I work at Timepiece Tattoo Company in Huntsville, Alabama and I was recently in this super cool video on Smarter Every Day. Here's the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kxLoycj4pJY

Since being posted yesterday, the video has been picked up by The Washington Post, The Daily Dot, Nerdist.com, and I Fucking Love Science (ifls.com). It's gotten over a million views in 24 hours!

People have been asking me questions who have seen the video, so I thought, why not do an AMA? I am a female tattooer who grew up in the South. I am a mom and a wife (my husband is an economics professor), and I'm an avid reader and learner. I have lots of tattooing stories, as well as personal life experiences, and you may ask me anything.

You can see my work here: www.leahfarrow.com I'm also on Facebook as LeahFarrowArt and have instagram account as well under the username spittingwisdom

I hope this suffices as proof: https://twitter.com/spittingwisdom/status/515164575113965568

Comments: 324 • Responses: 88  • Date: 

CounselorMaxwell67 karma

As a fellow Alabamian, how many browning buck tattoo requests have you had?

spittingwisdom104 karma

Ha! I've had a few. My favorite one was a guy who brought in a drawing his friend did of a cross where the end of the cross somehow morphed into the browning buck, and a Confederate flag pattern made up the background. I didn't tattoo it, but I was so impressed by the utter essence of rural Alabama it evoked.

CounselorMaxwell30 karma

a cross where the end of the cross somehow morphed into the browning buck, and a Confederate flag pattern made up the background.

That's definitely the most Alabama thing I could ever imagine! Thanks for the answer!

spittingwisdom26 karma

I should make a little book full of tattoos like that that I've been asked to do. You're welcome!

Manate9618 karma

You need to add moonshine and Roll Tide.

spittingwisdom27 karma

As an Auburn fan, I approve.

Username-Zulu13 karma

War Eagle!

spittingwisdom14 karma

WDE

TahoeTweezer10 karma

Why did you not do it? Are there certain things that you would refuse to tattoo?

spittingwisdom32 karma

In his case, he didn't like the price I quoted him or the fact that I was booked out for six weeks. There are certainly things I won't tattoo though. I won't tattoo hate symbols. I also won't do face/neck/hand tattoos on people who aren't really tattooed already. I also practice great discretion when tattooing minors in terms of where they get the tattoo and the subject matter.

PreciousandReckless22 karma

What is the number one complaint artists have about customers?

spittingwisdom99 karma

I can't speak for all artists, but I would say that my number one complaint is that I often feel like I care more about the person than they care about themselves. I sincerely care about the people that walk through the door and I want them to get the best tattoo they can possibly get, because, you know, it'll be there for a little bit. Often people come in who are impatient and guffaw at the idea of having to wait in order to get their tattoo. I draw almost everything I tattoo, and I take pride in doing the best job I can do. When I feel that I'm being pushed to rush the process, I start feeling like the person rather get a tattoo for the sake of it, rather than get something of quality that they'll like forever. I want people to look at the tattoos I've done and say, "wow!", and I strive to do that with every client.

ihateyoufalcor21 karma

This is the most sincere response I've ever seen. When I got my first tattoo, I felt like my artist hated what I was getting. Coming to you for my next one.

spittingwisdom17 karma

Look forward to seeing you!

noodles213005 karma

Hey Leah. Just want to say thanks for being so cool. Especially your answer about patience and care about your work. Got my first tattoo in orange beach at trillium studios. Wanted to get it when i was 17 but my parents wouldnt sign. my artist told me its not worth causing a fuss about, and that if I would just wait until I was 18 It would be better. Well went in 7 months later and got it, he only charged me the shop minimum. Not to mention the celtic knot design I brought that I found online didnt make sense, the lines would disappear behind each other etc, so he spent about half an hour sorting it out and re drawing it. Any way il stop rambling but just thanks to artists like you, I dont have a mis matched piece of shit on my back for the rest of my life. Keep it up, if I am ever in Huntsville i will swing by!

spittingwisdom6 karma

Thank you so much for the kind words. I'm so glad you had such a great experience!

charmwow21 karma

Why is it a no-no to call the needle machine a gun?

spittingwisdom39 karma

Well, technically it's not similar to a gun at all. It doesn't shoot anything.

themeatbridge2 karma

So if I called it the Ink-Pokey thing, that would be better?

spittingwisdom5 karma

Tat tatty needle gun

Mamamoey14 karma

How did you get into tattooing? Beautiful work, btw.

