Updated: Dec 2, 2019
I remember my first tattoo , I was 18 years old. I will tell you a little about it.
I woke up a morning and decided to get a lettering tattoo around the belly button , « Eighth Sin ». I drawn the design in about 15 minutes, taking the font's style from Black Metal band's cover album that I'm ashamed to admit... I forget them.
My friends and I used to squat a tattoo shop in Paris, its name was « All Tattoo », Saint-Sabin's street, near the « place de la Bastille ».So naturally I went straight there the same day and took appointment for a week later. I think everyone of our team got his very first tattoo from that shop. Hello Rémy !! If you read me !
The week has come without any stress or worry about that appointment. The D-day I went to the place one hour early as I'm used to do for almost every appointment I have – note that now I'm less early , stress is relieved now in Finland. Only thirty minutes now lol .
I went in and go straight to the desk, as I said we used to squat there so I knew the place. I took from my pocket the design I made a week earlier and give it to the artist : « -Where would yo like it ? He asked. -Around the navel. Was my answer. -Oh wow !! that's a painful place !!». At this moment instantly my brain went all around turning and turning questions like : « Should I took it somewhere else ? Did the artist was joking ? Do I REALLY wanted to get a tattoo ? WTF??!! » but I decided that I chose that spot and it would be THAT spot. As I was early , I decide to have lunch not to feel dizzy during the session, just in case it would be as painful as the artist said.
Impossible to eat that damn sandwich ! I had what we call a « globus hystericus » stuck in the throat and stones in the stomach. But still I go. I threw the rest of that sandwich I tried to eat and get in.
Once the stencil was done, printed on my belly and I laid down on the bench, stress goes up staight and surely the artist felt it : « If you're quiet and don't move you'll have a soda can. » did he promise. After the first line, oh my god, I asked for the soda and of course I assured him that I'll be as quiet as a rock... The rest of the session was good, I listened to the artist telling me about friends of him feeling dizzy after this or that tattoos , about jokes that he loves tell his customers to get rid of the stress, btw I'm using myself nowadays those jokes and my own....
When I look back at these times I got tattoos I can figure out now what give that stress. It was 20 years ago and the tattoo was not so famous and sometimes a bad guy's matter. Tattoo shops were most of the time in a frightening district and street. Inside the shop itself it was frightening because the decorations were rough as the artists themselves sometimes, skull, dark pictures on the walls, rock music and smoking guys looking at you . Some times it made me feel like if I came in a saloon in the Far West, while the discutions stop instantly. Also the machines were very loud and noisy and nothing was made to relieve neither stress nor pain.
And all those scary things made me the kind of artist I am today. I don't want my customers to feel this anymore, I want the tattoo to be a cosy experience. It took me years to reach the point where the pain is as much low as I can, as I use say just enough to mark the skin indelibly or just enough to tattoo. I found the lightest and the least noisy machine possible. I dropped skulls and darkness as decoration. I only decorate with my customers' tastes and quit smoking 10 year ago ! I'am working on what would stress the customers after a tattoo, that's why, for exemple, now I'm giving the aftercare products with the tattoo and check healing after a month. There even a kind of "hotline" 24/7 on my Whatsapp for appointments, information and healing.
Every things have to be confortable, cosy.