For those of you that have been hiding under a rock for the past couple of days, this entry is all about Kimberly who supposedly got tattooed with 56 stars instead of the three stars she requested. If that still doesn't ring a bell, click here for a ton of links, photographs and other fun.
Being tattooed myself (about 12h in total) - not in my face though - let me set some things straight :
I can't imagine anyone falling asleep during a tattoo session. There's needles poking ink in your skin at a rates of up to a 100 punctures per second. Some describe it as the worst pain ever, others compare it to being scratched by a cat. Everyone is different and yes, the pain does fade a bit as endorphins are released and your body gets accustomed by the sensation of the stinging, but when another section of your skin is being worked on, it starts all over again.
(Update : Kimberly now claims that she didn't fall asleep, but that she passed out, caused by the tattooist putting the needles too deep into the skin on her head. Right...)
You don't fall asleep, unless you're drunk or under the influence of drugs or whatever. Should that have been the case - seriously, I don't know - the tattooist as well as the customer deserve to get shot. Don't take permanent decisions whilst under the influence. Don't tattoo on people that are not within their mind (which includes people being unconscious). Not too hard, is it?
Now Laurette Onkelinx (PS) wants to change current tattoo law following a number of questions/suggestions posed by Katia della Faille (open VLD) :
* The size of the tattoo must be documented in the contract between the tattooist and client beforehand.
* All tattoos should be thought through during a one (or more) day period in which the client can change their mind.
Sure enough, these new proposals sound balanced and not too ridiculous, don't they?
I've never visited a tattoo artist to get some "off the wall" flash art tattooed into my skin, so what I'm describing here is how things usually go for a unique piece of art, also referred to as "custom" pieces.
The customer walks into the tattoo shop, usually with a very detailed idea about what they want, and where they want it. A long conversation with the artist follows in which a couple of things are verified : is the idea technically possible? As an artist, am I capable of doing it? Is the customer certain about their idea and placement? Does the design (in case one is brought in) fit the intended placement? Does it need alterations? Etc...
Most of the time, the artist has nothing but a couple of rough sketches to work with, descriptions and ideas, and that's when the real work starts : not by picking up a tattoo gun and going to work, but by drawing out the full piece on paper, often over the course of several days after which the customer is contacted to come in to take a look. This may very well happen a couple of times before everyone involved is satisfied.
Once the drawing is approved, it is transferred to the skin and last minute changes may be done to make sure the lines and images flow properly with the body structure. Only once all that is done, the actual tattooing can commence.
I've always found that I need a bond with my artist in order to be able to work with them - I don't just walk into a random shop or artist asking for this or that tattoo.
All that taken into account, the new proposed laws won't change much for those who have thought things through and are getting custom work done.
The "I'm-on-vacation-and-the-sun-is-out-and-that-tattoo-looks-so cool/cute/sexy/hardcore/badass" kind of people though will be affected. No more walking in and out 30 minutes or an hour later.
Laws don't prevent stupidity, believe me. If an idiot wants to get tattooed, they'll find a way. If they find out that they'll have to wait and come back a day or two later to get that tough "Taz" tattooed on their butt, they won't come back at all. They'll end up at a shady scratcher that works in the living room in conditions that are far from sterile and whom doesn't care about the law. The idiots will just end up with worse tattoos, which in itself is a good thing : it makes them easier to spot.
Maybe I should support those new tattoo laws after all?