Thursday, October 17, 2013

A Tattoo Healing Process

Hey, kids!  Guess what?  This blog has moved!  That's right!  You can now find all the same great tasting tattoo knowledge at http://thetattoonerd.blogspot.com.  Go check it out right now!

Something I get asked a lot is, "what happens while a tattoo heals?".  It had been a while since I had gotten a tattoo, so when Kyle Giffen was kind enough to tattoo me this last July, it seemed like an opportune time to document the process.

 Now, I titled this post "A Tattoo Healing Process" instead of "The Tattoo Healing Process" because everyone has a different body chemistry.  Some people heal faster, some go through more scabbing, etc.  I would consider my experience common to what should happen if you take good care of your tattoo while it heals.  Kind of a base-line example.

 Day 1.  Beautiful, isn't she.  Kyle did a fantastic job, putting his own spin on one of my designs.  This tattoo ROCKS!  See all that redness in the green?  That is normal.  Just a mix of some seeping blood-plasma barely coming to the surface and irritation from the tattoo process.  A tattoo, done properly, should not bleed.  The needle doesn't go deep enough to actually draw blood.

 Day 2.  Still have some redness.  The tattoo is still an open wound.  The seepage isn't as bad, and is probably more noticeable contrasted against the green ink.  The first layer of skin has yet to grow over the tattoo.  Something I forgot from my last tattoo was how much direct sunlight HURTS!  There is a reason you are told to keep your tattoo out of the sun as much as possible, and during these early stages, my tattoo reminded me.  

 Day 3.  I've been showering like normal, but avoiding scrubbing the tattoo.  Instead, I get a lather going in my hand and pat the suds on my tat.  I dry the tattoo the same way, patting instead of wiping.  What little redness remains at this point is from irritation, and she is starting to take on a faded look.  That first layer of skin is getting ready to peel. 

 Day 4.  The redness is almost completely gone at this point.  It is still warm to the touch. Direct sunlight still hurts.

 Day 5.  Starting to see a little bit of scabbing and the slightest beginning of a peel.  

 Day 6.  Now the skin is really starting to loosen up.  I am apply lotion at least 3 times a day after every wash.  These pictures have been taken after the tattoo has been cleaned and moisturized.

 Day 7.  More scabbing and peeling.  You want to keep the tattoo moisturized to avoid the skin peeling off too soon or the scabs cracking and falling off early.  If the skin peels too soon or the scabs crack badly, you might bleed, and along with the blood ink will be carried out leaving a faded area in your tat.

 Day 8.  The peeling is really going at this point.  

 Day 9.  Here is a picture of the tattoo before I clean it and apply moisturizer.  You will be tempted by the look of the tattoo alone to pick at it, let alone the itching of your skin encouraging you to scratch.  DON'T DO IT!  Better to suffer through a little itching than to suffer through the condemnation of your artist AND the pain of a touch-up.  If you thought getting the tattoo hurt, try re-applying it!

 Day 10.  Most of the first peel has completely fallen away.  There is still some peeling going on, and the hard scabs where the skin was really worked are beginning to form.

 Day 11.  As you can see, her right arm was really worked.  Not over-worked, but the healing is rougher there than anywhere else.  This is because Kyle was really working a color blend in a very tiny space.  

 Day 12.  Starting to look bright and shiny again!  You have to love Eternal Inks.  Years ago, the hardest part of my tattoo to heal was the black.  This tattoo though, the black hardly scabbed at all.

 Day 13.  The scabs have fallen off on her right arm, and there is a little redness from the irritation and the fresh skin underneath.  However, no bleeding, which is awesome.

 Day 14.  As expected, the redness under that scab all but faded away, leaving a nice, vibrant color behind.  The tattoo looks as good, if not better than the day it was applied.

 15.  This shot was taken about a month later.  My hair is finally growing back over the tat, which makes it look a little more faded than it really is.  The skin feels completely normal, though it can take up to six months for the skin to be fully healed.  The two-week rule is generally how long it takes to be healed enough to safely touch-up the tattoo.

 So, there you have it.  This is what a tattoo healing process should look like for most people if the tattoo is cared for properly.

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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Tattoo Nerd

 "Jason Sorrell's Subdermal" is moving to "Tattoo Nerd", where we are going to kick things up a notch.  We will be talking about everything from tattoos in the news to the proper way to "tune" a tattoo machine.  Each week is going to bring something different, so be certain to subscribe!  Click on the image above to check it out!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Little Pricks Tattoo

  Hey, kids!  Guess what?  This blog has moved!  That's right!  You can now find all the same great tasting tattoo knowledge at http://thetattoonerd.blogspot.com.  Go check it out right now!