spittingwisdom57 karma

I've loved drawing as long as I can remember - my mom is an artist and encouraged me to draw at a young age. However, I didn't get into tattooing until I was in my late twenties. I was working as a marketing coordinator at an equipment leasing corporation, and I had one of those "this can't be it" moments. I had thought about becoming a tattooer about 8 years earlier, but I just never did it. I made the decision right then to start drawing again, and learn everything I could about tattooing without actually tattooing, and then look for an apprenticeship. I started reading message boards, learning about machines, drawing every day, and then about two weeks later, I walked into a shop on my way to pick up dry cleaning and asked them if they needed apprentice, fully expecting them to tell me to go away. The owner of the shop asked if I could draw and I told him about all the studying I had been doing. With a sarcastic tone, he said, "Oh yeah? What machines do you think are the best then?", and I replied, "From what I've read, Mickey Sharpes are pretty good." Turns out those are the machines he used and swore by. He gave me an apprenticeship on the spot.

For about a eight months, I worked my 40 hour a week job and apprenticed at night. My son was three at the time and it was really difficult sacrificing the time with him, as well as all of the sleep. I woke up every day at 5:30 AM, took him to childcare, went to work, changed from my corporate clothes into street clothes in the bathroom when I got off of work at 5, ate dinner in my car, go to the shop at 6, and usually worked until at least 10 or 11. I worked there Saturdays from 11:30 until about 11 usually, and had a day off on Sunday. After about 8 months, I went part time on my other job, and in a year, I quit and was tattooing full time.

The hardest part was the time I spent away from my son, and the lack of sleep. I was averaging about 4-5 hours of sleep a night. I'm so happy I did it though. I have a career I love. I can make my own schedule, and take off to chaperon field trips with my kiddo. I've traveled a ton, and I really have no complaints right now.

nosnona9 karma

As someone trying to get into tattooing, this was really helpful. Any message boards, websites, or videos you would recommend for a complete newb?

spittingwisdom19 karma

I would just look at really good tattoos (tattoosnob.com is a great site), and tattoo machine diagrams. And then just draw a ton. Once you become a tattooer, you owe it to your clients to be good at what you do. Take it seriously and be honest with yourself about your skill level.

nosnona6 karma

Thanks for the advice! I have been putting off searching an apprenticeship until I can draw more creative subject matter (right now my only strong point is portraits). I feel a bit better about that now.

spittingwisdom4 karma

You're very welcome. Best of luck to you!

cloin13 karma

Would you rather tattoo 100 duck sized horses or one horse sized duck?

spittingwisdom36 karma

If the duck will stay still, I'll do the duck. I might get exhausted with having to do 100 tattoos.

cloin24 karma

sorry, my question was confusing...I meant would you rather do 100 duck sized horse tattoos or one horse sized duck tattoo.

syntax is a bitch.

spittingwisdom22 karma

The latter.

ultragoodfaker2 karma

Don't listen to them, your reply was perfect.

Remember coming across your macaroni heart not too long ago, it's such a great idea. Keep inking, your work is very good-looking.

spittingwisdom3 karma

Thank you!

Delaser12 karma

Did you learn anything useful by reviewing the slow mo?

spittingwisdom41 karma

I was surprised at how much the skin bounces! We have to stretch the skin with our non-tattooing hand when we tattoo, but the video helped me see why it's so important!

nomadofwaves4 karma

What camera did you use?

Thanks.

spittingwisdom26 karma

Oh, I don't know. I didn't use it. You'd have to ask Destin from Smarter Every Day about that. Paging /u/MrPennywhistle

ihateyoufalcor11 karma

Has business picked up since the video went viral? Or have people been more hesitant now that they've seen what's actually happening to them?

spittingwisdom20 karma

Well it was just posted yesterday so I haven't experienced a huge rush of business in the last 24 hours, but I have gotten about a thousand more Instagram followers, so I am anticipating a bump!

herrsuperman9 karma

Do you have a signature? Do you do anything to make your art distinguishable?

spittingwisdom12 karma

That's a good question. I bet some of my clients or friends could answer that better than I could. I tend to lean towards illustrative, bright type pieces, but I strive to be a well-rounded artist. Sometimes someone comes in with an idea that is different than what I normally do and I get really excited because it provides an opportunity for me to learn and grow more as an artist. If I had to pinpoint something that makes my art distinguishable, though, I'd say bold lines, attention to line width and use of it, and maybe a broad feeling of whimsy.

nothesharpest9 karma

I too am a fellow dweller of Huntsvegas. My question to you is how do you feel about touch ups on other artists work (esp. if it was a local artist)? Also, you guys do some seriously badass work! I tried to get an appointment with Timepiece earlier this summer, but we couldn't sync up calendars. One day.....one day.

