due to the rise in popularity in the tattoo industry to the public i hear a lot of stories about peoples tattoos and sometimes i honestly tune out when i hear them and focus on the task at hand but then there are days like today where i realize that i really touch peoples lives and not only do they appreciate the tattoo they appreciate that I’m there for them when they are getting it. i had two amazing customers today who really reminded me one of the great perks and responsibilities that comes with this gig.
my first customer is a breast cancer surviver who several years ago had a double mastectomy (the full type of procedure had a longer name) but she pretty much had both of her breasts and nipples removed and underwent plastic surgery to reconstruct her breasts. she had no nipples after the procedure. when i walked into the shop she had been waiting since we opened for the next available artist which happened to be me. i did a nautical star over where her nipples would be and filagree to shape the curvature of her breast. when i finished she squealed in excitement and lit up and gave me a huge hug and thanked me over and over and said “i feel pretty again, i don’t have mannequin tits. they are beautiful. thank u so much” and left totally stoked and i felt like i really made someones life better just by drawing silly pictures on them.
my second appointment was an awesome young lady who wanted lettering from her armpit to her mid thigh. she was open to whatever it would take to make it a good, well aging tattoo. i bumped her appointment up a day and had her come back at 6. being her first tattoo i tried talking to her to keep her mind off of the pain of getting ur entire side tattooed. she said “yea yesterday was my pity party so i came to book the appointment. I’m 28 and this is my first tattoo” and i asked why is this your pity party tattoo? and she proceeded to explain that she was also a cancer surviver and yesterday found out that it came back and was going to be undergoing a pile of tests to locate where the mass had migrated to and she just wanted to do something because today she’s alive. i felt humbled and flattered that i got the privilege of making this girls day a little bit better before she goes back through the same tests she under went years earlier. i remembered why my job is awesome, not only because i do awesome tattoos but once in a while i really am changing someones life.
A tattooer named mike mcmahan once told me in a discussion about “what we do” that “our job is to make people feel better about them selves.” whether its giving the skinny shy kid his first tattoo so he feels a bit tougher and confident or giving a girl a rad tattoo that accentuates her body and makes her more comfortable in her own skin on a nice day. everyone gets their tattoos for whatever reason but the reality is these people are getting these tattoos for whatever the hell the reason is and we are the vehicle to making that possible at times and i think theres a responsibility that gets lost at times day in day out banging out awesome tattoos. sometimes it takes a day like today to realize the weight of what we are doing. its just ink in skin to me but sometimes its something epic to the person wearing.
so in closing, THANK YOU to all my amazing customers who have giving me the pleasure of doing awesome tattoos and hopefully making your day a little better. CHEERS EVERYONE!
(ps i will not be posting pictures online of the tattoos of the double mastectomy tattoos our of respect and privacy of my customer)