There are many ways we can show our love and appreciation of the things that make us happy and mean a lot to us; cosplaying and prop building is one of the most popular forms of fandom expression, if you have children you could name them after your favourite character in a book, you can paint a mural of your favourite scene from film on a wall in your home, you could bake cookies in the shape of the logo or symbol of the series you’ve loved for years.
Long before people started thinking in terms of fandoms or of themselves of being geeks and nerds there has been one form of expression that has been used throughout the globe to show dedication, commitment and love.
I am, of course, talking about getting inked!
Tattoos have been a fascination of mine for years, I don’t remember when it first started but I know it was only fuelled when (in my late teens) all those `reality` style tattoo shows started popping up on nearly every channel.
At the moment I don’t have any tattoos, although I’ve spoken to countless studios and artists and I know exactly what I want to get done, I just haven’t found the artist I want making those first marks on me (I thought I did… even had an appointment booked before the artist stopped communicating, boo!)
Fandom and tattoos have started to go hand in hand; I’ve certainly noted a rise in the amount of people getting inked for the first time because they want to permanently carry what they love with them. I wanted to talk to some people about their decision to have a geek tattoo of their own done, over the next several weeks this series of articles will showcase anime tattoos, comic book ink and even a Shakespearian inspired design.
First up is Geek Syndicate’s own Melissa Voelker!
Hi Melissa, can you tell me a little bit about your tattoos?
“My two ‘nerd’ tattoos which are both anime/manga pieces. The big one is The Major from Ghost in the Shell, the smaller one on the arm is Usagi/Serenity from Sailor Moon. I got The Major about 11 years ago and Usagi/Serenity one year ago. They mean a lot to me, in large part because the anime/manga they were based on have meant so much to me over the years.”
Oh, awesome! I love both those animes! What inspired you to get them done?
“The Major is basically my favorite anime/manga character of all time and was the first thing I thought of when I decided I wanted an anime/manga related tattoo. Sailor Moon was pretty much my introduction to anime in the first place so I always intended to get a tattoo related to the show. It just took me a long time to find an image I really wanted permanently on my body that fit in the place I wanted to put it.”
Even with more and more “Laser removal” clinics for tattoos popping up and the trade in tattoo cover ups going strong, getting inked is still a pretty permanent thing – if you got them done today would you still get the tattoos or change anything about them?
“I don’t know that I would have done anything differently with them if I got them today. I loved the images I was using for the tattoos and I really wanted them where I got them. It might be nice if the bigger one was easier to see most of the time, but I love the size of it and it would have been hard to put a tattoo that big anywhere else. I was very happy with both pieces when I got them and am still excited every time I look at them.”
How have people responded to your tattoos when they see them?
“I’ve always gotten really good reactions to my tattoos from other people. If they had negative comments I never heard them. And I’ve had people so impressed with the big anime tattoo that they went out and got anime tattoos of their own.”
So if one of those people were to ask your advice about getting a fandom/geek tattoo, what would you tell them?
“I guess I’d tell someone considering a tattoo to really give it some thought before they get it done. They may not love the same thing in ten or twenty years that they love today. BUT they won’t regret their tattoo if they look at it as a piece of the story that makes up their life and that it will show them someday who they were and what they loved and remind them of why they loved it, even if they don’t love it anymore. Our love for our fandoms helps make up who we are as people and fans and there is no reason not to get that love etched on our skin for the world to see. But it should be done because of a true love of the fandom, and not because everyone else is doing it or because you’re just desperate to get a tattoo.”
Any tips for surviving the artist’s chair?
“Hrm…. just grit your teeth and bear it? It’s gonna hurt no matter what, and some areas hurt way worse than others (ribs are fantastically painful). Just keep in mind that it only hurts once and it is worth it in the end. So sit still, pay close attention to what the artist tells you (how to sit, how to breathe, remember to breathe, etc), let the artist know if the pain is too much and you need a break, and perhaps, if it helps, chant the Litany Against Fear from Dune in your head (that’s what I do during particularly painful sessions). And be sure to follow all after-care instructions for healing your tattoo, ‘cause that is really important.”
Melissa has given us some great advice about not only considering getting a geek tattoo but also some stella advice about getting inked in general! I know I’ll be keeping her comments in mind the first time the needle touches my skin. It was also great to hear about her amazing anime/manga tattoos. Next week I’ll be talking to someone who expresses their connection with the Cheshire Cat with some pretty cool tattoos.
If you want to get involved with the tattoo series there’s still time to become a contributor, so let me know! If you have geek/fandom tattoos or even if you’re a tattoo artist and want to talk about your work let me know in the comments section below or send me a tweet!
Until next time!
GS Blogger: Fia @madame_fifi