What and where are not important. It’s the how and when!

I like tattoos. I have tattoos. I design tattoos. I tattooed my own tattoos. I want more tattoos. A prompt about tattoos needs an answer.

What tattoo do you want and where would you put it?

Today’s prompt

I like the concept of tattoos. Carrying something special with you on your skin is something that can be meaningful and special. It can also be completely and utterly meaningless and downright bizarre. To each their own. No judgment from my side as long as people don’t have grossly offensive shit on their forehead. I have no sympathy for Nazi symbols or anything that has parallels to that line of thinking. However, if you want Bambi on your breast, or that same bloody Mandala that everyone has these days, all good. If it makes you happy that’s cool. It can look good.

My tattoos don’t look fantastic. But I don’t care. They’re designed by me, tattooed by me, and proudly carried on me by me. I love tattooing. I wanted to learn it. I knew I would never be able to – or want to – do this for a living. Having an apprentice position somewhere made no sense. I have no interest in tattooing others. So I practiced a lot on oranges, fake skin, and eventually on myself. Now I have worked sterile in microbial laboratories professionally, and through this have a reasonable understanding of how to keep things so, and how to avoid cross contamination and the like. I can guarantee that the way I worked was cleaner than most of the artists I’ve seen work on live events. Would I recommend it to others? A big fat nope. Tattooing hygiene is important and for most would best be left to the professional tattoo artist. The odds are high that they would do a better job than you, in terms of execution and associated hygiene. Me? I’m a bit weird in the sense that I couldn’t live with something bad on me, if it was done by someone else. I’d likely peel off my skin with a cheese slicer. On top of that, I am scared of needles, and am a control freak. I wasn’t sure if it would work out with any artist… Practicing a skill and art that I always wanted to develop seemed like a good alternative to me. I could live with an imperfect tattoo on me only if I was the one that put it there. It would be part of my story. And so here they are.

I have a monitor lizard on my left underarm, and a parasitoid wasp on my right thigh. Reptiles and insects are special to me. I know I will not regret having them on me fifty years from now.

Tattooing yourself is a bit tricky. You are limited in the what and where, by the places you can reach easily, and stretch easily, considering you have only one dominant hand, and one other to facilitate things. Working on my left underarm was tough, as I could only use my dominant right hand. Stretching skin was difficult. But all in all it was fine.

There is still space that I can reach and would happily fill in the future. As a plant guy, I want to have some plants on me. I also feel guilty for not having a snake tattoo. How is that even possible? (Snakes make difficult subjects to tattoo)

The more important question is when and how. Design and execution would require long uninterrupted time alone. With my kids around, these elements are often in short supply. Nevertheless, I’ve been thinking about kick-starting the tattoo guns again, and playing around a bit with some fake skin, before putting some ink in my legs or so. I think some botanical drawings of the plant species I’ve worked with a lot would be nice somehow.

Or maybe a big Mandala, right on my chest?

Maybe soon. I’ll first have to find time, and then conquer my fear of needles once more.

Published by Robin Heinen

Father of two | Husband | Entomologist and Ecologist | Postdoctoral Researcher @ TUM | Traveler | Coffee Addict

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