tattoos in the time of covid

tattoos in the time of covid

in april i was browsing instagram because what else are you going to do all day while you’re sitting at home, and i stopped at a painting done by one of the tattoo artists i follow. i had started following her in january after the tattoo convention in minneapolis, where i saw some of her work at a booth. generally at the tattoo con, the tattoos are of the motorcycle or dark kind, but once in a while you stumble across an artist who specializes in rainbows and kittens.

love helen ink was one such artist! well, more like flowers and small animals. but, it was enough that i started following her, and her post in april was something that struck me as “wow i have to have that.” it was a painting for sale, but i asked her if she’d be up for tattooing it. so i had made an appointment in may, but she wasn’t open yet, and today – today, finally! – was my second appointment.

i drove to the cities this morning to be there at 9:30, and we promptly got started. after years of saying, “hmmmm, that’s too big” to my tattoo artists, i said YES GO BIG OR GO HOME and that’s what we did.

but first, let’s take a look at her space. she’s located in north(west?) minneapolis right next to young joni’s and dangerous man brewing. she has one room in an upstairs space of a building old enough to have woodwork that i’m jealous of. everything in her space made me happy. we both wore masks and washed our hands, etc.; she pasted the stencil on my arm; and then she got out her pots of ink and got started.

you know me – i have quite a few tattoos by this point. one on each foot, one on my thigh, one on my shoulder. this should not surprise me how painful it is, but it’s either a surprise every time that i forget, or my upper arm is very sensitive. (or i’m turning into a pansy in my old age.)

after she was done with the outline, we took a break and she sprayed lidocaine on my arm – a first for me! i have to say, while it worked, it was GREAT. the sad thing is that it only lasted about 30-45 minutes, and she could only spray it on twice (otherwise the ink does not like to lie nicely).

the outline took a little under two hours, and the color took a little more than two hours to finish up. so about half the color time, my arm was relatively numb with bursts of burny here and there, but overall pretty amazingly numb. i’d recommend lidocaine, even if it is pretty limited. it would work great for colorwork on small tattoos.

generally i can try to zen out and force my brain to tolerate the pain of a tattoo gun, but toward the end it just gets to be too much. i think because i know we’re so close to the end and it’s almost done that my body’s adrenaline has just checked out and wants to be done. which is unfortunate, because the end always seems to drag on f-o-r-e-v-e-rrrrr. but i survived πŸ™‚

she pasted the dermawrap on the tattoo and gave me instructions, but skimmed over them because, as helen said, “this isn’t your first rodeo.” (haha) i think it’s interesting how each artist has different recommendations for aftercare lube. when i first started, it was A&D ointment, then i was told aquaphor, and helen actually recommended coconut oil! i might try out the coconut oil, but i did just buy a giant tube of aquaphor just in case. she also had different instructions for the dermawrap than my previous artist. when i left, her next client was waiting (who was also getting mushrooms), and it looked like she was a newbie to tattooing. i wished her good luck and headed out.

the drive home was EXCRUCIATING. i can’t remember being in so much pain post-tatt before. i was almost back to st. cloud before the pain finally decided to subside a bit. when i got home, i took two tylenol (not a blood thinner!) and now i’m doing much better. i’ve got yoga tomorrow morning at a winery, so we’ll see how that goes πŸ™‚ planning on a long run on sunday, but it should be cloudy and cool so i’m not too worried about burning pain on that day.

the only color combo i’m not thrilled about is that gold on purple because i’m hardly a vikings fan! we’ll see how it fades out once the colors subdue a little bit.

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of course i promptly went outside to my garden in the beating-down sun when i got home because guess what? it’s PICKLE TIME! currently sanitizing jars for the first batch of 2020 pickles. they’d better be amazeballs.

thus wraps up july 2020, and at least i can say i got one awesome thing out of 2020!

enter august, the most melancholy month.

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