Why would I do this to myself? It's who I am.

My tattoos are as much a part of me as the air I breath and the blood in my veins. So when people ask me why I would do this to my body -- I them it is simply who I am. I wear my heart on my sleeve in a literal sense. 

I cannot count the number of times in the course of my life, that I have been told that I wouldn't amount to anything because of all of the ink I have in my skin. In the early years this always bothered me and I would try and justify my position to these people -- I could have spoken in ancient Mayan for all the good it did. Now I couldn't care less. I am who I am, take it or leave it. I hope that others can adopt this mindset and live their life as themselves. 

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Now the sentiments towards me have changed. Now people are always telling me that I don't need anymore tattoos. I have this to say, at this point would more ink really even matter in the larger scheme of things? I long ago made the decision to finish my body suit, to become one complete giant tattoo. And with the way the stigma around ink has been changing over the last few years, let's face it, just to continue to keep some originality I am going to have to continue to push the boundaries of what is considered respectable. I do encourage those thinking about getting tattoos, whether it is their first time in the chair, or just another step up the ladder -- do not be afraid to get what you want. Don't let other people dictate how you chose to decorate your own body.  

I hope to be able to live the rest of my life with people judging me by who I am as a person. I want to be able to find work based on my credentials and abilities and not on the ink poking out of the collar of my shirt or the cuffs of my sleeves. 

I am not ashamed of who I am, are you?

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 Alex Scantlebury

Alex Scantlebury is a married father of two young daughters, as well as being a very vocal tattoo enthusiast.

For more info on ink: FB / Twitter / Tumblr

 

My Artist Recommendations: Ottawa

Over the last three posts I have been trying to impart some advice on you to help you in the world of tattoos. I decided this time I would recommend some individual artists.

Derek Leech: Soulful Creations, Orleans Ontario

Derek has been tattooing for almost twenty years. He is the owner/operator of his own shop in Ottawa's east end. Previously he had worked out of Universal Tattoos in downtown Ottawa. I have been getting tattooed by Derek for going on six years now and I have never once walked away unsatisfied. Derek is especially well known for his darker style, the creepier the better. 

What I think sets Derek apart from the rest is, he has the softest hand of anyone that has ever put ink into my skin. This is match made in heaven for some of you first timers that are worried about the amount of pain that you will be in.

Nick "The Fixx" Leonard: Ventura Blvd. Tattoos & Body Piercings, Barrhaven Ontario

Nick became one of my artist completely by chance. I was out in Barrhaven last year and decided I was in the mood for some ink. I popped into Ventura Blvd, on a whim, without an appointment and was taken care of after just a short wait. It was just a lucky stroke that I would get an International/National award winner.

He is most known for his American traditional style as well as his innovative brand of tribal done through "pointilism." If you are in the west-end of Ottawa, I highly recommend Nick, and if Nick is not available, anyone at Ventura Blvd who has some free time.  

 

Justin Diotte: Tattoos by Justin Diotte, Navan Ontario

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Justin has been tattooing for going on a full decade, and I have had the privilege of knowing him the entire time. He is essentially self-taught. I have witnessed the growth of his skills in his art and I trust him with any kind of piece I feel like getting.

Script work is one of the more difficult aspects of  tattooing and Justin is extremely proficient in this particular art. He is exceptionally friendly and his facilities are inviting and comfortable, as well as conforming to the strictest sterilization practices.

Check out his portfolio on his facebook page.

 

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 Alex Scantlebury

Alex Scantlebury is a married father of two young daughters, as well as being a very vocal tattoo enthusiast.

More Info on ink: FB / Twitter / Tumblr

You get what you pay for.

It has never been truer in any other industry that you get what you pay for. Tattoos are specialty pieces of art work, and the artists that give them to you have spent years honing their craft, and have earned the right to charge a respectable fee for what they do. In fact, if an artist is offering you a deal that seems to be “too good to be true,” well it probably is.                                                                                                            

 Tattoo done by: Justin Diotte

Tattoo done by: Justin Diotte

The average cost of a tattoo is between $100.00 to $125.00 per hour. This is a lesson that is most often learned the hard way, exactly the same way that I had to learn it. As the saying goes, “with age comes wisdom,” well… they were not lying. In my early days of getting inked, I did exactly what I now preach against; I shopped around for the cheapest price I could find without looking at the credentials (portfolio) of the artists. I ended up eventually settling on a shop and artist who will remain nameless and I ended up paying the price both literally and hypothetically. Now eight to nine years later I am having to pay premium prices to have all of this sub-par work covered up. Hindsight is 20/20.                 

