One of the things about getting tattoos is that they are kind of addicting. Your body is this blank canvas for which to put some art that you enjoy or has special meaning to you. The next thing you know, you become hyper aware of others tattoos that you like and dislike and start planning your next piece in your mind. There is also the need for symmetry, balancing the ink evenly, the sum of the individual works is your masterpiece that cannot be taken away, sold or stolen.
Then there is the pain. I cannot say why, but it is enjoyable, at least for the first few hours. After about 3-4 hours under the needle, I think everyone gets a little over it. I do not encourage getting tattoos at a young age, because you may regret what you have done as you mature through your life. But I am a middle aged guy, and I have lived a pretty conservative life and as I am exploring in the second half, well, tattoos are part of the journey thus far.
I called back Sabrina Cruz (who did my last large piece) at Stouts House of Pain in Jacksonville, NC and started running my ideas by her. The elements I wanted included were Lady Justice (a blindfolded woman with the scales) and the American flag. This piece was also going to cover an old tribal tattoo, so it had to be pretty busy. Then I came up with the idea to have Naoma’s face used for Lady Justice and at that point Sabrina referred me to AB Andres, a 26 year old artist at the same shop who specializes in portrait work.
I went to the shop and met AB and the sketch he came up with exceeded my expectations. This is why I think tattoos are art. A good artist will include the elements that you want and probably in a different direction than you were thinking, something you would have never come up with on your own. When he showed me the eagle feathers that he was going to abstractly put start and stripes on I was super psyched. He also nailed Naoma’s face in the drawing, but could he do it on my skin?
Anyhow, we worked for six long hours and when it was complete, we were all pretty excited about the way it turned out. AB is a really nice young guy with six years tattoo experience. He moved pretty quickly, and the proof is in the pictures that his detail work is pretty amazing. If you are in the Jacksonville NC area and looking for a custom tattoo, I would highly recommend checking out either Sabrina Cruz or AB Andres at Stouts House of Pain.
Here is my first tattoo that Sabrina did