Tattoo Parlor - Ethnography

2419 WordsNov 27, 200510 Pages
Abstract This essay describes the job of a tattoo parlor and the tattoo artist, and the interaction between the artist and the customer. The description is of a normal day where I visit Blue Moon Tattoo, watch a lady being tattooed, and receive a tattoo of my own. I describe the complete day in the parlor, from watching a woman find the perfect tattoo, to watching her getting the tattoo. Along with the description, the main point of this essay is to explain how people can actually be comfortable with a tattoo artist and be comfortable with needles being poked into their body. A small amount of interaction between the artist and the customer makes the tattoo have a bit of personality, and a memorable experience. The Life of a Tattoo…show more content…
Most outlines are in black, especially cartoons, but Jenna wants her tattoo only to be light blue. Jessica outlines a small star, about half and inch by half an inch, in light blue on the center of Jenna's wrist. As Jenna is tense and balls her first up, Jessica has to slow down with the tattoo because muscles are tightening up in Jenna's wrist. Blood drains from her skin, as most fresh tattoos make the skin seem as if it is cut, and Jessica uses "white-wash" (regular paper towels) to clean the area with carbonated water to release oxygen in the skin. Also, Jenna has to stop tensing up before Jessica can proceed with the process, so communication is a big key in tattooing. After the star outline is made, the star has to be filled in, like coloring in a book. You have to be careful not to go out of the outline, or you'll have to re-outline the tattoo, and make it larger than expected, which does disappoint the customer. The customer puts trust in the artist, as not to worry about what will go wrong, because mistakes can be fixed. The customer is at best bet when they keep eye contact with what the artist is doing. You don't watch the artist's face or body, you watch the hands and the gun and how it is being used on your skin. As soon as the star is finished, the tribal is next in line. To pass time by, the tattoo artist usually strikes a conversation with the customer. Mostly personal questions are asked, not as to get into their life, but
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