"Take a picture, it lasts longer," I blurted at a complete stranger giving me more than the once over.
I'm a bit testy (having been hospitalized for a week in a coma a month ago most likely to blame) and not in the mood to put up with the weird looks my ink seems to incite in some people. I'm at Wal-Fart, helping my Mom with her shopping and for some reason my freak magnet is on full blast and I am either attracting stares from people who really should have taken a good look in the mirror before they left the house, or the exact opposite reaction from homo's on the down low that actually stop me and want to ask me every imaginable question about my tats until they finally realize that I'm not featuring the attention and leave me alone. I knew going into the whole ink thing that it would be something that defined me in other people's eyes in ways both positive & negative and it was completely my choice to cover my arms in alien looking bug eyed creatures in day glow colors. When I'm in more urban areas such as NYC, L.A., SF and Portland, the attention I get is almost always 99% positive, leading to stimulating, very cool conversations, new friendships with other tatted souls and even the occasional job offer while shopping in stores which is how I ended up working at Levi's and Urban Outfitters. My ink is an homage to the art by my long time buddy Michael Economy and his crazy cast of Japanimae influenced characters. All of my 26 tats save for 3 are from his limited edition book that was released in conjunction with his one man show in Tokyo way back in the 90's. To me, it's perfectly natural and I usually forget they're even there. That is until I'm down here at my Moms in central Florida where once you leave her gated, retirees-only community, there is nothing but endless strip malls, confederate flag tatted & mulletted mutants and an endless capacity for counterfeit astonishment (OK I’m exaggerating, not everyone is a freak, they just happen to be the majority). So as I ignore the stares from a couple behind us on line, the man himself covered in a barrage of screaming skulls and flaming this-n-that tats, I have an epiphany, a moment of clarity, my tension miraculously lifted. I look them straight in the eyes and smile and say hello, completely throwing them for a loop and think to myself how lucky I am to be an individual and not part of the crowd. My ink is unique and so am I, a non victim to the whims of the masses and comfortable enough in my own marked skin to simply shrug off the haters and go my own way, not allowing my bad mood to dictate my reactions and instead killing the annoyance off with kindness. It's so much easier to just smile and go about my own business rather than let someone else’s ignorance bug me.
Walter Cessna (the link to his site...it's very adult content) is a long-time friend, and maybe even an old war buddy we've been through so much, and yeah...he is a full-on individual who knows a shitload about a lot of amazing things. Plus, he's a damn good writer and I'm pretty honored to know him the way I do and have his work here. He's a writer, photographer, creator, yadda yadda yadda...he's a true artist. Oh yeah...and he has some rad amazing sleeves from the work of his friend Michael Economy. Thanks, Walt, for the awesome story.
crazy stewing image by none other than Chris Matty-ington!