One other question: What's the best way for me to not be a "bleeder"? I sat for 2.5hrs for the last session and the artist commented several times about my arm bleeding. She definitely wasnt a scratcher and I don't take blood thinners or anything.

Thanks for doing this AMA!

spittingwisdom12 karma

I don't mind doing it, but it's a case by case basis. Come by and we can talk about it if you'd like.

As far as bleeding, don't drink the night before, don't take any Ibuprofen or anything else that may thin your blood, and you should be good. Some people are more bleedy than others though.

noone_strange9 karma

What would you say the best reason would be for someone to get a tattoo?

spittingwisdom30 karma

Honestly, I don't think I'm qualified to answer this. Each person has their own reason to get a tattoo and even if I may not agree with it, it may be best for them. I get tattoos because they make me smile, and because I like how they look, but that's what's best for me. I try not to make judgments about what is best for others. :)

noone_strange6 karma

I completely understand I was just looking for your personal opinion which you gave and I appreciate that you did give me your opinion. :) I have been wanting to get a tattoo for a while now but I'm hesitant to get one partly because I don't like needles and because I have an idea of what the meaning of the tattoo would be I just haven't found the right image. But I love the idea of someday having a meaningful tattoo. So a second question what inspired you to get your first tattoo?

spittingwisdom19 karma

I was 23 and just wanted a tattoo. It was really a spur of the moment decision. I got a Pegasus because I was into Greek mythology at the time and liked the idea behind it. I don't like it so much now, mainly because I just picked something off the wall, but I do like how it reminds me of where I was in life at that time and how far I've come (and how much I've learned along the way!)

noone_strange2 karma

That's a great attitude to have! I'll be sure to remember to have that same attitude when I do decide to get my first tattoo. :) Thank you so much for your insight and for doing this AMA, I really appreciate you taking the time to answer my questions.

spittingwisdom5 karma

Thanks and you're welcome!

Delaser9 karma

What is the worst tatoo you've ever come across?

spittingwisdom31 karma

There are a lot of good ones in the badtattoos subreddit. I don't think I have one specific one because they sort of all blur together, but I would say that I'm not a fan of any tattoo that says, "property of" and then a name.

klumpKlumpen8 karma

What is the most bad ass tattoo you ever seen? Either done by you or someone else.

spittingwisdom13 karma

Oh man, I don't think I could narrow it down. Most everything I see Jeff Gogue do blows me away. Shige from Japan also does mind blowing work. I dream of someday being tattooed by both of them.

Marsandtherealgirl7 karma

Hey Leah :) I think we've been "internet friends" for quit a while. I think we were lj friends before twitter friends, but it's hard to keep track of these things sometimes... My name is different here, but I favorited your tweet a few minutes ago. I saw the post for this video, but didn't end up watching it the other day, I didn't know you were the artist in it! Very cool. The video totally made me cringe when I actually watched it. I usually don't watch when I'm getting tattooed. Yikes.

Anyhow, professional questions! -Do you think the video will get you more publicity for your shop? Would you want to do more videos? Are you familiar with Dabe Alan's time lapse tattoo videos? http://www.dabealan.com/video.html I think they're super cool, but I also realize what an absolute painstaking process it would be for everyone involved.

Personal questions! -Is your husband tattooed as well? Do you find people judging your ability as a functional adult or a mother harshly before getting to know you? In my new relationship, my guy has zero tattoos and is not at all of a similar style as I am. I often wonder how strange we look together. Would you say that tattooed parents have an opportunity to raise their children in a more tolerant and respectful mindset than others? Simply because their children are exposed to "abnormally" colored skin and people with body modifications (especially when working at a shop)? Do you think 18 is the age people should wait until to get tattoos?

Thanks!

spittingwisdom15 karma

Hi! I think I know who you are. We were definitely LJ friends. Aww, the old days.

I think the video will definitely get us more publicity. I've already gotten a thousand more followers on Instagram. I haven't seen Dabe's videos but that's super cool.

My husband is not tattooed at all. We've been out and about and people have asked us if we're together and have remarked on how I have tattoos and he doesn't. Plus, he's an academic and I'm a tattooer and people find that odd as well. I don't really care though. Our relationship is awesome and we go together really well.

Being a tattooed parent is trying at times. I often worry that people will judge my son for my appearance. Most parents I've met have been really great, and my son's friends don't care that I have tattoos of course. Still, though, I cover up my tattoos when I'm meeting teachers/doctors etc. just to cover my bases. It's unfortunate, but it is what it is.

