Saturday, August 15, 2009
Tick Tick Tick
Tapped out, blogged out, talked out, tattooed out, drained. I did four tattoos yesterday and I was at the shop from eleven-thirty until nine. Only the butterflies were particularly large in scope, but somehow I feel the need to do all this communicating with each person I tattoo that makes it take so much longer to get the job done than it used to. Like I'm interviewing them or something. I have no clock in my work area, and don't wear a watch and approach each piece as though this is the one that will be entered in the convention best of show or be the last thing I do, or be the one tattoo I'm remembered for. I don't work at an hourly rate, so once a price is settled I feel free to take as long as I want to make every piece as fantastic as I have the ability to make it be. Super cool way for my client to walk out my door with a very nice tattoo, and at the same time your one o'clock tattoo appointment might end at nine if there's two people and then I'm eating dinner at ten in the evening. My work fills me up, makes me who I am, uses the last bit of whatever energy I have available and leaves me wrung out like a sponge.
Jim likes the simpler old school style tattoo, not so many colors, not so much blending, bold and simpler, like tattoos were in the days when they were different from the imitation of paintings and more like, well, tattoos. He sits, silently engrossed in his production, doesn't feel the need to talk so much and just gets 'em done and on to the next one. I can remember being able to do that. One after another, let's move on to the next one, we've got lots to do today and no time to waste. I get my tattoos by Jim, don't think I'm saying a bad word about the way he practices the craft. The lobster on my shoulder is the first tattoo I have that people stop me and have to look at it and say what a fantastic piece it is and ask who did it. He's a master at this art, he just doesn't have a lot to say while he's doing it.
I, for some reason, act like I"m on a first date with everyone who hits my chair, and my production time is getting longer and longer. I'm also falling deeper and deeper in love with what is leaving under the bandage at the end of the session. Maybe it's the slow economy and the fact that I don't have seven people scheduled on any given day. Shayla talks, and she can turn out beautiful things in a quick turn-around, maybe that's because she's used to it from being a hair stylist extraordinaire and working on a tight schedule at the salon? It's not like anyone is complaining about it, but I bring my companion the massive and unrelenting headache with me to work while I try to do things, and it wants to go home and lay down. That's who is complaining.
Then I have so much to write, and so many people to talk to, so many people who look to me for advice or comfort, so many phone calls to make, so many meetings I should be attending but just can't make. All that crafting I want to do and no space to do it in. All those shows I've saved on Tivo, a really good book I've been reading for weeks now when I would normally have finished it in two days. I'm tired, God am I tired. If my life were a checking account I think I would have a forty-nine cent balance, because as much as all these things deposit to my balance they all cost me as well. Would I trade or discard even one of them? Not on your life. I'm just so tired though.
I have a two-lady appointment at noon, followed by a fairly large cover-up where two best friends come while one gets tattooed. The first pair is a fascinating southern woman I would have pegged for early sixties who is actually seventy-eight, with the most charming southern accent and some amazingly raunchy stories and her caregiver/helper. I know she's going to take forever, because I find her fascinating and adorable. The second pair are like an old married couple, and to be honest I don't know how either of them are ever going to meet other women they are so obviously a couple who have been together for so long. They crack me up, and I love them too. It's three tattoos, only one of them large, and I'm thinking it's going to take forever to get it all done because there's so much talking and knowing to get through while I'm tattooing them. Then tomorrow there's a very large lower back piece with tons of meaning I am only going to attempt to outline and maybe shade with gray and color in another session; but her name is Sage and she sounds deep and spiritual in her emails so I can see that we're going to end up bonding while I get through the first session of her work. Yesterday, today and tomorrow, three epic days of tattooing before I get my two days off. It's only the middle of that trio, and I'm already exhausted.
I'm not complaining, except that I am, but really I'm not. I could have a job, like screwing doors on refrigerators in an assembly line or something. This is not work, it's art and they pay me for it. How lucky am I? Beyond measure. I meet and integrate people into my life for a living, that's magical. I give and receive for a living, I am beyond fortunate. I'm just tired, that's all.