 It's an awesome shop with a funny name.

 Owner Kyle Giffen explained that the name was part of a list of names that he took to Lakeline Mall one day and just asked random people which they preferred.  Options like "Lonestar Tattoo" received an occasional nod of approval, but it was "Little Pricks Tattoo" that won hands-down.  

 You may know Kyle as the front-man of the local band "Red Cry" that played several gigs around Austin over the last few years.  You may also know him as one of the contestants on Season One of "Best Ink".  But, how you should really know Kyle is as one of the best Tattoo Artists in Austin, Texas.

 And now, he has opened his own shop.  

 Kyle's worked in several shops here in Austin, and he has taken those years of experience and created his personal vision of how a Tattoo Studio should operate.  At Little Pricks Tattoo, you will find the very best practices against cross-contamination and blood-born pathogens.  Needles and tubes are sealed until use and disposed of after each tattoo.  The studio is immaculately clean.  Safety and the health of the client is clearly priority one.

 While those high-standards place Little Pricks Tattoo at the head of the pack in Austin, it is the atmosphere that really sets the shop apart from others.  Kyle has gone out of his way to create and open, friendly, and fun environment.  Attitudes are check at the door.  The shop is brightly colored, the faces are friendly, and visitors are always welcome.  Folks from the local neighborhood (Anderson Mill and Cedar Park) often stop in to talk tattoos, business in general, or just to enjoy the vibe.  

 Little Pricks Tattoo is also reaching out to the community.  Artists are invited to display their work in the studio's front lobby, with the requirement that a portion of any sale be donated to a local charity.  Little Prick Tattoo has begun reaching out to local organizations to coordinate events that benefit the community or bring attention to a public issues.  Recognizing how good the local community has been to them, Kyle and his crew at Little Pricks Tattoo want to give back to the community in as many ways as they can.

 The art work itself is simply top-notch.  Kyle and fellow artist Matthew Cesario specialize in Neo-American Traditional Style Tattoos, essentially old-school tattoos featuring bold out-lines drawn in the traditional style but with bright colors, high-contrast shading, and modern subject-matter.  Their work is beautiful to behold and keep clients coming back for more.  

 Check them out on-line at http://littleprickstattoo.com

 Pay them a visit at: 11815 North FM 620, #6, Austin, TX.  They are open 12pm-10pm Monday-Saturday.

 You can also give them a call at (512) 502-4591.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Can Any of You Ladies Explain This to Me?

  Hey, kids!  Guess what?  This blog has moved!  That's right!  You can now find all the same great tasting tattoo knowledge at http://thetattoonerd.blogspot.com.  Go check it out right now!

 I got the following in an email:


 I really dig the videos and the blogs.  The comic is hilarious.  I just read-up on your tattoo blog and I have a question for you.  I've been with my girl for about 4 years.  She has been awesome until recently.  I've always loved tattoos, ever since I was a kid, and I have always imagined myself being inked.  Money was the only thing keeping me from getting a tat.  There was always something more important to pay for whenever the money to get ink was around.  I decided last year that I was going to get ink no matter what, and started putting a little away each week.

 My girl has known all along that I dig tattoos.  I get the magazines and watch the television shows.  I join tattoo groups on-line.  Whenever there is a convention in town, we go.  When I told her I wanted to get some ink, she was really supportive.  She doesn't have any tats and said she didn't want any, but that it was cool that I was going to make it happen for myself.  We started checking out studios and talking to artists, and she stood by my side and offered her opinion the entire time.  We agreed on a shop and I got two tats; "Temet Nosce" in cursive on my forearm and an Eye of Ra on my shoulder. 

 I love these tattoos, and the experience was awesome.  I almost immediately started planning out what I was getting next.   

 At first, everything was cool with my girl, but quickly I began to notice that she was being kind of distant towards me.  It went from just the vibe I was getting from her to a physical distance.  The sex got cut WAY back.  The tension in our relationship started to rise, but every time I asked what was wrong she would say "nothing", or tell me she was stressed about work or something else.  Finally, I pushed her on it, pointing out that she was treating me differently.  That's when she finally told me that she doesn't like tattoos.

