even include what the artist has to do to spread the skin out to get the best coverage. To me, that tattoo signified that the little girl who was the black rose bud was now emerging as a fierce and protective dragon, which is exactly what I was by then because I had 2 young sons.
Sometimes if you take the time to study someone's ink, and actually ask questions, you are very likely to find their entire life story, character, emotional turbulences in their lives, and possibly even their love for family and country. Contrary to some peoples beliefs, not all people who get tattooed are doing so to gain attention, or to have people look at them. Indeed, one of my tattoos will never even be seen by anyone, except possibly my grandchildren when my hair goes white and starts thinning. Damn but won't they be amazed to see that Nana has a tattoo of a skull, on her skull!
And then there is my lovely back piece. My pride and joy, and the one I rarely ever get to see. It took seventeen hours to sit for this piece but it culminated all that in my life I had ever enjoyed. A fantasy world, one filled with castles and dragons and wizards and even hidden ghoulish skulls hidden within the artwork itself.
So never assume you know why someone has so many tattoos And don't judge them for it either. For someone who loves tattoo's this is THEIR form of art. I'd much rather display my art on my skin than hang it on the walls in my house. And I'm not a walking billboard for someone else's work. I am a walking billboard for the story of my life that I'd be proud to share with anyone who took the time to ask.