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Indelible scribblings with black ink and cocaine.

AUSTRALIA | Monday, 15 December 2008 | Views [2868]

The insane scribblings of cocaine addled tattooist trying his hand at portraiture. How Tuff is Tff? How stupid is stupid?

The insane scribblings of cocaine addled tattooist trying his hand at portraiture. How Tuff is Tff? How stupid is stupid?

With my left leg now tattooed from ankle to knee, I'm starting to think that enough is enough; maybe. Not that the tattoo addiction has subsided any. It's just that I have lost faith in my ability to distinguish between a talented artist and a backyard scratcher. I thought colouring vast tracts of skin black would be bread and butter for even the most creatively challenged tattooist. Previous experience has taught me a lesson I flatly refuse to learn about colouring in being a lot more complicated than what it obviously sounds though.

With any money in excess of a weeks living expenses being deemed superfluous, my mind turns to tattoo fantasies often about fixing the fuck-ups of the last artist. Admittedly the problems with the most recent work I had done in Melbourne stemmed from my crafty non-adherence to even basic hygiene protocol. Is spending money on such unnecessary things like tattoos the usual behaviour of a back packer? I'd already risen above the level of flash packer to the rank of 'upper class' in the eyes of my Irish diamond Laura. My preference for perculated Italian coffee separated me from folk content to kick start their day with instant Black and Gold paint stripper.

All I wanted to do was add an extra inch or two to the existing design to frame the piece better than what I felt the ring of stars did. Simple enough surely? I was lured into a studio by the promise of a female artist purely for reasons of never being tattooed by a woman before. None were present on my visit but a coloured pin cushion with distinctly human features won my custom with his laid back friendliness. I made an appointment for the following day after showing him some photos of the desired outcome I had drawn on my leg in texta. He took a quick look and assured me of its simplicity.

The following day Mr. Smoked-too-many-drugs-to-tattoo-a-straight-line decided to tattoo whatever the fuck took his fancy at the time. It didn't turn out too bad considering it was nothing like what I wanted. That he decided to tattoo something completely different didn't come as any real surprise under the circumstances. His demeanour seemed more laid back and less connected to reality than when I first spoke to him.

I returned again the next day to see if his drug dealing was any better than his tattooing. Wanting a fiddy bag of weed he instead offered me cocaine of which he had been sampling liberally. He was even more out of it this day with vacant stares and incoherent ramblings interjecting his own tales of cosmic injustice. Returning to Earth long enough to note the sketch pad I had under my arm, he then returned to a galaxy far, far away to share his portrait skills with me. What ended up adorning the page went far beyond classification but can safely stated to be the worst attempt at drawing a face that any person has ever made. A half tattooed punter stared wide eyed and incredulous at his entire performance and seemed to make a few half hearted dashes out the door before obligation overcame better judgment.

Why is the history of my leg tattoo so intimately entwined with white powder and tattooists too fucked up to follow basic instructions? The tattooist in Thailand saw a spoon and lighter as unusual but necessary elements to his tattoo kit. And although this most recent cosmic adventurer was less like Timothy Leary the day he tattooed me, he still managed to obliterate the prismatised star that once sat front and centre of my leg piece.

So this tattoo may have to remain my unfinished masterpiece as I fear any further work might continue the mistakes that have defined it. I'm lucky in that they have been relatively insignificant and left me sporting a work of art that I am still extremely pleased with. Any further work might prove my luck has finally run out and reignite my dreams of amputating my leg and the useless fleshy clog of a foot that dangles impotently at the end of it. From now on tattoos will be confined to the extremities where forceful removal won't affect my ability to utilise vital body functions.

Tags: misadventures

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