If I could back in time and tell my younger self anything on the subject, it would be to go with whoever was going to charge me the most for what I was asking for. Now, I am not saying that you are going to be held hostage to these prices for the rest of your life. As the years go by you will begin to form relationships with your artists that will allow you certain privileges moving forward. I do have one artist who only charge me sixty-five dollars per hour. Over the seven years he has been putting ink into my skin we have become good friends outside of the tattoo shop, but for those first couple of years I still paid the same prices that everyone else did. In other words, you have to earn that discount price.

                One last piece of advice I will leave with you prospective tattoo clients. NEVER, I repeat, NEVER, walk into a shop and try and weasel a lower price out of an artist by telling them that the guy down the street said that he would do it for a cheaper price.

 

 

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 Alex Scantlebury

Alex Scantlebury is a married father of two young daughters, as well as being a very vocal tattoo enthusiast.

For more info:    FB / Twitter /  HTTP

A picture is worth 1000 words

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As every picture tells a story either about the person who painted it, or captured it, or about the subject matter within it, so do the tattoos that a person inks into their skin. Every person is unique, as is every story that their tattoos tell.

My story can be read in the images inked into my skin. There might not be any chronological distinction to the when and where, but the whole story is there. My knuckles have the words “fear” and “hope” written across them, for I once chose to live my life without any thought of either of those two emotions. On top of my right hand I have the word “unforgiven” to remind me of the time in my life where an ex-girlfriend’s parents told me that I would never be forgiven for how I had chosen to live my life up to that point. I even went as far as to have my own tombstone tattooed onto my back to remind me that death is certain and it is constantly walking behind us. Death is one of the ever present motivations for my tattoos, on my stomach is a tribute to five of my friends; all of whom died before they were 25.

Not everything that I have on my body is as depressing as that. I have numerous tributes to my family, to my wife and daughters as well as my mother and sister (it can be said that getting a woman’s name tattooed on you is taboo… clearly I didn't listen). I even have a “portrait” of my favorite superhero character inked onto my ribs for no other reason than for the fun of it and I thought it was cool.

I have random tattoos beyond counting that hold no specific meaning to me other than I liked the way that they looked. The point I am trying to make is that not every tattoo has a specific meaning or story behind it, but every tattoo you see on a person gives you a bit of insight as to who they are as a person and possibly a chapter in the story of what made them that way.

Every time I look in the mirror I see the ink I had put across my throat, “Only the strong survive.” It reminds me of who I am. What do you think it says about me?

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 Alex Scantlebury

Alex Scantlebury is a married father of two young daughters, as well as being a very vocal tattoo enthusiast.

 

FB /  Tumblr / Twitter

And so it begins...

 Yes it hurts - a lot 

Yes it hurts - a lot 

 Getting your first tattoo is a badge of honour; it puts you into a select group of people who have adorned their bodies with permanent ink. Where you go from there is up to you, and quite literally the sky is the limit.

 I was 17 when I got my first tattoo. It was bribery from my mother to get me to pass all of my Grade 11 classes. It took me a few weeks of summer school but I got it done. It was great motivation for a guy my age. Nearing 10 years later I have over 50 percent of my body covered in ink. I have sat in the chair or lain on the kitchen table and many other variations of the two for over 130 hours to finish what I have up until now.

My first tattoo was a dream catcher, placed on the outside of my left bicep, a pretty standard spot for first timers. It has long since been covered up, but please don’t misinterpret the action, I did not regret getting it, I had got it young and it didn’t suit the direction I was headed in my mid 20’s. I think it is safe to say that when I tell you that at that age you should definitely think before you ink, I might just know what I’m talking about. Alas there will always be those who think that they know better (I used to be one of them) and just do it anyway, thus stabilizing part of a tattoo artist’s pay cheque.

I happen to have a little more advice for anyone interested in tattoos. One: Yes, it bloody well hurts. I have work done on almost every part of my body and I have never once found one that “felt good,” so stop asking every tattooed person you see on the street if it hurt. Use your common sense. Two: There is only one difference between people with tattoos and those without: We will not judge you for not having them.

Keep all of this in mind when deciding what you plan to do with your skin; you only have one living canvas, so make smart choices.

 

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Alex Scantlebury

 

Alex Scantlebury is a married father of two young daughters, as well as being a very vocal tattoo enthusiast.                     

For more information: Ink Master /  Tommy Helm / Ventura Blvd Tattoos & Piercings