I (Art) was tattooing at the "House of Tattoo" in Venice Beach in 96, about 2 years before moving to Vancouver. I worked at a shop on the boardwalk... it was so great cuz you when it wasn't busy, you could sit on the front step and people watch all day. Sometimes, there was a piece of dog shit on the boardwalk and with thousands of people walking, we'd place bets on who would step in in it! On weekends or on every day in the summer it was packed with tourists and weirdos... and if you in the shop, and couldn't see outside, no need to worry, they would come into the shop. Weekends there are packed... street performers and people doing weird sh*t. I swear, you could pull one of your balls out, paint it blue, sprinkle some glitter on it and people would walk by, put a tip in your hat and say, "cool ball, keep up the good work!"
Well, one day this guy walks in. He was obviously femenine and gay but was trying to act, and look real tough and straight, jaw clenched, mean look on his face... he comes right up to the counter and in his high "Rip Taylor" style voice he goes, "Who Duzzzz Cover upssss!?" I jumped up and in his same voice I go, "I dooooo!" "Well"... I said "what do you need to cover?" He says, "Oh, it's something on my back, I got it at a party, I passed out and when I woke up, it was there!" I go, "Let me see it." he says, "It, IN NO WAY, reflects who I am... I woke up and it was there!" I go, "I need to see it." He says, "It doesn't reflect who I am, Before I show you, you have to ssssssswear that you won't tell anyone... I want an orca." I go, "I sssssswear! but I really need to see it so I can tell you if it's able to be worked on." He goes, "OK, you promisssssed." I go, "Your secret's safe with me..."
He pulled up his shirt and on his back, VERY WELL DONE, was a tattoo of a man, portrait style - whoever did it KNEW their sh*t.... this man had a black leather hat, dark glasses on, a large handlebar moustache, real thick neck and shoulders- had the physique of a body builder, he had a leather vest on, black chaps motorcycle boots on AND NO PANTS!!! the tattoo had a huge d*ck that hung down past his knees... like if someone had sewn a horse dick on him!!! I stared it for a long minute... I couldn't believe it and then I said, "What shop did you say you got that tattoo at?" he got pissed and said, "I DIDN'T GET IT AT A SHOP BUDDY, I passsssssssed out at a party and there it wassssss!" I go," You're a f*cken liar, that thing is tooooo well done to have been done at a party when you were passed out. It would have taken at least 5-7 hours to do that tattoo, it's very well done, who did it?" It looked like work by some Hollywood artists who's work I knew so I threw out some names... he got so pissed, "uh, uh... CAN YOU COVER IT OR NOT?!" I said, "sure..." so we made and appointment for the next week, and he walked out the door. He never came back...
UNREAL... this is only a small part of the stuff we see in our jobs as tattooers. We could tell stories all day long... come down and see for yourselves! At the corner of Cambie and 14th!