|The basic design...|
Fotor wouldn't let me
do any better!
I will say though, before we get into this post, that I never actually intended to get a free tattoo. I was pricing work with various studios in Dublin, and I got talking to Mario (Spilled Inks lovely owner, and yes, he really is lovely) who offered me a pretty sound price. Being broke has its pitfalls though, and I was prepared to pay for this piece fully, when and idea hit me...
Phil! Spilled Ink has an apprentice, and if you have seen his portfolio (HERE) you'll know he's a cut above most apprentices, for sure! I thought it would be worth an ask, if nothing else and Mario informed me that if I wanted to get my work done by the apprentice, it would be free, but of course, I would have to accept the risk of him being an apprentice, you know, slight inconsistencies and the like. No bother to me at all, as you will see further on, the tattoo I was getting is all line work, so my worry levels were pretty much nil.
So, I hashed it out with Mario and we agreed on a bit of pimping and the like (I wont get into that because I doubt he wants to be hounded for free ink morning noon and night), to which I duly agreed and we sorted the day for Friday at 11am. I e-mailed Phil with the design, and then double checked both on t'internet and with Mario himself about the aftercare lotion I would need so I could buy it ahead of time!
Apprentice tattoo artists are only going to be let tattoo willing clients if the fully qualified artists training them think they are up to it. I can't imagine how much pressure there is in this job, its nothing like painting a canvas, since the client can feel pain, will breathe, cough, you name it-- and they have to allow for that. I always said I'd love to be able to tattoo people, but I think I'll stick to blogging as my creative outlet! I have the utmost respect for tattoo artists, they do a difficult job when you think about it!
The studio is located at 18 Great Denmark St, Dublin 1, which is right in the heart of the city. It's actually quite near to the Hugh Lane Gallery, The Gardens of Remembrance, and if you need a landmark walking from Parnell/O'Connell St, hang a right at the Candy Cafe and it's on the right hand side! (Check me out with all my bases covered!) Here's the map for those of you who may need it!
The studio itself is absolutely beautiful!! It's all glossy floors, and you can smell the lovely scent of the disinfectant stuff they use. It's a smell that makes my heart beat fast, how sad is that?! They have a comfy seating area with leather chairs and a leather sofa, and a table absolutely covered in books about tattoos, art, music and movies. I indulged in my love of Banksy, and satisfied my curiosity in regards to Russian Criminal Tattoos.
Phil showed me the printed design and we both concurred that it was a bit too big so he shrunk it down a bit and we sized it against my leg. Perfect!! Then we went back into the actual room, where I stood on a chair (I'm a short arse!!) to have the transfer applied. After 3 attempts (because he' a perfectionist and I stand like a goon thanks to hyper-extension in my knees), the transfer was perfectly straight down my leg. Once it was totally straight and perfect, it was needle time! Phil had set out a single and a shading needle, a fresh pot of black ink, a massive hunk of Petroleum Jelly, and a bunch of paper towels. Everything that Phil was going to be touching was barrier wrapped, and that includes the plinth I was going to be laying on. He put his disposable gloves on in front of me and then we got down to the sore bit...
Phil worked from the bottom (nearest my foot), upwards. The outlining was pretty tough to sit through, I won't lie! I swear, poor Phil, and Chris had to listen to me bitching about the pain. You'd have sworn I was never tattooed before. Once the "Doom" emblem was outlined, Phil said he would fill it in and then that would be one done. The lines were so close together, though, that he had to shade it with the single needle. It wasn't actually as bad as the outline, but when the needle got closer to a bone or tendon it would suck a bit more.
A quick glove change, and then it was time to outline the Heartagram. I decided I needed to get up when the outline was done so I could go to the bathroom and walk around (my hips like to cease up). Phil wiped my leg down, and wrapped me up so I could venture out to the reception area, the bathroom and walk around a bit. I had the chats with Mario and Paul, and Pauls client who was in for the first session of a Lego Superhero sleeve. My phone rang before we were due to go back in to finish the rest of my leg, and by the time I got off the phone, I was dancing my way back down to Phil to finish my sitting.
More fresh gloves, more anti-bac squirty stuff. Onward with the shading we went! I have never sat under a shading needle before, so it was all new to me. I have to admit that it was sore in places but not as bad as outlining by a long shot. Once the Heartagram was all filled in, it was on to the "Venus" emblem. This one sucked. Its only saving grace was the short lines on the outline. Phil was great though, he let me have a minute here and there when I needed it, and distracted me with the chats. Life was good.
When it was all done, all filled in and little bits of touching up attended to, my leg was fully wiped down with anti-bac stuff (I dunno, it jut smelled good to me), snapped a few pictures for his portfolio, and wrapped me up really well, because he knew I was going to be out and about for the rest of the day. When I was all sorted, I went back out to Mario and Phil, got my amazingly detailed and customised aftercare sheet (customised by the day you get your work done, rather than the client, but still!), some healing advice, and gave Phil a well deserved tip. The lads all had muffins I baked them too, which definitely softened them up a bit! Everyone likes Double Chocolate Devils Food Cupcakes!
All in all, I was treated so well, and got the best tattoo in my collection in Spilled Ink. I waited 5 years to get this piece, thinking and rethinking and thinking some more about the placement and the sizing, about whether it was a good idea etc. I am 100% sure I got the right man for the job, and I had the best morning/afternoon having a laugh, and a really clean, safe experience. I would recommend them in a heartbeat.
Thanks Phil for his amazing work and infinite patience, and thanks to Mario for hooking me up.
You're both on the Christmas Card list! :D
If you want some good tattoo work done, swing by Spilled Ink, I promise you wont be disappointed!
If you want to get in contact with Spilled Ink, you can find them on Facebook, or you can give the studio a call on 01-8741111 or 086-3973636 OR you can email them at firstname.lastname@example.org
Hope you enjoyed this post as much as I enjoyed my experience!