It’s an evolutionary coping mechanism to want to put people into generalized boxes, but to approach people with an open mind, to treat them as humans is to form the most unexpected camaraderie.
We were at the shop for more than 12 hours, and so I had multiple chances to peak over the tattoo artists’ shoulders as they translated customer visions into their respective iPads.
They worked quickly, and it was mesmerizing. I asked them when they made the switch to digital, to which they said about 3 years ago. And we all agreed how life-changing the Apple Pen was.
“Remember the Bamboo Tablet?” Ron asked.
“Oh god, we hated that thing. Looking up at the screen to draw just never felt right,” Jo and I both chimed in.
Then we briefly reminisced about the nuances of illustrating in Photoshop, and we all thanked the heavens for the glory of stroke tools and Procreate.
We also talked about focal points, light sources, stylistic choices, artist technique, paintings, Salvador Dali’s life, and the self-ruining concept of “Being Hangry.”
Later in the night, I thanked them for making me feel welcomed and included in the group, especially for not making fun of me for being too energetic or looking too young; Because a bartender ruined my 21st birthday by making fun of how I look the whole night, to which they all yelled “F*CK HIM.”
And then one of the tattoo artists, who once got pulled over for how he looks with his tattoos, told us about how ironically his family thinks that all he does is “draw and have fun,” to which I said “What?? I saw you work so hard the whole damn day. F*CK THAT.”
After everyone else had gotten tattooed, and I had an entire arm covered in temporary kid’s tattoos, we eventually went home at 3 in the morning.
And I continue to wonder how different and colorful conversations could be... if we didn’t always assume what people are about.