Decorating the walls: my tattoo journey
Published: Tuesday, October 8, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, October 8, 2013 22:10
I closed my eyes tight and awaited the pain. I clutched my friend’s fingers in a death grip. Breathe in. Breathe out. This wasn’t anything new. The needle penetrated my skin. There was pain that became dull, almost soothing at times.
Two hours later, I had a unique work of art on my foot.
My second tattoo throbbed on my swollen left foot, but it was beautiful. The songbird clutching a quill was bright and meaningful with the words “Dream Being” under it. I began to cry. My love for writing and music and drive for achieving my dreams had finally become something visual.
Shopping around for a tattoo artist is no easy task.
My first experience was miserable. I went to a studio that has been around for years. After having a positive experience getting my lip pierced there, I figured it was the perfect place to get my first tattoo.
I was wrong.
I gave the artist a printout of the tattoo I wanted: Asking Alexandria lyrics with a small nautical star. I told her I wanted the design on my left shoulder and that this was my first time getting a tattoo. I was alone and a little scared. I had no idea what to expect. The tattoo artist didn’t help soothe my fears.
“Oh great, a newbie,” she said under her breath as she took my design to the copy machine.
The buzzing of the gun and my soft whimpers were all that could be heard for 20 minutes. I didn’t feel comfortable with the less-than-friendly artist and felt as though my $150 work of art was rushed. It was. The lettering was crooked and the star faded within a week.
Most of my tattooed acquaintances and friends in the Buffalo music scene lamented my choice in tattoo parlor. One lifted up his arm and showed me the brightest tattoo I had ever seen. It looked brand new but was over a year old. I had to know who created this work of art.
I found out I already knew him.
Keith Kuzara is the screamer of My City, My Secret, a local band. He also tattoos at Sink or Swim. I Facebook messaged him that night, asking him to draw me a foot piece.
He created the masterpiece of a songbird that is now situated on my left foot.
The day of my appointment, he talked to me throughout the painful-but-pleasurable tattoo process. He asked me what colors I wanted and provided a relaxing environment for the second piece of artwork on my canvas. Two hours and another $150 later, I had a tattoo that I was emotionally invested in.
I am Keith’s client now. I plan on going to him for more pieces because my tattoo craving is becoming unbearable. Keith makes me comfortable and whenever I see him, he wants to see the tattoo – his work of art. He cares about his customers and how the healing process goes. After getting the tattoo, while I was on bed rest, Keith texted or messaged me every few days.
Establishing a personal connection with your artist has its benefits. He or she learns your preferences and how many breaks you need to take. As a loyal customer, your power of influence draws in more customers for your artist.
I’m proud to show off both my tattoos. They embody my values and who I am. But I always find myself staring at the songbird on my foot – the bird that holds an emotional connection and a positive experience.