One Sunday morning we had to wake up at 6:30am to take on a journey to Tartu for visiting Mooni. This is going to be a long and painful day. For myself!
I tend to think, as do my clients, that a tattoo artist encounters the process every day and probably knows every little detail that comes with it. You know, that’s what makes the whole thing worse: I’ve seen all kinds of reactions and artists really only remember the worst ones, so once under the needle themselves, all of those come flowing back into conscious memory. At least it’s like that for me.
The idea to get my whole back tattooed one day came to me about 5 years ago: if I ever find the right artist for the job, I’ll get it done. For me, it works the other way: I find my artist, and the design will follow. I went to Street Mirror Expo this year and after skimming through the gallery for the event, I found a crazy awesome design by, for me, a completely unknown female tattoo artist: Mooni Treier. I had previously talked to a range of tattooers about my back piece and none of them showed the enthusiasm I was waiting for. So although expecting her to not be any more willing, Mooni was super thrilled and wanted me to visit immediately! Full of joy, I went for a consultation and had such a positive experience. Mooni is an incredibly warm and kind person and talking to her gave me an immediate sense of trust.
Cooperation on the draft went smooth and after a few small changes here and there, the perfect back piece was ready! A couple months wait and the long-awaited January 13th arrived. The journey from Tallinn to Soulmark studio by train is very comfortable: an hour and 50 minutes by train, 7 minutes walk from the station and you’re there. The studio rooms had moved from the last time I was there and wow! The new location looked fantastic: the loft-style studio is super open and cozy and so-so stylish. I immediately felt at home. I’m a proper sterility junkie and the scent of cleanliness hits the moment you walk in.
Without further ado, we got to work: Mooni had the stencil printed out in the correct measurements and after a few tries, got it placed perfectly. We agreed to do the upper part of the back first since the lower part reaches the booty and as I wear 3 pairs of pants in the winter, the tattoo would never heal. We’ll leave that for the summer. Still, there’s so much to do and linework has to get finished.
I sat in the chair and was as nervous as all my own clients before the first line. Ignorance kills, with no idea what it feels like. Once Mooni started, I was conveniently reminded of how low my pain tolerance is. It’s interesting, feeling as if someone is drilling a cavity in your back, but somehow making it through 2 hours before the hunger hits, and then 4 hours after that. Soon Mooni and I started subtly sighing one after another as the exhaustion hit. All but the upper right chrysanthemum got done, so it has to be left for next time when we’ll hopefully get some colour on too.
As it turns out, tattooing is awfully painful for me. I ordered a product called dr. Numb from Lithuania: hopefully next time we’ll get some use out of it. It works best when the skin has already been tattooed. For the linework, it wouldn’t have had any point. Thankfully most tattoo artists I know are similar snowflakes, so I don’t feel too bad. And I did somehow push through a whole 6 hours!
The evening return trip was tiring as my body had had enough: a slight fever and proper sleepiness took over. Once home I fell right into bed and had a good night’s sleep right until morning. Although I still felt a little tired, it was nothing compared to last night. Can’t wait for the next session!