I think 18 is a good age. Really with any regulations, I think it's really difficult to establish what is actually correct or not. I think a lot of 18-year-olds probably shouldn't be getting tattooed based on their judgment but I could say the same for some 25-year-olds too, so who knows!

shouldbeworking237 karma

How much did youtube pay you?

spittingwisdom32 karma

YouTube hasn't paid me anything! I'm going to go march on their headquarters right now, brb.

ARE_U_FUCKING_SORRY7 karma

[deleted]

spittingwisdom17 karma

My worst piece is a ship I tattooed on myself when I was learning. It's awful. I have a few pieces I'm really proud of. I really like the Auburn themed tattoo I did a few years back. Here it is not fully done: http://www.thewareaglereader.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/More-Lee-Ziemba-Tattoo.png

I also like a lot of the tattoos I've done recently. I'm lucky to have really great clients who trust me to do my thing.

apollorockit11 karma

I'm a fan of your space-themed stuff, personally. It just seems so inspired.

spittingwisdom17 karma

Oh well, thanks. I know this dude who has some super cool space stuff that I did. Oh wait, that's you.

dallejandro6 karma

What is the worst thing that you have had to tattoo on someone? or what you hate tattooing the most on people?

spittingwisdom18 karma

I hate tattooing black and gray crosses with banners. After the 10th one, I was over it. I don't dislike religious tattoos in general though, just unimaginative ones. There is so much amazing religious art, there is just no excuse for it!

I once tattooed the words "your name" on some Army dudes butt cheek. That wasn't enjoyable.

LuckyNickels6 karma

What's the funniest/strangest request for a tattoo anyone has ever asked you for?

spittingwisdom27 karma

When I lived in Auburn, AL, a guy came in asking if I'd tattoo the words, "Bridget, I'm sorry. I was wrong. I love you." The story was that he was with his girlfriend for three years but wouldn't make a commitment to marry her. She broke up with him, and a few weeks later, he was hit with regret. He was meeting with her in two weeks to try to win her back and wanted the tattoo to prove that he was serious. I tried to talk him out of it, but he was adamant. I was sure it was a horrible idea.

I saw him and Bridget a few months later. They were engaged. Last I heard they got married in a big wedding in the Bahamas.

DasMunch15 karma

Oh man, was it Jason? I've lived in Auburn for a while now, and for a good bit of time there were signs on the way out to Opelika asking for Bridget to come back to him. I always wondered what that was about.

spittingwisdom16 karma

Yes that was him!!!

hereticjones6 karma

Do you watch shows like Inkmaster and LA Ink, and if so, what do you think? Generally, I mean.

Also, would you ever try to go on a competition show like Inkmaster, or not?

spittingwisdom17 karma

I have in the past, but I don't really anymore. Some of the artists are great on there, no question, so sometimes it's nice to see their pieces. However, I am disappointed at the general way tattooers are portrayed on there. Here I am, minding my own business, going home at night and reading to my son, taking him to baseball practice, and having philosophical conversations with my husband, when according to those shows, I'm supposed to be fighting with people and drinking until I black out. I never knew!

Seriously, though, I don't like having to fight against that stereotype, especially when it's often being reinforced in the media. I would never want to be on a show like InkMaster because I don't want to be on TV.

Tress336 karma

Hairy guy here. I would love to get a couple tattoos but being on the furrier side of the spectrum I'm thinking that having a tattoo where there is hair might not be a great idea. Any experience with it? Not that big of a deal?

Also, I love the way pinups look, but have never been in the Navy. Still ok to get one?

spittingwisdom10 karma

It's OK to get whatever you want. That's what I say at least. In terms of being hairy, the tattooer will shave you before getting your tattoo, but obviously the hair will grow back so you just have to decide whether you're down with that!

CorporateGranola5 karma

I want a near photo quality tattoo of my Boston Terrier. There are so many images online of tattoos that were supposed to be photo quality but ended up being terrible. How can I be (relatively) sure a tattoo artist is capable of this quality work?

spittingwisdom13 karma

Look at their portfolios! If they have work of portrait like dog tattoos that are awesome, go see them. Artists put their best work in their portfolio, so if you're not in love with their work, then don't go to them.

go_lobos5 karma

I want to get my sons name tattooed, however im deathly afraid of going to someone who will jack me up forever so I want to get it done by someone with a great reputation. Do quality tattoo artist hate doing simple tattoos, such as just a name?

spittingwisdom8 karma

No they don't! I just did two words today on a couple. I'm sure if you find a tattooer with a good portfolio, they will be happy to do it, and if they're not, move on to the next one!

closerdivision5 karma

wait... are you a tattooer, or a tattooist?

spittingwisdom7 karma

In the US I'm a tattooer. In the UK, I'm a tattooist.

andreals19864 karma

I just saw this an hr ago and thought the video was amazing. now for my question: Is there a specific part of the body ( excluding genital area ) you hate to tattoo a person? and why?

spittingwisdom8 karma

I don't really hate tattooing any part of the body to be honest, well, except maybe the inside of the lip. It never looks good and it usually goes away. I haven't been asked to do it in awhile though, maybe because I moved away from a college town.

