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.

12 comments:

Virginia Lady said...

I like it. I personally don't have any tats, but I'm always fascinated by them. Have some friends with truly beautiful art, but I've never heard anyone explain their choice in this way. I suspect many others feel as you do but aren't quite as eloquent.

Heff said...

Just don't over do it. You don't want to end up looking like a road map. (I hope).

Scott said...

VL, thank you!

Heff, I don't intend to have every square inch of my skin covered, if that's what you mean,lol.

Charles Gramlich said...

I like the looks of some tats, but have only had a passing fancy of getting one myself. I've just never found anything I'd really like to have permanently on my skin. Still, I appreciate the artistry of them, and the expressiveness.

Michelle's Spell said...

Hi Scott,

I love this post -- totally agree about ritual. As a Taurus, I'm a creature of habit and ritual -- totally predictable and boring, but it works okay for me. Can't wait to see the new art soon!

Scott said...

Charles, it can be hard to find an image that's worth having forever on your skin. My first one was easy(a lion)...it was years until I decided on my next, and a few years between the following one, etc.

Michelle,thanks! There is something to be said for habit and ritual. Things we do everyday, or at least often, can be comforting. Rituals like tattooing don't happen every day, and that makes it more special, but the little things we do often are just as important. And no, I don't think that makes one boring, neccessarily. I'm a Pisces, but i don't know what that means in all this...or with anything, for that matter(I'm not up on my Astrology).

Lana Gramlich said...

Interesting--thanks for sharing. I've sometimes considered getting a tattoo, but my father's parents were in a concentration camp, so he was totally against it (his whole religion is, actually.) Although he died some 30 years ago, I've maintained his wishes. I suspect that despite my idle considerations, I'll maintain it for the rest of my life.

Misanthropic Anthropoid said...

my kind of religion. ever go to papa jims today?

Scott said...

M.A., I didn't go to Papa Jim's...I stayed home and kept up the fight against whatever cold virus has me in its grasp.

Misanthropic Anthropoid said...

weak...weak indeed. i hate when a nogoodnik germ fucks up a good day. keep up the fight and remember use mustard packets....keep mustard packets goddamnit!!!

Scott said...

Mustard is evil.

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