I’ve worked a few opening shifts in my time, not for the last few years but I’ve done it before. The first few hours at the tattoo shop are pretty quiet, usually. It’s always only that slow trickle, starting out with people who have early appointments, a few random guys trying to sell something, maybe someone coming in to look at the books.
It’s nothing like closing shifts at the tattoo shop. I prefer the night crowd. People in packs, flipping through the flash racks. Some guy showing me a pile of scribbles he got in his cousin’s basement and asking to get it fixed. A couple arguing while they ask about getting their names tattooed on each other. People rambling, weirdos coming in and asking to use the phone, and always the last minute rush of people right before closing time asking to get party dots, tiny tattoos, something that “will only take a minute”.
I like that. I like the spontanaety of the night crowd. The bustle. I like having to sit down and draw something right there in front of somebody. I like not knowing what’s going to happen next. I like the people, people who just want a tattoo, I know some artists have a thing against doing that kind of stuff…hearts, roses with a name banner. Kanji. Lettering. I used to not like it so much but over time I’ve grown to like these clients a ton. They’re simply getting a tattoo, they just want a good one, something cool they can look at.
They’re not wrapped up in the process as much as the results, and I really enjoy that. I like my big work, my regulars, a lot. I like doing intense work that takes long hours of effort; but there’s something to be said for the magic of just putting the tattoo on there and having it finished and done, right there.
The bigger stuff, the planned work, it is so much fun to draw, to play, to get loose with…I get to really challenge myself, the client is much more invested…that has its rewards too! Both ways are good for me. I think it’s the balance of light-hearted and serious that makes my work so much fun for me to do.
Working the morning means I get early time to draw, to rebuild a machine, to putter around. But working the night means I get all that action, and I just can’t resist it.
PS: I got nominated to be on eugenechosen.com ‘s “sexiest tattoo artist” contest…so if you’re so inclined, go vote for me. So far I have one vote? Which in itself is kind of funny.