I don't tattoo genital areas, well, because I don't want to. :)

Wellhowboutdat4 karma

How nervous were you when you did your first tattoo? Do you recall what it was?

spittingwisdom9 karma

I was really nervous because it was on myself! It says "Apprentice '08" Rite of passage and all that.

Wellhowboutdat3 karma

Thx for the reply. What about the first one on a client?

spittingwisdom7 karma

It was on a friend of mine who was at the shop all the time and has a bunch of tattoos. It wasn't too nerve-racking because he was fully aware of what was about to occur. It was the outline of a shotgun with the word "boomstick" underneath on his upper thigh.

i_must_work_harder4 karma

Did it seem condescending in the video when the interviewer went for air quotes half assedly before agreeing you were an artist? That really ticked me off.

spittingwisdom9 karma

I can see how people might take it that way, but honestly, he wasn't sure what the proper term for my job was and he didn't want to offend me. Destin is a really nice guy and it was great to work with him.

cntkpmedwn3 karma

Hey!! I loved the video! I sent it to my girlfriend who is a tattoo artist and been going at it for about two years. My question is: Do you as a woman find it hard to be taken serious in such a male dominated field, or feel you have to work harder than the average guy? Also, I assume you do art at home as a hobby, do you ever feel 100% completely satisfied with art outside of tattooing?

spittingwisdom5 karma

If I'm ever satisfied with my art, it's maybe for thirty minutes and then it goes away. I think that's what keeps me driven though. I want to continuously get better.

Being a female tattooer offers it's own challenges, for sure. There have been times where people would meet me, find out I'm a tattooer, and then look at my work and be surprised that I could actually tattoo well (in their opinion). I think I've had to battle some stereotypes that come from being a tattooed woman as well. I'm really just a regular lady, mom, and wife. I like to read and draw, and hang out with my family. I'm also a huge college football fan (War Eagle), and I don't really party or drink much.

I think how women in this field are perceived is changing, though, and I'm optimistic it'll continue to improve. A lot of female tattooers work to lift each other up and I love that. A lot of male tattooers have massive respect for female tattooers in the industry as well.

cntkpmedwn2 karma

Thank you so much for the reply. I am going to pass this on to my little lady.

spittingwisdom3 karma

You're welcome. Tell her that I wish her the best of luck!

poridgepants3 karma

Are there styles or pieces you aren't comfortable doing or feel it's too difficult? How do artists handle that?

spittingwisdom8 karma

Yeah for sure. I'm not good at tattooing super dark subjects: gore, demons, etc. My brain makes everything look a little more whimsical so it's really difficult for me. I just tell people that and send them to another artist in the shop. Clients usually respect the fact that I'm honest about it.

I also don't do hate symbols or tattoo genitals, because I don't want to do it. Trust me, it's never Brad Pitt who's asking to get their dick tattooed.

Water-Truck3 karma

So you would tattoo Brad Pitt's dick?

spittingwisdom2 karma

That depends. How much would he be paying me? Would Angelina be there?

gqsmooth3 karma

Traveled to Redstone for work not too long ago. What are the best taco and coffee places in Huntsville and why are they the Taco Bus and Kafeelatsch?

spittingwisdom3 karma

Not sure about coffee. I came from Auburn where there was the most amazing coffee shop ever and I haven't found one that compares here. I heard Olde Towne is decent but I haven't been there in a long time.

Bandito Burrito is probably the most popular local taco place.

corruptjedi2 karma

Angels Island Coffee on memorial is my favorite.

spittingwisdom2 karma

Is it good? I've only been there once.

corruptjedi1 karma

I love it and the price is nice. Used to go after training at least once a week until I had to take a break for reasons. I'm just not on that side of town anymore. I go to the nook* from time to time if I'm in need of a fix.

Edit: not the Nook I meant the foyer. Beers on the mind and it's not even Friday.

spittingwisdom2 karma

The Nook has coffee?

corruptjedi1 karma

Sorry about that. 3pm drag makes me think beer. I meant the foyer. You never know though.. the best irish coffees in town is a toss between the turtle and west end.

spittingwisdom1 karma

Oh sweet. I've never been there. I'll have to check it out.

