the tattooing of Susan
May 6, 2003 12:46 PM   Subscribe

It started with a small dragon, tattooed above the right breast.
posted by iconomy (43 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
What happens when she runs out of skin? Graft on extra limbs?
posted by tommasz at 12:49 PM on May 6, 2003

Seems that all heavily-tattooed people start with just one, small tattoo... they're like Lay's Potato Chips, can't have just one!

If I could afford it, I'd probably be covered by now, too.
posted by Jughead at 12:53 PM on May 6, 2003

...and? Am I missing something? Chick's got a fair number of tattoos. She didn't even place at the national tatoo convention. I mean, if you're talking tattoo'd freaks, how about the Enigma family?
posted by Ogre Lawless at 12:55 PM on May 6, 2003

Does anyone ever stop to think how bad all those tattoos are going to look 40 years from now when the flesh starts sagging? Anyway, I rebel by not getting tattooed.
posted by quadog at 12:59 PM on May 6, 2003

This is the more "entertaining" page.
posted by Witty at 1:00 PM on May 6, 2003

I enjoyed this. Thanks Iconomy.

Here is an entertaining page about 'vanishing tribal tattoos of the world' I also greatly enjoyed.
posted by plep at 1:05 PM on May 6, 2003

No offense, ma'am, but they're not all that good looking. Sorry, I just can't be all that impressed by massive amounts of tribal. How much talent can it possibly require to do a bunch of solid black tattoos, zebra lady?
posted by adampsyche at 1:16 PM on May 6, 2003

I hate flash art... I mean, if you are going to go through the process of getting ink done, at LEAST get something done that means something to you... not something you picked off a wall. I watched a guy walk into my local place ( and ask about getting a "twin towers/9-11 thing". The artist showed some nice flash, but when the guy found out that it was $300 on up, he balked... he was the perfect example of a kid with $100 in his pocket loking to get some ink to fit in with the cool kids...


ANd for the record, yeah, most of her stuff looked pretty generic, and the stuff that wasn't generic, I couldn't get a clear picture of off her site...
posted by niteHawk at 1:40 PM on May 6, 2003

Yeah, not so hot. I've seen people with way more tattoos, and way better tattoos. And way better websites explaining why they did it.
posted by monkeymike at 1:41 PM on May 6, 2003

To me the interesting thing about this link was that she was documenting it. Watching her age, her running commentary, and watching what started as a small dragon above the right breast spiral out of (or into) control and become an entire body piece.

Fascinating link. Thanks, iconomy. I suppose there are more tattoo journals out there, I'd be interested in seeing some more.
posted by perplexed at 1:50 PM on May 6, 2003

I don't understand this link at all. This is like posting a page dedicated to some redneck's half-fixed-up camaro. Poor quality pics of poor quality goods doth not an interesting fetish blog make. This page belongs on the Spanker, imo. If only the Spanker were still around...
posted by scarabic at 1:53 PM on May 6, 2003

I rebel by not getting tattooed. Thanks quadog.

I have been looking for a good solid statement to use for why I no longer have a desire to get tattoos. Fortunately the ones I did get when it used to be a so called act of rebellion were put in places not only that I can hide but won't sag in the future. Not that I would get rid of them cause I still like them and of course, all are quite meaningful, cause you know people have to have a good reason behind why they do it and all that bullshit. Still I suggest to any woman contemplating a tattoo(women account for at least 50% of the ink being used nowadays)to try a henna one first.
posted by oh posey at 1:59 PM on May 6, 2003

Synopsis: unattractive, uninteresting people go to great trouble, expense, time, and pain to be transformed into unattractive, uninteresting people permanently covered in mediocre illustration.
posted by TimeFactor at 2:03 PM on May 6, 2003

It took me years to decide on a design. Mine mark turning points in my life like the day I broke boards in Karate. Of course, if you're going to do it, do it big. My lower-back tattoo (grapes of course) took almost five hours of agony. I chose to have them on my back since it tends to sag more then....shall we say other parts?
posted by answergrape at 2:12 PM on May 6, 2003

TimeFactor: sweeping generalization.

