So at last, the mystery is over and the tattoo is out! 🙂 (Well, almost … I have to keep it covered for awhile longer, but at least you can get a first few photos :))
First things first…
Where did I have it done: Tattoo Alchemy, Montclair, by Jason Clay Dunn.
Did it hurt? It's hard to tell people yes or no to this question…. people's levels of pain tolerance are so different. Mine is fairly high, so the tattoo wasn't bad, but it did take 8 hours so suffice to say that after awhile, even *I* flinched a little 🙂 But overall, not bad and I think for an average tattoo, the upper arm isn't a bad place at all when it comes to level of pain 🙂
What did it cost? Not going to reveal it, it's not about the monetary value. I will tell you though, that I saved up for 6-8 months so that it didn't cut into my budget at all. For Christmas, on my list to Santa, I only put VISA gift cards/cash/gift card from Tattoo Alchemy, because I'd rather have friends/family pitch in for the tattoo rather than the usual gifts. Any extra cash I've come across during this time has gone straight into my tattoo fund, so when it was time to pay, I felt nothing but good about it.
It was also a nice way of doing this because everybody I love is now a part of this tattoo. My dearest friends and family members have all pitched in via Christmas gifts for this tattoo, so it's like they are all a part of it. It makes me feel good, and I will think about them all every time I look in the mirror.
Before I move on then, let me post the picture of my new tattoo, so that I can explain myself 😉
The original photo
So why in the world would I put Bret Michaels on my arm. I mean, somebody's face …. god forbid I ever stop being a fan, I'd have to chop my arm off 😉 (That's not likely by the way, me not being a fan of his…..).
I spent a long time weighing for and against. In fact, I got an appointment for this tattoo about 6 months ahead of time, so I had time to back out of it if I should regret it. (And also so I'd have time to save up). I kept thinking about all the reasons I would potentially regret this decision. My hair dresser and I were joking around about it even, and she said “What if he starts walking around beating up old ladies or something” … the thought is amusing because it's so ridiculous, but it does bring up a point. What if he does something that is really wrong and I completely despise. I found that it wouldn't matter. (I also find that this is a highly unlikely scenario by the way …. lol)
Then, as I kept reflecting on reasons why I shouldn't go through with this tattoo, I started realizing that most of my reasons were based on what OTHER PEOPLE would think. When it comes to tattoo, it is highly personal. You should never get a tattoo based on what other people think. It should be solely based on what YOU think. Once I realized this, I was totally at peace with my decision.
I'll tell you too, that when I look in the mirror (after this wrapping comes off), I don't just see a portrait of Bret. It's about more than just the portrait itself.
Bret Michaels is the very first role model/musician etc that I discovered on my very own without any influence from anybody. When I saw him on Nashville Star, I recognized him, sure, but i didn't know much about who he was. I didn't even realize that he was Poison. But I totally became a fan of the way he was, the way he acted …. the comments he made were sincere and it was obvious that he was being himself, “take it or leave it”. He performed his solo stuff on there and I loved it, and I totally became a fan of Bret. Not long after, I discovered the song “Talk Dirty to Me”. I'd play it over and over and over and over, and finally my husband said that “You know, that guy you like so much, Bret, that's him.” So as you see, on two separate occasions, totally independent from each other, I found Bret Michaels.
Some of you may think “Well, how could she not have heard of him or known he was Poison etc”, but the truth is I wasn't exposed to much music like that while growing up. My parents didn't play much music around the house, and when they did, it was mostly country. So my music taste growing up was influenced by my parents, my music taste during my teen years was influenced by my peers…. same in college. Pretty much my whole life, I've followed other people's tastes in music.
With Bret/Poison, I followed nobody but myself and look where it landed me. I'm truly a fan, of Bret himself and of course, of Poison. That's a reason why I think this will never change. I picked this guy out myself, there was nobody telling me to like him because he's “in”.
Besides being a great artist and a great performer, he's a big motivation as a business man and a human being. Last year I attended a concert of his at UCLA. As we were walking down the hallway towards our seats, there he was! I froze in place, totally star struck, plus his body guards or whatever kept people at a distance because Bret had to get back and get ready for the concert. Well, along the way, Bret stopped and shook hands with a couple of ushers… and introduced himself. Yes that's right. He INTRODUCED himself. All I could think was “That is incredibly polite and humble…. that he doesn't just parade through the hallway with his nose in the air. He stops and says hi to those hardworking ushers who most likely were working for free…. and he doesn't even take for granted that they know who he is.” In hindsight, I'm kicking myself for not going up to him anyway, despite his posses chasing people away, but at the same time, I really enjoyed being an observer/fly on the wall at that moment. It gave me incredible insight, IN PERSON I might add, and I'm thankful for that moment.
I have written plenty of blogs about why I like Bret Michaels so much. People always point out that it's because he's so good looking. WELL … that doesn't hurt, but honestly, a person need a lot more than just good looks for me to become a fan. It's all about their personality really, and their ways of behaving as a human being. If Bret looked like Albert Einstein (let's face it, not the sexiest man that ever walked this earth), I would still be a huge fan and I'd still want a portrait on my arm.
You can read more about my Bret Michaels' dedication and fascination on these blogs:
He really is a huge inspiration for me, he has fought a lot of battles to get where he is, he presents himself with flaws and all, I highly respect that about him that he doesn't hide behind a facade of perfection. Nobody is perfect. Nobody should ever pretend to be perfect, yet there are so many that do exactly that. That just makes me respect the ones that dare to be themselves even more. I hope to accomplish that someday, and I think i”m on my way 🙂
I love this tattoo. Jason Dunn did SUCH an amazing job, I've never seen such an amazing portrait before. It's lifelike, realistic and I'll of course post so many more pictures of this once it's healed. He is so talented, and I know he wants to be known more for his Japanese tattoo artwork, but when you can tattoo portraits like this one ….. chances are word will spread 😉
The only thing that remains now is to meet up with Bret Michaels and have him sign my arm. Yes, I could just copy a signature from the web and put it on here …. but what fun would that be? It would be so much more meaningful if it was his actual signature on there, so it's definitely my goal right now to have that done somehow.
Of course, I just spent all my money on this tattoo, so a VIP package is out of the question for now ….. lol.
Anyway …. think what you want about this tattoo. It's a fabulous piece of art, it means a lot to me personally and truly, in the style of Bret Michaels, it's who I am so take it or leave it.
“My body is my journal and my tattoos are my story” – fabulous quote by another great original, Johnny Depp.
Until we meet again ……… take care everyone.