SuaveMF3 karma

Pretty cool to see a fellow Huntsville person on here. I got 2 tattoos about 25 years ago in when I lived in Chicago. I wonder, has anything changed much since then as far as the technology you use and/or techniques? I'm thinking about getting one more tattoo at the age of 45 but I'm not sure what the experience will be like. My first tat on my upper arm actually felt good while I was getting it. The 2nd tat underneath that one hurt a little bit.

spittingwisdom6 karma

I think the inks have gotten better, and a lot more people who can draw are tattooers now, but other than that, the equipment has stayed relatively the same. The difference in pain you experienced was probably due to the difference in the artist or placement.

davidkewl3 karma

Is there any tattoo designs that you would not do because of your own morals?

I'm talking about really hard core/ gore/ porn

spittingwisdom9 karma

Definitely. I had a really old guy, I'm talking like 75-80, come to the shop and ask me to tattoo a "risque" image on his butt. He wasn't joking. He pulled out the image and it was a still from a porn of a couple 69'ing. I told him I didn't feel comfortable doing it.

I'm also not very good at tattooing demons or gore. I guess I'm just kind of a happy person and that stuff doesn't come easily, so I tend to stay away from it.

davidkewl3 karma

As a fellow Southerner, (Texas), what about racist designs?

I sometimes see folks with confederate flags(that's okay I suppose), but also see swastika, images of lynching, or straight up n****

what is your reaction people wanting to get those or those already have those, but want a hello kitty next to it or something?

spittingwisdom5 karma

I don't do those types of tattoos, and I often offer to cover them up at a discounted rate if I come across them.

Honestly, we don't get a lot of those people at the shop where I work. We're a mostly custom shop and we're not in an area with a lot of foot traffic so people have to sort of be looking for us.

reticulating_spline3 karma

Do you know any good mac n cheese recipes?

spittingwisdom5 karma

I'm so glad you asked! My husband got me this book last Christmas and I've been working my way through it: http://www.amazon.com/The-Mac-Cheese-Cookbook-Restaurant/dp/160774466X

So far I like the Mexican mac and cheese the best. I made it for a May the Fourth be with you/Cinco de Mayo party.

nothesharpest3 karma

How far out are you booked right now? Judging by the popularity of the video, I'm getting the feeling I need to set an appointment now if I want to get in before Christmas!

spittingwisdom3 karma

I'm booked out about five weeks for small pieces and about two months for larger ones, a little further for weekends!

nothesharpest2 karma

Same for Seejay and Shayna?

spittingwisdom2 karma

Yep, actually I think Seejay is booked out a little farther than me right now.

NicholasAvalon3 karma

Hey there! So, I really want my first tattoo be extremely subtle as It's supposed to be a constant reminder for me to be a better person. What do you think about white ink tattoos? I want to get a three word phrase in a typewriter font. Good or bad idea? Thank you!

spittingwisdom2 karma

I think they look like scars if they stay in at all, but you know, it's personal preference. I usually try to convince clients to get a subtle color (light brown maybe) instead of white.

ScienceNAlcohol3 karma

I checked out you site last night after watching the episode and was really impressed with your work! I've been mulling over a design for years but wanted to wait til I graduated college before getting one and the fact that I'm kind of a wimp when it comes to pain. Should I avoid getting one because of this? (I actually have three I really have been wanting to get for quite some time). Could I have the person test it out on me like you did in the video? Thanks for you help and congrats on living your dream!

spittingwisdom4 karma

In what way are you a wimp when it comes to pain? Most people who have told me that are fine when they get tattooed. I think the fact that it's a conscious decision and not something that just happens to you, helps. You have time to mentally prepare yourself and there's a pay off in the end. It's sort of like going to the gym that way.

ScienceNAlcohol3 karma

I guess low-ish pain tolerance. Though it may be just initial pain because I remembered when I broke my wrist it initially hurt but after like 20 minutes I was over it.

spittingwisdom2 karma

Pfft, you'll be fine. Go for it.

not_yet_a_dalek3 karma

How can I tell if a tattoo artist is serious and good at what he or she does? Going to be shopping around for my first tattoo that a friend is designing. The motive is important to me, so I want it to be done right.

spittingwisdom6 karma

Well first off, and this may be an unpopular opinion, but I strongly recommend to have your tattoo artist design your tattoo. The reason for this is because tattooing is a different medium than painting or drawing. There are things you can do with the latter that you can't do with the former. The other reason for this is, frankly, the majority of time someone comes in with something their friend drew, it is, well, awful. Now, I'll concede that there is the minority who come with something that impresses me, but most of the time if someone can draw that well, that's what they are doing for a living.

