Skin Deep 268

Skin Deep 268 13 September 2016 268

Summer 2016. The time of year in which people forget to put all of their clothes on and hope you will forgive them for it later. 

I took the dog down to the beach for a few games in the surf and found a group of these forgetful people firing up a barbecue in a box. Curious as always about what they had chosen to decorate themselves with, we wandered towards them pretending not to be interested but Hector can only contain himself for a limited period of time and it wasn’t long before he had crashed the party and I got a good look at the guy with the back-piece that had intrigued me.

In an ideal world, all Japanese back-pieces should slay giants. There are rules to follow, decades of great examples to call upon for reference and more stories to tell than fall out of my mouth after too many bottles of Desperado. To my eternal disappointment, from 30 feet away, it looked like a tattoo that needed to be seen up close but up close, it was a tattoo best seen from 30 feet away.

I dropped all of the questions I had lined up for him in the sand, the sea took them away to a watery grave and that was the end of that line of enquiry. The tattoo was reasonably new too which is more than likely what left the bad taste in my mouth. A lot of people I cross paths with are always keen to point out that art is subjective and I agree, but they are never quite so keen on agreeing in return when I say that being able to draw properly is not subjective in the slightest. 

Some seconds later, the sun came out from behind the cloud and I spotted a beautiful little seahorse on the guy's friend. Maybe four inches long, immaculate lines with nothing but black ink holding it together. A beautiful tattoo and this one we did talk about. We talked about the story behind it, how far he had gone to have it worked up by the person he always wanted it done by and together we breathed new life into a tattoo that was more than four years old. 

There’s no point to this story other than the obvious. The barbecue in a box was hot, we both got a share of meat from the grill and left them to it because nobody likes a couple of dogs outstaying their welcome at a party.

When we had gotten far enough away, I looked back over my shoulder at them and sure enough, the dragon I had originally been drawn to no longer looked like it had been reversed into by a truck. 

There’s a lesson in this for all of us but I’m not sure what it is.


Back Issues