Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Ink and Blood
My recent inking got me thinking about why I like tattoos so much. It's not just the end result that I like (though I do look forward to a finished piece), but the whole process. I read somewhere that there aren't enough rituals in modern society. There is religion, and each religion has its own rituals and practices, to be sure. But for those of us who aren't church-going folk, ritual is sorely lacking. The tattoo makes up for this for me. To me, every step of the tattoo process is an important part of the whole. Prepping the area to be inked...the placing of the template on the area...the first bite of the tattoo needle as the artist starts his work...the music in the background(usually punk or metal at the establishment I go to)...the smell of disenfectant, ink, and my own blood, mixing in an alchemical way...the pain as the needle puts its mark into my skin. Yes, I think that the pain is an important part of the process. I'm not necessarily into pain(not that there's anything wrong with those who are, mind you), but I accept it as part of the process, and even if there were another way to put images on your skin in a completely painless manner, I don't think I would do it. It is the one thing about tattooing that has remained the same since ancient times... a link to the past, if you will. The primitive in me likes that. And in a couple of weeks I'm going back to start the ritual once again.