ON GIVING YOUR FIRST TATTOO
Tyrrell on his first tattoos: My first six tattoos were on friends or people I worked with, free tattoos. After those six, I worked on paying customers, and that's when I was really nervous. My hands were literally shaking. David Sena of North Star Tattoo (New York, NY) on trial and error: When I started to learn to tattoo, I went to St. Mark's Place and asked the squatters and punks if they wanted free tattoos. I learned by trial and error.
Coffey on his first tattoo: I did my first tattoo in May of 2007. It was on my friend Jack, who had a little Mad Hatter tattoo on his arm. It was an old tattoo, so we retouched it. I was so nervous that I couldn't get my hand to stop shaking. I felt really bad for Jack. It took me three hours to do a tattoo that I could do in about a half-hour today. But Jack was a champ. Honestly, I think that it was a pretty good job. I was so aware of everything that was going on that it was a pretty clean tattoo for my first one. I had it in my book for quite a while.
Joe Capobianco of Hope Gallery (New Haven, CT) on doing his first tattoo: My apprenticeship was anything but traditional, so I tattooed myself, the first time I held a set-up machine, inside of two weeks. That first time I let it rip on skin was my own ankle, and it was literally a handful of lines and some shading. My first free tattoo on another person was a tribal scorpion on a friend. I can honestly say my hands were shaking like a leaf. I can't begin to say how freaked out I was putting needle to skin on another person. My apprenticeship included 13 free tattoos, done over the course of two weeks. Like I said, not a typical apprenticeship, and not one I'd recommend to others.