With the internet, it's super easy to find a good tattooer. Just look online at portfolios and find someone who's work you love. Keep in mind that tattooers put their best work in their portfolio, so you should be impressed while looking at it. Then go to the shop and talk to them and be open for suggestions. I always work best when people trust me. I want them to love their tattoo, and so I'm going to give them feedback based on what I think will give them the best outcome. Good luck!

not_yet_a_dalek1 karma

Thanks

My friend is an artist too, so I'm not worried about his art skill. He designs album covers for a living :)

I'm willing to let the tattoo artist deviate from the drawing, but I need it to be a template to work from.

Thanks :)

spittingwisdom2 karma

Sounds good then!

adx2ison3 karma

I'm about to visit a local Tattoo shop that has a good reputation. However, I'm getting a foreign language character tattoo, and the tattoo shop are all american artists (as in they dont know the language they are tattooing). I asked them to design the character to be more art like (not something printed from a computer). My question is how easy is it for an artist to design text/language related art when they dont know the language themselves? (i.e for an american artist to do a chinese calligraphy tattoo)

spittingwisdom8 karma

Super easy for us to execute, but impossible for us to know whether it says what you think it says. I always send clients out to native speakers to verify the meaning when they come to me with something in another language.

Tai154 karma

That's awesome that you send your people to native speakers. I see so many terrible Chinese tattoos. Like there's a popular pattern book that left the second character off "faith" so it comes out as "short-tailed bird." Others are just complete gibberish.

spittingwisdom7 karma

I knew a guy once who had the elements tattooed as Chinese symbols on his leg. He had "water" and "air" next to each other, which in Chinese reads as "soda". I thought that was pretty funny.

adx2ison2 karma

Cool, thanks for the info! I speak the language so I knows what it says.

spittingwisdom5 karma

Perfect then! I have you have an awesome tattoo!

zchrit232 karma

What you would suggest in terms of size and location for a first timers tattoo? The design I've been looking at getting done is located here. I would modify it a little bit to include the word strength in the mane. This would be part of a set with my two brothers (one is getting a dove with the word hope, and the other a bear with the word courage). p

spittingwisdom2 karma

I would get it where you want at the size that you want it (as long as it's feasible).

xplitter2 karma

have you had requests to do fluorescent tattoo's ? and how do you feel about them ?

spittingwisdom3 karma

Do you mean UV reactive tattoos? Yes I have. I've done a couple. I don't have a strong feeling either way.

higgsbosonblue2 karma

Woah, I am pretty much what you would consider profoundly tattooed, and I could have lived my whole life without seeing that skin bumping around like that. Ugggggh. Some things are better left unknown I think, lol!

Anyway, so here's my question. In your professional opinion, is sailor jerry the current generations's equivalent of the 90s' tribal? What do you think of tattoo "trends" such as that?

(Heh, I realize this is not currently a popular opinion re: the sailor jerry thing, but it is mine and I'm sticking to it.)

spittingwisdom2 karma

No watercolor tattoos are.

Anonbacktracked2 karma

I've heard people say that some tattooists actually tattoo themselves. Is this true? Thanks!

spittingwisdom2 karma

I did when I was starting out. It's sort of a rite of passage. I don't do it anymore because, well, it sucks.

SpokenWorder2 karma

Is it true that if you have tattoos they can burn you during an MRI?

spittingwisdom3 karma

I've never heard that. Tattoo inks don't have metal in them, which is the only reason I'd imagine that would happen. Actually, it's possible that knock off tattoo inks that at-home scratchers buy could have metal in them I suppose. Another reason to go to a professional!

sankeyr2 karma

I want to get my first tattoo but I am super nervous/excited! I want one my of my wife saying "I Do" on my forearm (from wrist to elbow). My buddy was able to capture the audio wave at our wedding and here is the picture (disregard the background colors and lines, I just want the wave). I was thinking of having a little bit of green background on one side and purple on the other (our wedding colors). Less is more for me. I am wondering if something like this is even possible and what are your thoughts on this? Thanks!

spittingwisdom5 karma

I think the concept is awesome! It'll definitely have to be big, how big, I don't know without sizing it up myself. Your whole forearm may be big enough. Cool idea though!

sankeyr2 karma

Hey thanks a ton for the response! I am from a smaller town in Wyoming but we have a great artist here. I am excited to see what she can come up with. Your work looked great! If you get some time, is there any way you could do a simple mock up? I totally understand if you don't have time to do this for an internet stranger, but figured I would ask. Thanks again!

spittingwisdom5 karma

No, sorry, I only draw for people when they pay me or it's Christmas. When I have time to draw without getting paid, I draw for myself. Get the artist who is doing the tattoo to draw it for you! If you like his work, that's the best thing to do. :)

AllsFairInLovenWhore1 karma

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spittingwisdom1 karma

Thank you so much. I'm really appreciative of all of the support and kind words!

