This customer came in with a misplaced cross and tribal tattoo that was not too well done. He dreamed of a tribal half sleeve but didn’t know how to go about getting it done. I covered the old cross and tribal with a new design; next, I added on down the arm with thick blades of Borneo type tribalism inspired by who else- Mr. LZ…
Throughout the mid to late nineties, there was an incredible call for tribalism. Some loved it, some hated it, but everyone knew what it was after a while. It was everywhere, from the lower backs of the young ladies to the forearms of roughnecks and firemen. It was emblazoned across car doors, borrowed for t-shirt designs, and every type of logo imaginable.
I love to sit here by myself and type these thoughts. Is it because I sit with a customer when I go to work? Or am I a born introvert, forced to go into the social world by my job? I remember when customer service was one of my strong points, it was about all I had. Actually, the ace up our sleeve at Screamin Mimi was advertising that we maintained a sterile practice. I am still proud to be a very clean tattooer who understands aseptic technique, cross-contamination, and sterile tattooing.
The Secret Language of Tattooing
Being well-rounded tattooer used to be imperative. Now, it is almost a demerit, with everyone clamoring to have a distinct style. With art school kids joining the business every day, with internet fashion ruling the whole thing like some perverted mechanical czar, I guess every generation faces its own challenges. We definitely don’t have it hard compared to those whose names cannot be mentioned here. I cannot advertise those names anymore, of those men I admire, because I want to help tattooing stay more mysterious in an age of Insta-blab. You can be sure they know their names, the others, my peers, my mentors They know these names because it’s almost a secret language or handshake that we use against each other, to gain entry into a world or to castigate a ruler, diminish the youth, or simply to brag and kiss ass. We use these names to lift us up, illuminate the way, and to supply our designs, handing them over in a generational chain reaction that has spanned the entire history of American Tattoo Design.