Speaking of Hannya’s…

As I’ve been posting drawings from my latest sketch book Female Demon , I want to make a little break and write about this guy: “Mr.Showtime” Scott Summers. I met him in my old shop, back in 2011. He was in Japan to fight a pro-wrestling match.

In Japan this sport genre have many fans and followers and in the native tongue is know as Puroresu, having the roots on the American “pro-wrestling” but with their own twist. He choose to have the Hannya tattooed on his hand, and I tough his story would go “hand in hand” with the Hannya topic that is being featured.

The other reason I’m bringing this story here, is because many of my customers do know that during the years I’ve been refusing to tattoo hands, necks, faces and visible places in the body. Sounds like I’m trying to clear a big contradiction, but at the end I do also have to recognize that rules are already contradictory in a such underground, rebellious art as it is tattooing itself.
From time to time I have to admit that I have to test myself in such rules stipulated by me. And this was the time, the “Showtime”.

Having tattoos on hands and necks seems to be the rule now days. We click on a music video and easily can see rappers and else with tattoos sticking out their clothes.Basketball players, skaters, any young guy performing some sort of extreme or not sports, you name it.

With this landscape, a fan or the average guy grows up thinking it is the most common thing to do when you reach the legal age to get a tattoo. And being the guy in the other side of the tattoo machine I personally do think is my responsibility to say “no” if there’s not an a apparent reason to get ink done in such spot.

I always explain that life is long, and longer than the tattoo itself sometimes. We change jobs, wife’s, addresses, etc, etc. But we can’t change our tattoos. And if the tattoo is visible, it limits our choices for change.
So, does it means I’m some sort of God that can judge people’s free will choices?

-“Why don’t you tattoo what they want? Aren’t they customers? The customer is always right!”
Should be the common voice (choice) for anyone doing public business.
But not for tattooing, at least in my book. And I don’t even mean visible tattoos in this case. All the time, I meet people coming up to me and saying: I always wanted to get a tattoo. And when I see they don’t have one, I automatically presume they maybe don’t need to get one.

So, I came to the conclusion that tattooing itself is for adults only. You have to be 100% serious and stand for your choice.
I can’t really explain this clearly with words, but from my experience on working with different customers, immediately I know (OK, maybe judge…) if someone’s “heart” is in there for the commitment of getting the tattoo done.

And believe me, I met many “tough” guys on the road, and some were not so tough as their words when they sited on the bench for the actual tattooing.
So, time is one of the big things I do not want to loose. And money is something that should come later to gratify my mission accomplished, and not to hide the bitter taste of having done something wrong on and with someone.

I would always want to put my head on the pillow at the end of the day and say to myself: I did good today!
I prefer to refuse actually any tattoo that I think is gonna end with a bad result. And I don’t mean artistically or so.
In terms of consciousness, I do prefer to not get money rather than having a shitty tattoo on my portfolio.

For some, tattoos in the hand or any visible place might be derogatory or even annoying so to speak. For me, I started to look at hand tattoos differently since I worked on Scott’s.
If someone is down to put their heart on something that society or the average person might not understand or either accept, then he might get the respect at the least. Most of the matches Scott does, involves a lot of physical pain, hours of training behind peoples eyes, and ultimately one’s can not bleed in public just for economical interests. And this should be respected.

I can make endless comparisons of pro-wrestling with tattooing. Not just as a profession, but the actual process of tattooing and the results and stigmas that might be carried for the rest of the wearers life.
Puroresu had to fight (literally) their way through and still not being fully recognized as a “sport”. While even some of the fans of Puroresu do prefer to call it “entertainment”.
So, is a long and endless debate. Same does apply for tattooing. Some argue it is “art”, while other argue it a ultimate state of rebellion, so it might match words like “underground, underworld” and so.

All in all, only the ones that went to the process and mostly important, the experience of carrying the tattoo and being always reminded every time someone does spot it, might not be suitable for a common guy that wants to secretly live his life (and dreams) like all the other sheep’s walking towards one way.

So, here’s this guy asking me to help on his “public statement” or “commitment” on this very visible place, marking forever that he’s not the sheep. Does he want to be the Shepard or the wolf?
The answer is on his head, he had his mind ready. And believe me, even with a such heavy task I faced in my hands; it came in fraction of seconds that we would make the best of a “tag team” (to use a Puroresu term) to hammer this tattoo down. And I mean “heavy task” in terms of applying a good work, as I always refused to tattoo such spot; so naturally it was my first time experiencing it. And understanding that this man was either going to walk away the door with an extra “luggage” of stigma or pride, all as a result from this very choice of ours.

And I never felt that good for breaking my rule that day. But again, always there’s a way when there’s a will.
That night I had the best sleep, even with the ring announcer screaming loud on my pillow side:
“Ladies and Gentleman’s…from the blue corneeeeer, please welcome! Misteeeeeer Show time! Scoooooott Summeeeeeeeers!!!”


現在、般若スケッチブック“Female Demon”から下絵を紹介しているため、過去に彫った般若の写真を見直しているとこちらの作品が出てきた。彼の名はスコット・サマーズ。2011年に来店し、その時は日本へプロレスの試合に出るため数日の滞在中だった。










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