 I was like, "Are you for real?"  3 years of me talking about tattoos, and a year of me saving money and the two of us actively doing the leg-work to get tattoos, and she didn't mention it once.  Not even a hint.  I don't know what the hell was going through her head.  If she had said anything, I might not have gotten the ink, but she said that would have made her feel bad.  She also said that she thought she could handle it, but she is obviously not digging me having tats.

 So, in your experience, is this normal?  I mean, have you heard of anything like this before?  Also, like I said, she has almost cut me off from sex, and she usually is hyper-sexual.  Do you think I need to worry about her cheating on me with some dude who has no tattoos?  Is she going to break up with me? What do you think, man?

 No.  No, that is not normal.  Unfortunately feminine, but not normal.

 I have never heard of a situation like yours leading to a break-up.  I have heard of guys or girls who have their ex's name on them leading to a break-up, and of course getting your significant other's name tattooed on you almost always leads to a break-up.  If you had gone out and gotten a tat after she expressed her disdain for them, that might be reason to break-up.  I have never heard of someone holding your hand through the whole process and then stating that they dislike tattoos after the fact.

 That is simply psychotic.

 Unfortunately, that is an extreme example of what, in my experience, many women do.  When two people get together they immediately start shaping their partner in their own image.  Simple fact of life.  Guys tend to be direct about the process, but they also tend to have less demands.  This is because we aren't very complex.  Feed us, fuck us, let us sleep-in on the weekend, and don't ride our asses too much and we are fine.  Girls, on the other hand, are much more subtle and far more complex. 

 First, they operate on a different wave-length.  They quite literally have a language that is all there own.  They pick-up on and express themselves through body-language, and fully expect you to intuit their subtle clues.  This often goes as far as them verbally making a statement and expecting you to ignore it based on their body language that (if you loved her) you would pick up on.  

 I am fairly certain that is how they think, but I am a guy, like you, and really don't have a clue. 

 Also, this is your fault, at least as far as she is concerned.  If you loved her, you would have picked-up on it.  That is probably how it is in her mind.  Never mind that if she loved you, she would either be happy for you about getting the tats like she pretended to be, or know you well enough to recognize that if she doesn't come out and tell you what she really feels, you are not going to pick-up on it.  Indeed, you are going to (gasp!) base your understanding of her opinion on what she says with her mouth, not the look in her eye or the extension of her lip.

 I know, shocking.

 Anyhoo, you have the tats.  They are sort of permanent.  I mean, you will probably pay triple what you did for the tats to have them removed if you go down that road.  I can't tell you what to do here, man.  If she is the one, then you suck it up and deal with it.  If she is not the one, then I guess I would be vigilant in regards to her behavior, try to work things out, and just be fully prepared for if and when the relationship falls apart.

 I'm going to include your email as post on my blog, and see what responses we get from the ladies.  Maybe they will have some answers for your from a woman's perspective that I could not provide.

 So, there you have it folks.  Drop us a comment.  We especially want to hear from the ladies.  Is this typical, and what should this dude do?

 Jason Sorrell is a writer, tattoo artist, satirist, artist, and generally nice guy living in Austin, TX.  Shoot him an email at sorrellart@hotmail.com

Monday, November 19, 2012

Tattoos Portfolio and Designs

Hey, kids!  Guess what?  This blog has moved!  That's right!  You can now find all the same great tasting tattoo knowledge at http://thetattoonerd.blogspot.com.  Go check it out right now!

Jason Sorrell's portfolio of select tattoos as of 2012.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Just When You Thought Individual Expression Was Gaining Acceptability...

 Hey, kids!  Guess what?  This blog has moved!  That's right!  You can now find all the same great tasting tattoo knowledge at http://thetattoonerd.blogspot.com.  Go check it out right now!

... along comes this prude from the Middle-Ages.

 Lisa Khoury is an assistant News Editor for The Spectrum, the University at Buffalo's independent student publication.  Khoury is a student.  Her original opinion-piece can be seen here.  In this post, she is offering a counterpoint to a colleague's piece which is pro-tattoo.  Her own piece comes off as sexist, closed-minded, hypocritical, and as she quickly discovered incredibly short-sighted.  She posted an apology here.  In the apology, she has cataloged the backlash she has received from around the world.  She bemoans the fact that her words are being taken out of context.  She intended that her piece be read along with her colleagues and contrasted.

 But, as any artist will tell you, the meaning you intend in your work is often lost in translation.  You ALWAYS have to take your audience into consideration.

