Back when I performed standup comedy, I had a joke in my set about tattoos. To wit:
"So I'm at this party the other night and I'm talking to a guy who has full sleeve tattoos. When I ask him about them, he said that each tattoo was a reminder of what he was going through at that time in his life. Together, they comprised nothing less than an inked tapestry of his existence.
You should have seen the look on his face when I told him about the whole 'keeping a journal' thing."
ell, I've changed my mind in the intervening 15 years as evidenced by my own tattoo. Don't worry, this isn't the blow-by-blow account of an I-want-a-tattoo-but-don't-really-know-how-to-approach-it-so-I'm-going-to-get-a-tasteful-tribal-sun-on-my-shoulder story. No, for the first one, I decided to cover the largest plane of contiguous skin on my body with a full Japanese back piece tattoo that extends from neck to knees. My tattoo artist, Jay Cavna, liked having a clean, large canvas and poured in a ton of work--14 sessions in all.
I was committed to Japanese style because I think that tradition has mastered how tattoos should flow with and complement the body. Case in point: Traditional American back pieces many times terminate at the waist but Japanese back pieces are designed to cover everything down to the just above the knee. It's a beautiful termination point aesthetically, plus it gives you room for more subject matter. Unfortunately, some collectors balk at the idea of getting their ass inked. I'm not sure why that's the case. Sure, the ass and hamstrings (for me) were the most painful areas to get tattooed, plus there's the indignity of having to strip completely naked for the below-the-waist work. Still, I don't understand why someone wouldn't go for the whole shebang.
My tattoo advice? Save your dough until you can drop a chunk of it on something bigger and better than you initially planned. And when the big day comes, don't be afraid to drop your drawers.