Tattoo You

Today I went in for a consultation with Zulu Tattoo artist, Lantz, which is in West Hollywood. We are putting our heads together to design a full sleeve of ink for me which will be started in September. I am really excited about working with him. He does some really incredible work, and the shop functions like a friendly, well-oiled machine. I am so happy I’m getting a tattoo from him, in that shop. Truly.

Now I have to purge some grievances about a previous experience I had at the ever popular, High Voltage Tattoo, better known as Kat Von D’s shop in the show called LA Ink. What a colossal disappointment that was.

For months I had been emailing the shop, Kat Von D, and one of the artists – Kim – who is also on the show, about her designing and getting started on a full arm for me, but never heard back from any of them over the course of 6 months or more. Because their site says that walk-ins are welcome, and because my boyfriend’s sister was here from St Paul and wanting to get a tattoo there, we decided to drive over to the shop during their hours of operation, which are from 9 PM -12 AM. Seriously.

When we get there, the stars from the show are of course not working there. Instead there are a handful of artists that will do a first come/first serve tattoo for you, provided you are cool enough. We wait in a line at the receptionist, who is a 20-something chick with too much make up on. She makes no eye contact with us. She is very busy joking with the guy sitting next to her, who may or may not work there. If he does, he is certainly doing a whole lotta nothing.

I ask how I can get an appointment with Kim. Impossible. You must email her (as I was doing) and if she’s into it, she’ll respond. So I ask about the artists that are there and she tells me they are all booked up for tonight. There are no appointments. You just have to come at the beginning of their 3 hour shift each day and hope you get in for a tattoo. This girl cannot be bothered with further questions; she is busy talking with the just-sitting-there guy and 2 tattoo artists that are just kind of hovering around with nothing to do.

I begin looking through each artist’s portfolio and ask, “Which one is Dennis?” I like his portfolio. She pauses and looks to one of the hovering ones while answering me: “Dennis? Uhhmmmm…” and Dennis, who is standing right there (perhaps they were going to tell me he wasn’t there?) says he is Dennis. I ask if I can talk to him right then about a sleeve I want to do, and he says, “I guess so” and I pull out some print outs and sketches I had with me. When I tell him I’m a painter, he immediately says he doesn’t like to work with other artists because “two artists together butt heads.” Really? I did not know that. Sounds like he’s had some bad experiences. And I tell him that I’m looking for a tattoo artist who can just take my rough ideas and run with them. They have total freedom to create whatever they wanted from there. But he says he’s just not into the ideas I have and is not inspired. “It’s just not my thing,” he said. “I’m just being honest.” I tell him I’m glad he is being honest because I don’t want someone who’s not into the job and move onto getting Nikki (my Boyfriend’s sis) taken care of since she was only in town for a short while longer. She tells him about a couple thoughts she has about a phoenix on her foot, but isn’t clear on how it should look yet. He didn’t try to help her define anything, nor did he ask any questions other than where she was from. But she is not feeling welcome anyway, with him or at this shop, and so decides not to pursue it further.

We go back to the car, and I cry a little but don’t really know why. It’s fine that the guy didn’t like my art. Or that he’s got a problem working with another artist, or whatever stick he had up his ass. It’s fine that the shop receptionist is on a royal, too-cool-for-school power trip (chalk that up to being young in Hollywood), but the whole idea of having a good time and going out on a Friday night to get a tattoo was shot. It was just a big snobby turn off. I was embarrassed for my city that Nikki got to see the crap-stereotype of Hollywood hipsters to the Nth degree. It was just a fucked up night.

Kat Von D must not mind her employees spewing attitude. It certainly doesn’t bode well for the laid-back vibe that is Kat Von D – her night shift is totally misrepresenting her, the show, LA (sort of), and tattoo artists alike. I mean, I’m not some total dork from the Mormon Church, I’m an artist and ex-rock musician with a few tattoos on my arms and my neck, but I sure felt like a total loser in that fucked up shithole full of meanies that is High Voltage Tattoo. Gaaaaaad!