 Of all the issues I have with her piece, it is the hypocrisy that I find most offensive.  Like most hypocrites, she is oblivious to it.  Her main point of hypocrisy is that the expression of the individual (in getting a tattoo) is in her individual expression (her opinion) invalid.  How, precisely, is her opinion more valid than that of the tattooed person? 

 I would encourage everyone reading this blog to click the links above and to fully investigate her articles before fully forming an opinion.  You want to actually KNOW what you are talking about before you spout-off, unlike our student writer being sighted in this piece.

 The thrust of her article is that women are naturally beautiful, and therefore tattoos are not only an unnecessary enhancement, they ruin and otherwise pristine beauty. 

 "Ladies, I know you're at least at the legal age of making your own decisions, but before you decide to get a tattoo, allow me to let you in on a little secret. A secret you may have not fully realized yet thus far in your life. What you must understand is, as women, we are – naturally – beautiful creatures."

 She then goes on to suggest that this natural beauty be enhanced by working out at the gym, dressing in "lavish, fun, trendy clothes", wearing high heels, getting her nails done, taking up yoga, or getting a new hair-style.  Wait a second... how is any of this an aspect of natural beauty?  Indeed, make-up and clothing are used to create an illusion of an ideal often by obscuring reality!  Mascara can make your eyes appear larger.  Foundation hides wrinkles and blemishes.  A push-up bra, well, pushes-up that which naturally sags down.  Clothing, make-up, and tattoos are meant to allow the individual to have some control in how they are perceived.

 If Khoury's only issue was with a tattoo permanence, then her article would probably not be nearly as volatile.  She takes her argument a step beyond the permanence of a tattoo by suggesting that a tattoo reflects poorly on the person... displaying a lack of "class".

 "But something girls seem to forget nowadays, or maybe have not been taught, is that women hold the world's class and elegance in their hands, as well. So what's more attractive than a girl with a nice body? I'll tell you what: a girl with class. Looks may not last, but class does. And so do tattoos."

 I wonder how Ms. Khoury defines "class".  It seems to me that "class" has a fairly arbitrary definition.  What one person finds classy may not be the same for another.  I wonder if she would consider a person expressing an opinion based on only his or her cursory experience with the topic as THE opinion which should prevail as "classy".  Talking trash about another person's expression of self, such as their personal effort to define themselves through art, seems classless to me. 

 But that is my opinion.  I recognize that Ms. Khoury is entitled to her own, and if she doesn't like tattoos she shouldn't get one.  But, looking down your nose at a person who has made a choice that you would not is classless (in my opinion).  Does she take an equally high moral stance on those who make other choices she does not agree with?  For example, would she mouth-off against homosexuality if she herself felt opposed to it, or does she have the good sense to simply not have sex with another woman and keep her mouth shut?

 You see, while she may be opposed to getting a tattoo, NO ONE IS SUGGESTING SHE GET ONE.  She, on the other hand, feels perfectly comfortable with telling the rest of the world what to do. 

 This is the problem I have with all the "moral high ground" people.  They assume that what is right to them is right for all.  Personal liberty and freedom of expression is only good for those who agree with them.

 "Can you get meaning out of a tattoo? Arguably. If you want to insert ink into your skin as a symbol for something greater than yourself, then maybe you are proving a point to yourself or the rest of the world. But at the end of the day, are you really a happier person? Has this tattoo, for instance, caused you to learn something new about yourself? Has it challenged you? Has it led you to self-growth? Nothing comes out of getting a tattoo. You get a tattoo, and that's it. You do something productive, though, and you see results. That's a genuine, satisfying change in life. Not ink."

 This is simply a display of her ignorance regarding tattoos.  I have never encountered a tattoo that did not have some meaning to the person adorned with it.  It might be deeply spiritual, in memory of a lost love, or could simply symbolize that one crazy night on the town... tattoos always have meaning.  Has a tattoo cause you to learn something new about yourself?  Absolutely.  Getting a tattoo is joining a tribe who shares a distinct experience that those who lack tattoos cannot appreciate.  The tattoo process is painful.  A tattoo is a commitment.  The experience itself teaches a person about their limits and often redefines them.  My father assumed that I would never get a tattoo, even after I expressed a desire to become a tattoo artist.  Getting a tattoo transcended the pre-supposed limitations that were established by my families moral indoctrination.  I violated that unspoken taboo, and discovered that there was nothing to fear and no reprisals.  It was a challenge that resulted in self-growth.  Everyday, my tattoos set me apart from the herd.  My ink is as unique as a fingerprint, and even if someone got the same tattoos it would be a different experience with a different meaning...

