Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Tattoo aftercare

After care for a new tattoo is important. Just as important as it was for you to find that amazing, trustworthy artist you selected for your tattoo. There is no point going through that pain and paying the money you saved for to get your piece, if you don't take care of the tattoo once you get it. So here is what I recommend for your piece once you get. All artists are different and will have different instructions for after care and you should follow what your artists says. In my aftercare instructions I am always sure to say- don't listen to your friends for what they tell you to put on it! Everyone has a cure all.
Alright, so here it is;

  • Remove bandage after about 4-6 hours. You may be instructed to leave the bandage on over night and I recommend this only to people that I feel like it is necessary to do this.  
  • Rinse tattoo well with warm water- you may use liquid soap. I recommend Dr. Bronners, it is pure castile soap, nothing harsh and biodegradable. I always recommend liquid soap diluted down with water. I never recommend bar soap because it sits out and I don't believe bar soap is self cleaning. Most bar soaps are made with lye (animal fat) and bi-products. Not too mention harsh scents.
  • Once the tattoo is rinsed and clean,  patting it dry with a clean towel or paper towel will remove extra moisture that can cause the tattoo to get goopy. 
  • Let it get some air. This will help the drying out process which will lead to a peel or flaking of the tattoo. This is normal. It may peel similar to a sun burn. Do not pick at it.
  • I recommend washing your tattoo twice per day, morning and night for 3-7 days then once a day is good. 
  • After the first 48-72 hours I recommend an ointment or lotion to put on it to help smooth it out, feel better and create ease of your skin bending, since in joint areas movement alone can irritate and prolong healing. 
  • The ointments and lotions I recommend are: Aveeno, aquaphor, waxelene. These are great to use during the healing process. Once the tattoo is healed all the way I like to use coconut oil, almond oil or vitamin E oil to moisturize it and keep the skin glowing and happy. 
  • While your tattoo is still new (within the first month) never expose it to sun. The sun can do some real damage, since a fresh tattoo is like already having a sun burn or road rash. 
  • It is common enough to have some areas on the piece that heal rough. If this is the case, the best thing you can do is leave it alone. Irritation comes from over touching it. A lot of the times tattoos are also irritated by having too much ointment or cream on it. When tattoos get irritated and angry often times I have to recommend not putting anything on it for a couple of days or so. That way it can dry out. When you have a wound to your skin, if it is dry it can not get infected. 
  • Witch hazel is also a nice toner to use if your healed tattooed is giving you trouble. If you have gotten scratches or bug bites on it, I would spray it down lightly. 
Always use a nice sunblock over your tattoo for the future, otherwise you will sun blast it out sooner and make it look ruddy. And be sure to be proud of your new tattoo and show it to your friends and refer your artist to them!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

It's been a long road.

So, this month marks my 17th year in tattooing. I started my apprenticeship when I was 18. I started being a shop helper at 17. I cleaned the bathroom, organized the counters with jewelry, swept, mopped, etc. On really busy days I would make stencils for the artists.
It was a slow start for me, I think. But I started so young, that the experience has been insurmountable, priceless and very trying.
I think some real insight into me is that I am an constant journal keeper. I have been writing journals and keeping sketch books since I was 14 years old. I have kept them all except for a few that I have burned in fires once I deem them to be too toxic.
It is funny because it has been years since I opened up the box I keep them in- and I only keep some things. I am terrible at archiving. I have hardly any old photos because I believe once things are in the past, they should remain there. However, some photos have survived through my purging. 

"eat blueberries"

Random figure studies

That one time at Sacred rose, I was cool enough to ride a Ducati.

I think I was 20 here. Too bad my stomach doesn't look like that anymore.

This is my niece at a tattoo convention in '05. I had to cut out myself cause the person I worked with drove me crazy

business cards over time

It is crazy to think how much goes into really BEING a tattooer. Whenever I think about what it takes to do this line of work and how I have completely lived my life in tattooing, I am humbled. Then I open this box and thumb though my journals and I think Holy fuck!
To summarize, I look through my books and the word tattooing is on just about every page. My struggles with it. Or the ease and flow of it...Then I see lots of turmoil from men. I use my books to work out my woes from the boyfriends I have had. And then there is all these notes on spell casting, moon cycles, astrology and witchcraft. So, I see a pattern there. Tattoos, men and wicca...
To take you back to the very beginning for me, (I have shared this with some) There was a guy that got me started in tattooing. His name was Jay. He gave me an apprenticeship- after all he'd only been tattooing a short time but was dumb enough to agree with taking me on. (I got lucky) I think he doubted me for a long time. But as fate would have it, we fell in love anyway and we ended up keeping a shop together for about 5 years I believe. Once that ran it's course and it was time for a much needed change, I left for San Francisco. Which is  a whole other unruly chapter I tried to sweep under the rug. I am grateful for the very hard lessons I learned from Jay whether personal or artistically...With all this reminiscing I just feel so honored and grateful to have fallen into this path of tattooing. I make a livelihood from tattooing and I am indebted to all that have been a part of my journey thus far.