I haven't any tatoos, but I liked the dragon across her back. I thought it looked great. You say this is off the rack type stencil art? Hmm.

Sure the photo's aren't great, but like she said, it's her site and she'll do whatever she feels like. It's about the recording of the process, not the quality of it.

Many getting tatoos start off with just one.....

I'm concerned because I was thinking of getting one......
posted by alicesshoe at 2:18 PM on May 6, 2003

alicesshoe: Not sweeping. I was referring specifically to the couple in the site.
posted by TimeFactor at 2:31 PM on May 6, 2003

I mean to say that backs sag.....less. Alicesshoe: I don't regret getting mine, but I'm not sure if I'd get more. Be absolutely sure.

Mine was done by Hannah Aichison (she was at Body Basics in Chicago at the time). I understand she's become quite fameous in the industry now, and she has her own site at Hi-performance Ink. Alas, my ink isn't on her new site.
posted by answergrape at 2:37 PM on May 6, 2003

An outsider artist friend of mine did this amazing sketch of native women walking in a line. I said it would make a great tat.

If my skin sags, the women bend a bit. Heh, I won't be the only one at the old folks home with one, we can compare!

I know quite a few friends with tats, I'll be enquiring where they had them done. I would prefer an "artist".

I think it would look good going around my upper arm, besides, it can be hidden if I so choose.

Uh, I may have to visit Chicago, Hannah could do mine. :)

Betty Page doing tats? Wei!

As for the woman with the dragon et al, dark hair suits her more than in blonde.
posted by alicesshoe at 3:49 PM on May 6, 2003

i thought the tattoos were beautiful and the progressive documentation fascinating. thanks for the link, iconomy.

Ogre Lawless, adampsyche, niteHawk, monkeymike, scarabic, TimeFactor; thank you for your rude, condescending and utterly pointless comments.
posted by erebora at 4:27 PM on May 6, 2003

My mother, bless her mostly-live-and-let-live heart, has a horror of tattoos and has checked in with me periodically since my teen years to make sure I'm still not interested in getting one (or more).

And I'm not. I've tossed around the idea of what I would get if I got one, but I've never come up with anything I would want permanently marked on my body. I don't mean to judge anyone else; I just don't understand the appeal, despite the many explanations I've heard.

It's probably just as well; I'm allergic to everything, probably including ink.
posted by swerve at 4:28 PM on May 6, 2003

I thought it was interesting to see the process; I'm not really a tattoo expert, so I can't necessarily speak to the quality of the artwork. If I were to get a whole body tattoo, though, I'd want something less generic than a dragon, a bird, and a bunch of flowers, though.

I've wanted to get a tattoo for ten years now, but it wasn't until last summer that I decided what I wanted to get done and I've haven't done it yet. I can totally deal with getting pierced, but for whatever reason I keep putting off getting a tattoo. It's probably a sign that I'm not meant to have one.
posted by eilatan at 4:31 PM on May 6, 2003

Good for this woman, I say! Her tattoos obviously make her happy, and if you're going to sit around and make snarky comments over that, well... that's lame.

And yeah, I'm fully sleeved with more to come. Lots more. When I'm old and saggy I'll have old, saggy tattoos. And I'll be able to tell stories about each one. That's the way it works.
posted by redshifter at 4:51 PM on May 6, 2003

posted by delmoi at 5:06 PM on May 6, 2003

Hannah does look very Betty Page-like now (I'm sure that would help the process). At the time, though, she had fire-engine red dredlocks, kind of like an impish Raggedy Anne. It was a wonderful experience, mostly thanks to her. If you send me your email address I'll find a copy of what she did for me (; I'd hate to self-link).
posted by answergrape at 5:43 PM on May 6, 2003

I loved this post iconomy, thanks! And thanks for the tribal art plep - that is a fabulous site.

I applaud this couple - life is short, live your dream whatever it might be. That they began their journey in mid life is even more meaningful. Good for them. Thank goodness we aren't all marching to the beat of corporate america's idea of beauty.