 ...because we aren't all cookie-cutter clones for whom one set of values and morals is sufficient.

 I respect Ms. Khouy's opinion, even if I disagree with it.  I would never encourage anyone to get a tattoo.  You come to that decision on your own, and then I am here to facilitate the process.  Ms. Khoury seems to think she has a personal stake in your choice to get a tattoo.

 "God knows the last thing this world needs is another generation of kids questioning their basic values and morals."

 But another generation of busy-bodies defining right-and-wrong for the rest of us is what we need?  I don't think so.  I would think, if Ms. Khoury were to take a look around the world outside her classroom, that she would find greater threats to "basic values and morals" than tattoos.  People are denied the right to marry who they choose in the land of the free.  A simple, effective, and readily available treatment for pain and terminal disease remains illegal because of a close-minded opinion based on racial prejudice.  The number of overweight people in the world is twice that of people who are starving... yet they still starve.  Grandma having a tattoo is the least of our concerns as a society.

 Ms. Khoury has apologized simply because she does not like the backlash she has received over her op-ed piece.  I have a feeling that life in the real world is waiting to teach her a painful lesson. 

Jason Sorrell is a writer, tattoo artist, satirist, artist, and generally nice guy living in Austin, TX.  Shoot him an email at sorrellart@hotmail.com

Monday, November 14, 2011

Devilish Tattoo

  Hey, kids!  Guess what?  This blog has moved!  That's right!  You can now find all the same great tasting tattoo knowledge at http://thetattoonerd.blogspot.com.  Go check it out right now!

 Sometimes you have to take a few runs at a thing to get it right.

 I've been wanting to do some tattoos that were more of a reflection of the kind of artwork I am into.  My portfolio has been made up of what I would consider fairly common designs; hearts, stars, horseshoes (green clovers, blue diamonds, and purple balloons).  I've done some designs that were "different", but not really emphasizing the kind of "different" that I am into.

 To remedy this, about a year ago I offered to do some free tattoos.  The catch being that while you could pick what you wanted, I would be the one designing it and the tattoo had to be LARGE.  I figured I would do 2 tattoos a month of this type.

 Funny thing about tattoo-people... they tend to be "spur-of-the-moment" types.  Not many are into planning in advance for anything.  While I got a lot of takers, initially, most had no clue what-so-ever as to what they wanted.  Several knew what they wanted, but they were not the kind of design opportunities I was looking for.  One guy stepped-up to get a Grim Reaper.  He loved the design I came up with, but decided it was more important to go out of state and get baked in the woods than to keep his appointment.

 They guy who got this design approached me about it at a party.  It was a Walpurgisnacht Party, appropriate for this kind of request.  He wanted a back-piece.  He loved my demon girls.  He had some ideas, but was down with me coming-up with a design.  It was everything I wanted to hear.

 Over the next couple of weeks, I received some design ideas from him; images he was offering as reference... just some things he found cool.  The above design was the original based on those references, and neither of us were happy.  It was a decent design and all, but not what I thought was at my fullest potential, and not quite what he had in mind.  I want back literally to the drawing board.

 As is typical in the life of a tattoo artist, shit happens.  Summer is a little busy for me with tattoo appointments and hanging-out with my kids.  5 months pretty much flew by.  I had sketched some ideas up, but had not really committed to anything.  Most of the design happens in my head, and only gets to paper when I have a solid grasp of what I am going for.  I decided to step away almost completely from the original design.  I had this idea related to the Thulsa Doom icon from Conan the Barbarian.  I wanted two snakes to replace the goats in the original.  The client wanted the male demon to appear less as a shadow and more as a buff-monster in-line with his own philosophy.  I decided to draw the girls from the ass up.  This was the result.

  This, I thought, was a vast improvement over the original.  My client agreed.  About a week or so after we finally got together about the design (there was some email issue initially), I did the tattoo.

 This was a lot of tattoo.  Although it is mostly line-work, a good chunk of it was right on his spine.  The shading, which is normally a little easier to take than the line-work, just aggravated what was already an unhappy back.  We went at it for about 4 and a half hours until I was satisfied.

 Totally worth the effort.  Below is a video showing some of the detail in the design.