Elizabeth Hartman gets a vine of trumpet flowers and hummingbird tattoo in honor of her grand mom. Take a look at the time lapse video montage.
My grand mom always has hummingbird feeders and flowers in her yard, so there’s always hummingbirds everywhere. That’s one of my favorite things about being at her house. – Elizabeth Hartman
Trying to document my tattooing process was a little difficult and I was especially nervous for this session considering it was moving up to my ribs. To my surprise, the more tender areas were towards my stomach and not my ribs.
Initially I wanted a 1950s style TV and a 1957 Dodge Coronet. This entire tattoo idea came to me sitting in a TV Production class. I realized how important the 1950s were and are to my family and my life. I wanted the tattoo to make sense though.
My dad has branded to Dodge logo into my brain ever since I was a kid – Dodge, Jeep, Chrysler, Ram… nothing else. We sat in his garage for months building my first car… from the ground up. My 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee has been my pride and joy for the last five years, and I’ll never forget all those hours we spent in the garage, listening to Frank Sinatra. So to stick with my theme, I looked up some cars from the 1950s and chose the Coronet to represent that bond we share.
As for the TV, it just didn’t seem to fit. Everything else went perfectly together both sessions before. Then, it came to me while driving down Delsea Drive in Vineland, NJ – the Drive-In. All those stories about my grandmother working in Vineland as a seamstress, driving back and forth an hour to the factory and then home. All the stories about my parents and their parents going to the drive-in made the sentimental connection I was looking for and added a visual component that made this piece significant. The Delsea Drive-In, built in 1949, was my perfect way to tie this piece together.
Shop: Altered Art
Artist: Lee Cramer
I’ve always wondered the story behind why artists begin tattooing. Why is it so appealing to make artwork but use a needle instead of a pencil? Skin instead of paper? There has to be a raw story that conveys the deeper meaning behind an artist’s career path. I was set to find it.
I began my search in the town over from mine. It was a Sunday… that was my first mistake. Most tattoo shops, most stores even, aren’t open on Sundays, but the one I looked up nearby conveniently was. I walked inside to find a small, quiet area, with an artist drawing up a piece. I introduced myself right away. I’m not trying to sell you anything. I’m not looking for my first tattoo. I couldn’t even get the word “video” out before the man began to look nervous, his eyes widened, and his posture completely changed. My next move was walking out the door after he turned me away.
Well, damn, I wasn’t prepared for that at all. All of the posts on INK It Over that I’ve worked on so far, I had the easiest time getting volunteers to share their work and stories. I learned sometimes that tattoo shops can be a little sketchy… Maybe it was for the best.
I didn’t lose hope from my first bad experience. However, I did realize that on a Sunday, the odds were not in my favor and I should probably take a different approach.
Tuesday… Before I began driving around all over looking for shops to visit, I decided to call. Why didn’t I just call in the first place? Well, I thought by me just walking in, artists would have to talk to me because I was there, smiling, and standing in their face. How could they possibly turn me away? Yeah, well, they did.
My first three phone calls were a complete success and my journey just excelled from there. One shop’s phone number was out of service, but hey, that’s none of my business. I was thrilled to hear artists telling me that I may have to interview them while tattooing. What a better way to share their story to how they got started and why they do it.
Is it hard for artists to focus while tattooing and talk at the same time? In my experiences getting tattooed, sitting with an artist for over four hours each session, I found that conversation is what makes the time fly by. You can’t run away from an awkward conversation or thought. Well, you can but it’s not recommended. You really get to know a person for that amount of time.
“This is a very personal business, you gotta be personal with clients.” -Dave Azma Knauer, tattoo artist for 7 years.
I may not have found a crazy, deep, emotional meaning in Dave, Pete and Brian’s backgrounds with tattooing, but they all have a pretty cool story to share.
“I can’t really see myself doing anything else.” – Brian Gormley, tattoo artist for seven years.
What I learned:
- Sunday is not a good day for anything but relaxing.
- Videos are not always an easy thing to get depending on who you’re talking to.
- Going into a tattoo shop and not getting a tattoo may cause depression, anxiety, and other forms of “Why am I not getting a tattoo right now?”
- Tattoos are addicting.
- Actually, I already knew that. ^
Parent volunteered to let me sit in on his tattoo session. He wanted to touch up an older tribal piece and add some design to it in order to make it match one of his other pieces. During the time I was there, Dennis Santana, his tattoo artist, shared with me some pretty rad thoughts about tattooing.
Dennis Santana lived in Germany as a kid for a few years. Then he moved to the states, where he began his journey. Santana started his apprenticeship in 2005. “We had good times,” explains Santana about his experience.
“There’s a lot of stuff I had to relearn. A lot has changed in a year.” – Santana on his apprenticeship.
“Whatever comes into that door, you make it a cool tattoo.” – Santana
“I love drawing Japanese stuff. I love drawing American traditional stuff. I get myself caught up in that.” – Santana
“Working here I get to be exposed to a lot of rad stuff. We do agree to disagree on things but it’s never negative.” – Santana