But, if I didn’t have that experience, I would not have wound up at Zulu, where they have an actual procedure to service their clientele. What a novel fucking idea! Everyone there far out-cool the wannabe coolsville of LA Ink’s 2nd tier of goons. At Zulu Tattoo, they have a small band of amazing tattoo artists that want to work with you, not against you. Nikki got a bad-ass phoenix on her foot from Sameerah, and I’m on my way to having 6 months worth of work I know I’m going to be proud of from Lantz. I am so glad to be 40 where I know life is too short to deal with a bunch of pricks that so desperately need to be somebody and think they attain this state of being by treating others like they’re nobodies. I am also getting more for fewer greenbacks too.

Check out Lantz’s work at He’s the nicest guy ever too. I especially love this Candy Land sleeve he’s created:

12 thoughts on “Tattoo You

  1. Father Luke August 1, 2008 / 9:42 pm

    from zulu tattoo’s website. . .

    Zulu Tattoo uses organic pigment inks

    Maybe that’s common, and I don’t know it, but that there seems really cool to me.

    – –
    Father Luke

  2. Nikki August 3, 2008 / 2:45 pm

    I am soo thankful we had that experience at High Voltage to be honest. I had come across Zulu’s site before and completely forgot about it. His shop would have been my number one pick. I’m soo happy we didn’t just settle for some egotistical, high and mighty jackass to work on something we are going to have forever. I like how things work out for the best.

    Although, for that, you had to be hurt and offended. And when you’re hurt and offended, I’m hurt and offended. So FUCK High Voltage! Thank you for coming across Zulu’s site! 🙂 I love my tat and I’m going to love watchinig your progress!!!

  3. carol es August 3, 2008 / 6:15 pm

    I agree!

    I am going to do all I can to lose some weight before the tattoo because my arms be flabby! ahhhh! someone let me know how to lose 30 lbs in 6 weeks!

  4. Nikki August 3, 2008 / 9:05 pm

    Don’t eat. But I don’t advise it! 😛

  5. sam August 4, 2008 / 12:16 am

    Are Mormons dorks? I have met some very nice people that believe in the Mormon faith. Read about the good they do for people in this country and other countries that have had disasters. You need to get more educated on cultures before cutting them down.
    Also, don’t class a group of people as dorks.
    You look like the dork!!!!

  6. carol es August 4, 2008 / 4:33 am

    Yes, I really am the dork. I know some pretty hip and wonderful Mormons. But I’m just making a point that I’ve been around the block a few times. So take it lighter dude. There’s always someone getting mad at you for saying something “wrong.” Always.

  7. sam August 4, 2008 / 12:52 pm

    That’s cool you crossed out the Mormons, (which is called The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints). We just need to be careful what we say about ALL people. Keep making your art and I will continue to watch creations.

  8. Cmo August 28, 2008 / 6:22 pm

    Yes Mormons are dorks All of them, Thats what you get for believing in a false religion made up by a kook reading “golden stones” out of a hat. HAHA JAGOFFS

  9. Samantha November 11, 2008 / 4:01 pm

    I just moved to L.A. a month ago, and went into High Voltage to get a price quote on a tattoo I want, and they were totally cool. That sucks that u had a bad experience there, but they were really nice to me, so I guess it just depends on who u talk to.

  10. massacre November 2, 2009 / 3:02 pm

    Please, please, please stop using the word TAT…. It’s horrible and annoying. Sorry to say but you got what you paid for when you went to Kat von Douche’s shop in the first place.
    Anybody who’s willing to shell out 1000’s of dollars for her (lack of actual) talent is dumb in my book. Glad you found what you were looking for elsewhere. Just please for the love of whatever you believe in stop using the word tat.

  11. carol es November 3, 2009 / 12:31 pm

    Please stop using the word “please” and “douche.” these words are highly illegal and bother my pancreas. They also give me gas and my border collie feels harmed as well. Thank you, good night.

  12. mjp November 3, 2009 / 12:38 pm

    Please, please, please stop using the word TAT…. It’s horrible and annoying.

    But calling yourself MASSACRE – that’s not at all horrible or annoying. Got it.

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