Smallman Syndrome - 197

Published: 04 April, 2011 - Featured in Skin Deep 197, April, 2011

This month has been very exciting for me as I’ve had the chance to catch up with an old friend that I haven’t seen for a while.  Even better, that same friend happens to be the person responsible for my video game girls sleeve – and you’ll note from the photographs around this column that is now finished and looking awesome.

The artist in question is the wonderfully talented Gemma Osborn, who had taken a wee break from working due to having a particularly cute little baby boy called Jesse.  With my arm now fully shaded (it’s still wrapped in cling film as I write this) I’ve already been thumbing through her sketchbook and plotting with her for ideas for a back piece.  Watch this space, but it will be awesome.

The last few bits of my sleeve were all in particularly painful places that I had been, if I’m honest, dreading having done.  You’ll note from the pictures that there is a lot of detail around my elbow which did make me want to weep.  I was a brave little soldier and got through it, of course – but did note to Gemma that my new least favourite noise in the world is that of a tattoo machine working overtime as you have shading right on your elbow bone.  It’s just the worst grinding noise and actually makes me oddly nauseous.  Yes, I know I’m a wuss.

I’ve also been reminded of the effort and care that an artist such as Gemma puts into a sleeve or large design on a person.  While I sit here claiming it is finished she is keen to point out that she still wants to do more to it, extra shading here, power lining there and so on.  I do feel somewhat like my arm is the Forth Bridge – work is never completely finished on it!  That said, I’m more than happy to hang out with Gemma and have her work her magic on me.  Really ridiculously pleased with my arm.

In other news, planning for my Edinburgh show (“Tattooligan”) is proceeding at pace with you guys helping out tremendously, thank you very much.  I always love getting your photos of daft tattoos, so please keep them coming in.  Thank you as well for all the emails and messages on Twitter regarding the silly questions that non-tattooed people (or “the normals”) ask us inked types on a regular basis.  You can get in touch with me with anything you like via the contact details at the end of the column.

One question I have for you this month:  After the ordeal of having my elbow tattooed (and the inside of my arm finished as well) I think they rank rather highly on the pain scale – maybe an 8.  My chest was a definite 9.  What do you think the most painful part of the body to get tattooed is?  Let me know your experiences and feel free to send me pictures as well.

By the time you next read a column from me I’ll have my show title tattooed across my stomach.  I’m told that is a 6 to 7 on the pain scale. 

I think I shall be the judge of that...

Twitter: @jimsmallman


Text: Jim Smallman