Paris-R1 karma

In my second session my muscles were tensing considerably each time the needle was running in my back/kidney area. I hold as still as possible, but it's quite easy to tell how hard my muscles are tensing beneath the artist's machine/fingers when in more sensitive areas. How much does the client's muscles tensing actually effect your work as you tattoo? What are some of the worst involuntary movements (breathing, twitching, tensing, etc.) that trouble you when you tattoo?

spittingwisdom2 karma

Breathing is fine. Twitching is no bueno, especially if it's on the ribs or stomach. Other than that I can deal with most things, and I talk my clients through the tattoo, help them with coping and breathing techniques.

noidios1 karma

I ordered "Native Son" after watching the video. Any other book suggestions?

spittingwisdom7 karma

Actually most of the books I wanted to recommend weren't on Audible so I couldn't suggest them. The one I was really disappointed about was Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl.

I also really love Machinery of Freedom by David Friedman, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, and The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Heinlein, although that was a difficult read for me.

I could suggest books all day if you let me!

jbrown52171 karma

How do you feel about someone who gets a tattoo only because they like the idea/design? I ask because I am of the, "It doesn't have to have any meaning" mindset. I may be bias though only one of my tattoos has any sort of meaning.

Secondary follow up question. Do you ever visit other studios for guest appearances. I love your style and it would be sweet if I ever had the opportunity to get tattooed by you without needing to fly down there.

spittingwisdom2 karma

Tell you the truth, I like that better. It makes for more fun tattoos usually, than when people try to fit meaning into something. That's just me, though.

I have done guest spots in the past. I went to Rotterdam, The Netherlands two years ago and tattooed there for a couple of weeks. Whereabouts are you?

jbrown52171 karma

I live in the greater boston area now. But I make the trek down to Western, MA occasionally for my tattoos.

spittingwisdom1 karma

Awesome! My husband is from Boston. It's not out of the realm of possibility that I'd come up there at some point but I don't have any plans at the moment.

lonelyinbama1 karma

I'm wanting to get a tattoo that is straight black and red lines around my leg. Why are straight lines around a leg or arm are your favorite type of tattoo to do?

spittingwisdom1 karma

I hate you. Just kidding.

yuccu1 karma

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spittingwisdom2 karma

Sending good tattoo vibes your way!

NicKaTimE1 karma

Does your husband have any tattoos?

spittingwisdom3 karma

No he doesn't!

NicKaTimE1 karma

Oh cool that is a surprise. Is it because of his profession or does he just not want one?

spittingwisdom10 karma

He didn't have any tattoos when we met and he doesn't want to get them just because he can get them easily. He's mentioned that he may get one someday.

One benefit of having a non-tattooed partner is that I never come home to him trying to get me to tattoo him. It's nice to come home and be able to not talk about work. We have a ton of other things in common, such as interests in philosophy, economics, art, etc. He's the smartest guy I know and I learn from him every day. Plus, he's hot.

NicKaTimE2 karma

What are you feelings as a couple on your son getting a tattoo?

spittingwisdom5 karma

I'd be OK with it, however, I most likely won't sign for him while he's a minor and I'd encourage him to get it done by a reputable artist. He's been around tattoo shops since he was three and he is more familiar with tattooing than a lot of adults, so I think he'll make a good decision when the time comes.

Convictions0 karma

I've never gotten a tattoo but want one, how much should I be prepared to spend for a tiny one color tattoo that's simple and only a few inches long and wide?

spittingwisdom1 karma

Most tattoo shops have a minimum, usually somewhere around $50 or $60, but every shop is different as to what they charge. It's going to be there forever, so I'd just find a tattooer whose work you love and go from there.

spider_840 karma

How do you feel working in an industry that sends people to hell? Just kidding, but seriously?

spittingwisdom3 karma

The real question you have to ask yourself is, what is Hell? Does it exist in time and space? Is it a tangible location brimming with fire and lost souls, in the way that most Protestants define it, or is it more of a metaphor for something more insidious, like a state of mind that creeps into one's life as a result of the choices one makes. Or is it a separation from God that can be remedied by constantly working towards having love in one's heart for others, like the Christian Orthodox define it?

I need to know where I'm sending these people.

spider_841 karma

Great answer, I know lots of people who would never get tattoos for religious reasons. I like you.

spittingwisdom3 karma

I like you too! Just kidding, but seriously.