Tattoo experiences present surprises, both good and bad


    If there wasn’t a sign, people might be fooled. The linoleum floor is perfectly swept, and the soft hum in the background could be the buzzing of a beard trimmer. However, this is no beauty shop. This is Twisted Apple Tattoo.
    “You get your first one, and then you get addicted to them,” said Anthony Crivelli, Junction City resident, who was waiting to receive his eighth tattoo Tuesday. “It’s like a bad-boy image. They make me feel pretty badass – true story.”
    Though Crivelli said he likes most of his tattoos, he said he regrets two of them.
    “This one looks like a color-by-numbers,” he said as he pointed to a large bubble-style tattoo, “and this one [a faded image of Yosemite Sam] is just too white trash.”
    Matt Whitehead, Fort Riley resident, said he “experienced a shenanigan” when receiving his tattoo. Unlike Crivelli’s regrettable tattoo, though, Whitehead’s was not an issue of poor choice – he was the victim of a crazy tattoo artist.
    “My best friend and I went up to Indianapolis to this pretty reputable place – we were pumped,” he said. “We went to their shop, and it was closed because they were hosting a local fair. So I thought, ‘Well, I’d rather do it at the shop, but I’m sure they have pretty sterile set-ups at the fair.'”
    Unfortunately for Whitehead and his friend, the fair’s tattoo area did not look reputable.
    “It ended up just being a bunch of RVs parked around this racetrack, and a bunch of rednecks getting drunk,” Whitehead said. “The [tattoo shop’s] RV was a 1980s piece of crap – the door was falling off the hinges.”
    Whitehead said he considered turning back when he saw the conditions of the make-shift tattoo parlor, but was hot and sweaty and ready to get what he came for. When he entered the RV, he was greeted with another shock.
    “Sitting in there were these old-school hippies with long hair, and it smelled like hemp – they were actually smoking weed at the time,” he said. “So, I’m getting my tattoo done by these two high hippies.”
    Whitehead said the atmosphere inside the RV was heightened by the happenings outside.
    “There was this one guy – every 10 minutes he’d wake up from his drunken stupor and start banging on the door, and the whole thing would shake,” he said. “As [the tattoo artist] was giving me the tattoo, instead of just stopping, he would work with me as it swayed.”
    Whitehead said the degree of pain was more than he expected, and his arm went numb during the 4-hour process. Whitehead said the next occurrence in this string of events surprised him the most.
    Before receiving the tattoo, Whitehead showed the artist the design  he wanted – the word “veritas” (“truth” in Latin) scrolled underneath a tribal-style cross. However, that was not what he ended up with.
    “Looking in the mirror, I noticed something on the ‘s’ – I had no idea what it was,” he said. “I thought I was imagining it at first, and really closely. They had added this forked snake-tongue.”
    Whitehead confronted the artist about the design change. The artist’s response: “We thought we’d add a little creativity to it.”
    The artist gave him a $20 discount to cover the surprise addition, lack of cleanliness, and repetitive shaking of the RV. Whitehead said he is satisfied with his tattoo, but  also said, “I have to live with it for the rest of my life, so he could have at least asked.”
    Whitehead said he is not planning to get any more tattoos.     Chris Tassin, artist at Twisted Apple, gave advice for those considering permanent body art.
    “Get a big one so it will last forever – not a small one so it fades out in five years,” Tassin said. “If they get a small one, it fades out because you’re mostly made out of water. So in five years, it ends up looking really bad.”
    While there are many problems to watch out for when getting a tattoo, Antonio Delacruz, Junction City resident, said nothing will hold him back from getting as many as possible.
    “I’ll keep going until I run out of space, and then I’ll put on more and start over again,” he said.