New Ink and First Convention Reflections

So I just got home from the tattoo convention in Midland, Texas and what a time it was. In a weird sense I now feel as though I am completely immersed in tattoo culture. A far cry from the completely blank canvas I was just 10 short months ago.

The convention was very interesting to say the least. It was really neat to go through and see all the different artists’ work and such. There was even a former Ink Master contestant there. It’s always neat when you find contestants on these reality shows in your back yard. It was really cool to hear him talk about his time on the show and to see his work. It was also fun to visit with¬†the convention goers, talk about and show off our tattoos and get some new work too.

Though fun, I was feeling a bit of burnout after just a day so I chose to go ahead and come home today (too “peopley” for me – I don’t like being in large crowds for an extended period of time; it’s an introverted and autistic trait admittedly). Though fun, I have to know and respect my limitations.

Of course, my main reason for attending was because my local artist (who has done all but one of my tattoos) went and we decided it would be awesome to do my next tattoo at the convention, and we were both right. It was her first time tattooing and a convention and she went for the long ball with this one. This is what she churned out:

tattoo5

All my tattoos tell stories and this one is no exception. This tattoo is pretty obviously a memorial tattoo, but what’s the story? This is a nod to my great-grandparents. They both lived with us until each of them died (him in 1991, her in 2002). My fond memories of both of them moved me to do a tattoo with symbols that were representative of them. My great-grandfather (Lynn Holland, for whom I am named) served in the US Army Cavalry, hence the insignia. My great-grandmother (Kimiko Shiho-Holland; her birth name in Japanese above the flower) was a Japanese immigrant who had a particular affection for her flower garden and especially peonies, hence the choice of a peony.

This is so far my longest tattoo session at right at 6 hours from first line to final coloring. The first few hours I was fine, but as the session wore on I started really hurting and by the end of hour 5 I had had enough and had to have some Vasocaine to get through it. As with exercise you have to respect your body’s limitations, even if that means being labeled a weakling, pussy or whatever other offensive, vulgar terms are often used for numbing products. I have a relatively low pain tolerance so it was a must for this one.

Which brings me to another random observation: coil vs. rotary machines. As I have been tattooed on in the same spot with both machines now, I have a direct comparison between the two. At the beginning of a session (or for short sessions) rotaries are somewhat less painful than coils, but as the session progresses it makes practically no difference. It sucks just as bad. Tattoos just plain hurt, no way around it.

Anyway, as always, you can read more about this and all my other tattoos on the “My Tattoos” page (link in the menu bar).

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