It's almost impossible to remember the last time a fad completely took over the country in the way that Pokémon Go has over the past two weeks. Nintendo, the parent company that owns Pokémon, has seen their stock double since the game was released on July 5th. Packs of enthusiastic fans mobbed Central Park to try and catch a rare critter. And people are getting tattoos of their favorite Pokémon to feed into the fever. Of course, that last part isn't new, tattoo artist Alicia Thomas has been helping people permanently "catch" their favorite Pokémon for almost the last two years.
Thomas has made it a special project to try and tattoo each of the 151 Pokémon and she is finally seeing the end of the tunnel. Thomas has already tattooed 138 different Pokémon, that means there are only 13 left to go. But that's only scratching the surface of how many Pokémon tattoos she has done. "I have done a lot of Pokémon in different styles—watercolor, geometric line and dotwork etc.," Thomas explains. "Some people are so committed to particular Pokémon that I wanted to avoid duplicating any, so I've tried to complete them in different styles to keep up with my project, remain faithful to the project by not duplicating any, and still have clients feel like they can get involved and get a Pokémon they might want over the ones that are left and have not been crossed off the list."
We spoke with Thomas about her project, how she plans to celebrate when she's finished and the phenomenon that is Pokémon Go. Check out the gallery below to see some of her best Pokémon tattoos.
Inked: For those that don't know about it already, please tell us a bit about the Pokémon tattoo project you have been doing. When did it start? What was the first one you tattooed? Where did the idea come from?
Alicia Thomas: The project started almost two years ago come August. I started it while joking around with one of my good friends from college while we reminisced about our childhoods. We talked about Pokémon and how our childhoods revolved around it and found ourselves joking about the idea of me tattooing all of the Pokémon. Once we stopped laughing we looked at each other and realized I should actually attempt that. Two years later, here I am. I've lost track now but I do remember the first three: 1st it was Scyther, then Bulbasaur (who was "caught" by my college friend who helped me decide on this fun endeavor), then Haunter.
What are some of the ones that you have yet to ink? Why do you think these stragglers haven't been gotten yet?
Some that have not been crossed off the list are Paras and its evolved form, Tentacool and its evolved form, Grimer, Doduo and its evolved form.
Has there been an explosion of people wanting to get Pokémon tattoos since Pokémon Go was released?
I have definitely notice an influx of emails since Pokémon Go has come out, but honestly, I generally get emails regarding the project every day. At this point in the project I usually get excited emails and once I send over the remaining list people can't commit to one of the last 13 stragglers. But now that this game has been released I have found that a few of the people that have reached out as of late generally just want to help with the project and take a Pokémon for the greater good, not necessarily caring which ones are left.
Did you see that there was a girl here in New York selling her Pokémon expertise over Cragislist?
I did see the article. Actually, the young lady featured in this article has one of my Pokémon tattoos… She helped out with the project and "caught" Golbat.
Have you gotten into Pokémon Go?
I've played Pokémon Go a little bit, I must confess I am generally a pretty booked artist and find myself with a waitlist until November. With that said, I am generally booked solid between 10am and 8 PM with consult and appointments. This is a game that definitely requires you to walk around a lot and unfortunately I just don't have a time in my schedule to do that. I do try to get out in between appointments and walk around the block a few times which just makes me a little jealous that I don't have more time to commit to Pokémon Go. It's a great game with a lot of potential and has definitely made a huge impact in a very short period of time!
Do you have any Pokémon tattoos of your own? Do you plan to get any?
I don't have any Pokémon tattoos, myself. I did commit to getting a Bulbasaur tattoo from a fellow artist once I do complete my quest. I feel like I need to earn the tattoo and wear it as a badge of honor when I do reach the end of my endeavor. For now I have settled for a little poke ball that I have on my left thumb.
Once you finish up this project do you have plans for doing any other sort of crazy on going tattoo project?
I'm constantly trying to attempt new projects and goals. I am absolutely a goal oriented visual artist which I have carried throughout all of my artistic endeavors, even before I became a tattoo artist. Jurassic Park is my favorite movie of all time and I have a quote from the movie tattooed across my chest to prove it. I really do think that my next project that is on a larger scale will have to revolve around that. There's something really wonderful about holding onto such memories—things such as Jurassic Park and Pokémon that have brought me nothing but pure happiness.