There is a large drink stand in the lobby where you can get some refreshments and there is a seating area with some pretty awesome murals painted on the walls. There are usually some top notch musicians sipping coffee and warming up in this area so it is a pleasant place to wait. Most of the other places I have been tattooed at just kept me sitting on a side walk.
The tattoo room is quite small and located in the back of the first floor. There is this large window that opens into it, but because of the design on it, there is still ample privacy. I find that I prefer small studios as opposed to sprawling ones filled with different artists and customers. Its gives more of a personal affect, and in my opinion, the only thing more personal than a tattoo, is anal sex.
I came to Black Jack for the first time about 1 and a half years ago I think. You can’t imagine how excited I was to find a studio so close to my house. Since then I have seen the artists portfolio grow, the customer base expand, and even his talent improve. I have been going in almost every day this week and he has always been busy giving tattoos to numerous people. I am surprised at how many people are actually getting zapped here. I have taken a few friends in myself.
Icon (pronounced ICHON) is the owner and artist at Black Jack. He specializes in tattoos, body painting, and piercing. He is a quiet guy and does not really say much which boosts my confidence in him. Tattoos are for life, so you don’t want some Bugs Bunny mother fucker working on your skin. So far he redid the tat on my left chest and designed/tattooed the large abstract on my left arm. That was quite a while ago and we are still working on designs to incorporate that into a half sleeve that will wrap down to my elbow and strap over my shoulder. I am leaning towards some gray scale Japanese mural. I am taking my time with that one. By the way, this is the first time I seen him smile.
So yesterday afternoon, I headed down to the shop and was welcomed by that familiar buzzing sound. Luckily he was expecting me and had all the equipment ready. I was not going for anything complicated or very detailed. I am tired of all the tribal tattoos and was more in the mood for something minimalist.
This is my first tattoo below my elbow and to be honest with you, it was inspired by a one my buddy Suri recently got in NYC. Surri is a ‘trend setter’ and an all round ‘inspirational’ being. If it were not for him I would never have thought of this design. Thank you buddy. We’re not worthy!!! But seriously, he is destined to be one of the most significant sneaker designers of this generation.
I got these 3 lines that wrap all the way around my left forearm. They are red, yellow, and green. The colors seem a bit bright right now but that is because the ink is fresh and I my arm is shaved. In a about a month though they will be a little more subtle which is actually what I want. After this heals I will be adding in 2 more lines between the existing ones in a UV ink. That will not be visible to the naked eye but it will glow under a black light. And although this looks like a simple design, you can not underestimate how difficult it can be to draw 3 straight and proportional lines. In fact it is actually impossible considering the forearm is not a perfect cylindrical shape. Maybe if we used lasers we could achieve it.
Icon is also the agent for PROTAT aftercare products. He is the only person I know here who carries any legit tattoo after care stuff. The 3 items he has are a moisturizing cream that protects color tattoos, a shampoo that is specifically for cleaning tattoos and piercing, and a cream that revitalizes color tattoos. They are not too cheap but like I said, tattoos are for life.
He has a decent computer that is loaded with tons of music ranging from Jazz to Rock and Hip-Hop. Not to mention it also contains plenty of images of tattoos. Icon also has a scanner and up to date publishing programs like Photo shop and Corel with which to adjust your designs.
All the inks used at Black Jack are imported and top of the line. I had an all black tattoo done a few years ago in Bali and after only 8 months it was already looking worn. Icon redid the piece for me when I first met him and it is still black and bold.
I enjoy getting tattoos. I know my family hates it every time I get a new one and when they ask I can never really explain what it is that I dig about it. It’s a bit of the sound, the smell, and even the feeling. Yes, there is a slight attraction to the pain. Hell, if it did not hurt I probably would not do it.
People always talk to me about how I will get bored of them or how shabby they will look when I am old and grey but these things do not even factor. I have some ugly tattoos but they still do not put me off and I would never even consider covering them up. In a way they all represent a certain moment or period in my life. Sort of like a journal. Each one of my bad boys has a little story to tell. And the fact that this is only my second colored tattoo is also significant with this period in my life. All tattoos are personal and I do not think that there is any such thing as a bad tattoo, just some stupid ones.