How our art chooses us
And I do love them. They were the first tattoos I got: I was 20 and we all lived in Madison for the summer. I was working a part-time job, the only one I could land after applying for and not getting calls back from 35 others. I made just enough money to pay rent for three months, buy food, and get tattooed. Oh, the simplicity. Ah, the halcyon days. I went to a parlor that seemed popular (for all I know it still is, though I'd patronize another establishment there now) with an idea in my head. An artist who wasn't busy met me at the counter and asked what I wanted. Now, I asked for a pair of black bands around my ankles, but that wasn't what I thought I'd been planning to get--what I'd envisioned, for months up to that point, having inked into my skin. I'd never told anyone what I was planning, so this statement, when I turned on a dime and changed my mind about what I needed, was the first out-loud mention of my plans. And these plans turned out to be different than what I thought I wanted.
Needed. When I spoke it to the artist, I'd told him not what I thought I wanted but rather what I suddenly knew I needed. Maybe our art chooses us. Maybe that's a serious conceit. But maybe I was saved from a bad tattoo (the design for which I still have not divulged to this day) and set on the path I'm on now, the path I know is right.
So after some brief misunderstanding (him: "okay, here's some ankle band flash, with some vines or flowers or stuff." me: "no, solid black. like electrical tape." him: "what?" me: "solid black bands on both ankles, like electrical tape.") I made an in-45-minutes appointment. We worked on placement for 45 minutes and inked for about an hour or and hour and a half, and it was over. Cash money changed hands, aftercare sheets were handed out, and I had a pair of beautiful black tattoos.
I love those. What a great thing to have.