The first was possibly the best.
I got my first ink when I was 30. It’s not that I didn’t want a tattoo earlier, I just didn’t know a great artist, was a bit intimidated by the vibe I got off most shops, and really didn’t know how to approach the process. Then I met a co-worker who became a good friend and more importantly for this book, has really awesome ink.
She introduced me to her tattoo artist. So cool. His shop is way out by Ocean Beach in the foggy part of San Francisco. He only hires women artists to work in his shop because he doesn’t like the off-putting dude-centric nature of the industry. Not to mention he’s probably getting the best of the best, because he’s pulling from the more-competitive, underutilized pool of talent in the tattoo artist market. He’s the nice, chillest man ever. The opposite of aggressive. Super professional and super talented.
My partner also wanted some ink – her first as well and as it turned out, she got her awesome dragon tattoo first as I had quit my job and needed to get a new one and save some dough. Since I’m of the go big or go home school of getting ink, my first tattoo is a phoenix on my forearm. No inconspicuous butterfly on the hip for me. My second tattoo is a tide pool, inspired by the Oregon Coast, specifically by my first trip to the famous haystack rock and the tidepools that surround it.
My first, the phoenix, is a little atypical as nothing is on fire. And that’s because when I was talking with my artist he got a sense of what I wanted, a feel for my personality. I was amazed when I saw the design. The tidepool started out as a collection of starfishes. After they were done (and healed) I went back and said something to the effect of “they live in a community” – I think I meant ecosystem. He took a ballpoint pen and started drawing on my arm, and asked “like this?” And of course it was awesome. So he went to work. Couldn’t have a better first and second tattoo experience than with him. I found an artist I could trust, developed a rapport and got well beyond what I could have imagined.