I am touched and fascinated by some homespun sites like this - people sharing so much of their lives with the world. I do love fine design, but there is something wonderfully human and personal about a site like this. I love the way the web lets us be global voyeurs in people's lives!

For the commenters who say there are better links or better tattoo art, I say cough 'em up, a picture is worth a thousand words in this case! I love tattoos (tho I have none, nor will I.)

I've posted this link before - spectacular tattoo art from Mefi member ig. Here are two other MeFi tattoo posts: Japanese tattoos and portrait tattoos
posted by madamjujujive at 7:45 PM on May 6, 2003

I have a wonderful dream to share and live, and it is mocking that last comment.

Sheez, mjjj...

Did you notice the "I'm so fat" comment on the bottom of the page?

Thanks Hélène. If only I could figure out how you got me looking this svelte...

Women who worry about their weight are most definitely dancing to the corporate beat, or whatever. But you just keep on keepin' on with that global voyeur thing...
posted by scarabic at 7:58 PM on May 6, 2003

Here's hoping you're feeling better now that you pulled that burr out of your ass scarabic ;-)
posted by madamjujujive at 9:08 PM on May 6, 2003

The cynical and dismissive bastards in this community make me weep for humanity...

Unlike this cool essay of a link. Thanks for the find Iconomy.
posted by elphTeq at 10:17 PM on May 6, 2003

Wow. Israel/Palestine, Iraq War, SUVs, and now this? Just how much flamebaiting can MF take? Iconomy, you're such a troll.

Meanwhile, This Post Void Where Prohibited by Law.
posted by taz at 10:34 PM on May 6, 2003

I cannot speak for the quality of the tattoos, being unmarked myself, but the story was interesting enough to read right through, although I was disappointed when it just stopped in the middle of nowhere.

The fact that the woman in question is of mature age and her husband is not quite in Adonis-like condition makes it more real somehow. Good on them.
posted by dg at 11:06 PM on May 6, 2003

Truthfully, I don't think her face is especially beautiful. I think that's because she has an expression that makes her look like she's in pain in a lot of the 'post-tattoo' shots. She'd be prettier if she smiled.

However, I think her tattoos are beautiful, and the fact that she wants them is also beautiful. Tattooing is a wonderful way of turning yourself into living art. I will someday get a tattoo on my back, and I've never had any doubt it will make me more beautiful. Beauty is in the mind.
posted by stoneegg21 at 11:17 PM on May 6, 2003

Cool link. Thanks, iconomy.
posted by sennoma at 11:19 PM on May 6, 2003

Right now I have one tattoo, and getting it was at least half of the reason for doing it. I spent the better part of a week designing and refining a tat for Jeff; I think they should be very personal things. In my case, yes, it is empty of meaning, but the form is a statement from a very particular moment in time: The tattoo represents six months in Europe with one of my best friends. A tattoo is a sign, writ by a human hand; it can hold any meaning we assign to it, whether it is an abstract sign or a swastika. A good tattoo will have a meaning that shifts with time; one day you may look in a mirror and be able to read new meaning from the textbook of your life, written in an honest, first-hand visual language.
posted by kaibutsu at 12:47 AM on May 7, 2003

I quite agree with kaibutsu...

I got my first tattoo done just over two weeks ago now. I took a long time deciding I was going to go ahead with it, because of a genetic condition which means that I heal very slowly.

I chose to have it done on my ankle for a number of reasons - less likely to sag, easily covered if necessary, apparently one of the most painful locations (ergo, if I can stand it there, I can stand it anywhere else I choose). I also made the decision to choose a small piece of flash because I wanted it to be something that was simple and easy to do, to minimise the risk of anything going wrong (not because of the artist, but because of my own personal problems).

It is an abstract design, it has no particular obvious meaning, but it is something that's very meaningful to me, and will forever mark this particular time in my life.

It also looks nice, and even friends who have a dislike of tattoos have said they like it, and it suits me, which is an advantage, I guess.

It's not always something that's done just to be "kewl" - and body art doesn't always have to be confined to those that fit the particular aesthetic appeal of the time...
posted by pixeldiva at 4:44 AM on May 7, 2003

So when exhibitionists put themselves on display, the whole world is supposed to stifle any opinion that doesn't positively reinforce their exhibitionism? The only valid judgement is in praise?

Guess again.

Don't put yourself out there for the world to see if you can't handle a world of responses. I find both of these people unattractive, but I also see no sign that they're unprepared for such an assessment.
posted by NortonDC at 5:42 AM on May 7, 2003

My artist's Web site. My back is on there, as well as my ex's. (warning, page is pretty popup heavy)
posted by adampsyche at 5:49 AM on May 7, 2003

An exhibitionist that covers her breast. How odd.
posted by Beholder at 6:39 AM on May 7, 2003

"A good tattoo will have a meaning that shifts with time; one day you may look in a mirror and be able to read new meaning from the textbook of your life, written in an honest, first-hand visual language."
Thank you for your eloquence, kaibutsu .

I have six tattoos. I do not have a webpage devoted to the works in progress, but I do have photos because the process is part of the...well, process. My own attraction to the ink is not what made me like this post; it was more about the changes I saw over time and the fact that she was sometimes smiling (genuinely pleased with that day's work) and sometimes didn't fake the "smile" when she was probably too exhausted to pose.

Whatever aesthetic bitching and moaning you may have about this woman, her partner or what you perceive to be the quality of her ink...she did something real, and she documented it.

For that I say bravo.
posted by squasha at 7:46 AM on May 7, 2003

nice link, thanks

I'm not into tatoos, don't have one or anything, but had little doubt upon review of the website that the couple were willing to suffer & sacrifice for their art, so more power to 'em.

We all have our hobbies.

I thought the colors were pretty, btw.
posted by Elvis at 8:41 AM on May 7, 2003

I think it's a mistake to assume that people who are tattooed are exhibitionists. In fact, many people get tattoos for very personal reasons and don't feel like showing them off to just anybody (granted, this woman made a Web site about hers, but I'm making a broader comment).

On the perceived "exhibitionist" tip: it's funny how people think it's OK to just reach out and pull up my shirt sleeve to regard my tattoos. A female friend with lots of work on her back and hips has people pulling up her *shirt*, for crying out loud. Hello? Out of line?

Another tricky situation is when people ask to see my tattoos in a public place, like a bar or restaurant or whatever. Many tattooed people don't feel like looking like a cheesy dork showing off his work to get chicks, you know?

And yes, having tattoos does invite feedback from others, both positive and negative. But you're off-base if you think that tattooed people are universally in it for shock value or sheer rebellion. It's decoration and celebration, which can come in many forms. To make loud, brash, unsolicited comments about someone's tattoos is the same as making the same type of comment about any other lifestyle choice. So you may as well start loudly making fun of people's clothing, musical tastes, jewelry, social circles, religion, career, etc...
posted by redshifter at 9:58 AM on May 7, 2003

What stoneegg21 said. Thanks for the post, iconomy.

I know many people with tattoos, who have them for many reasons. One friend of mine in particular has had a large part of her body covered in tattoos because, in her words, it makes her feel 'beautiful' - not in an exhibitionist sense, but just because it makes her feel good. Another older woman friend had a tattoo when she was still in her teens; she likes to have it now because it reminds her of how much she's moved on since then. Then there's the whole history of Japanese tattoos.
posted by plep at 11:09 AM on May 7, 2003

redshifter, I'd say the web site is a solicitation for comments. She's got her email address on it for a reason.

And the exhibitionism is evinced by the website, not the tattoos. That exact same site, with the exact same poses in the pictures, but without her or him being tattooed would still be exhibitionist, and very much so.
posted by NortonDC at 11:58 AM on May 7, 2003

NortonDC, I totally agree with you on that. That's why I said:
"... many people ... don't feel like showing them off to just anybody (granted, this woman made a Web site about hers, but I'm making a broader comment)."

I just felt like some of the comments in this thread were making assumptions that all tattooed people were exhibitionists, and I felt compelled to argue against that notion.
posted by redshifter at 1:49 PM on May 7, 2003

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