IamA tattooer in Huntsville, Alabama who was recently featured in a video of slow motion tattooing on the YouTube Channel Smarter Every Day that has over a million views in just 24 hours! AMA
Sep 25th 2014 by spittingwisdom • 40 Questions • 724 Points
I work at Timepiece Tattoo Company in Huntsville, Alabama and I was recently in this super cool video on Smarter Every Day. Here's the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kxLoycj4pJY
Since being posted yesterday, the video has been picked up by The Washington Post, The Daily Dot, Nerdist.com, and I Fucking Love Science (ifls.com). It's gotten over a million views in 24 hours!
People have been asking me questions who have seen the video, so I thought, why not do an AMA? I am a female tattooer who grew up in the South. I am a mom and a wife (my husband is an economics professor), and I'm an avid reader and learner. I have lots of tattooing stories, as well as personal life experiences, and you may ask me anything.
You can see my work here: www.leahfarrow.com I'm also on Facebook as LeahFarrowArt and have instagram account as well under the username spittingwisdom
I hope this suffices as proof: https://twitter.com/spittingwisdom/status/515164575113965568
As a fellow Alabamian, how many browning buck tattoo requests have you had?
Ha! I've had a few. My favorite one was a guy who brought in a drawing his friend did of a cross where the end of the cross somehow morphed into the browning buck, and a Confederate flag pattern made up the background. I didn't tattoo it, but I was so impressed by the utter essence of rural Alabama it evoked.
As an Auburn fan, I approve.
Why did you not do it? Are there certain things that you would refuse to tattoo?
In his case, he didn't like the price I quoted him or the fact that I was booked out for six weeks. There are certainly things I won't tattoo though. I won't tattoo hate symbols. I also won't do face/neck/hand tattoos on people who aren't really tattooed already. I also practice great discretion when tattooing minors in terms of where they get the tattoo and the subject matter.
What is the number one complaint artists have about customers?
I can't speak for all artists, but I would say that my number one complaint is that I often feel like I care more about the person than they care about themselves. I sincerely care about the people that walk through the door and I want them to get the best tattoo they can possibly get, because, you know, it'll be there for a little bit. Often people come in who are impatient and guffaw at the idea of having to wait in order to get their tattoo. I draw almost everything I tattoo, and I take pride in doing the best job I can do. When I feel that I'm being pushed to rush the process, I start feeling like the person rather get a tattoo for the sake of it, rather than get something of quality that they'll like forever. I want people to look at the tattoos I've done and say, "wow!", and I strive to do that with every client.
Hey Leah. Just want to say thanks for being so cool. Especially your answer about patience and care about your work. Got my first tattoo in orange beach at trillium studios. Wanted to get it when i was 17 but my parents wouldnt sign. my artist told me its not worth causing a fuss about, and that if I would just wait until I was 18 It would be better. Well went in 7 months later and got it, he only charged me the shop minimum. Not to mention the celtic knot design I brought that I found online didnt make sense, the lines would disappear behind each other etc, so he spent about half an hour sorting it out and re drawing it. Any way il stop rambling but just thanks to artists like you, I dont have a mis matched piece of shit on my back for the rest of my life. Keep it up, if I am ever in Huntsville i will swing by!
Thank you so much for the kind words. I'm so glad you had such a great experience!
I was surprised at how much the skin bounces! We have to stretch the skin with our non-tattooing hand when we tattoo, but the video helped me see why it's so important!
There are a lot of good ones in the badtattoos subreddit. I don't think I have one specific one because they sort of all blur together, but I would say that I'm not a fan of any tattoo that says, "property of" and then a name.
What is the worst thing that you have had to tattoo on someone? or what you hate tattooing the most on people?
I hate tattooing black and gray crosses with banners. After the 10th one, I was over it. I don't dislike religious tattoos in general though, just unimaginative ones. There is so much amazing religious art, there is just no excuse for it!
I once tattooed the words "your name" on some Army dudes butt cheek. That wasn't enjoyable.
Hairy guy here. I would love to get a couple tattoos but being on the furrier side of the spectrum I'm thinking that having a tattoo where there is hair might not be a great idea. Any experience with it? Not that big of a deal?
Also, I love the way pinups look, but have never been in the Navy. Still ok to get one?
It's OK to get whatever you want. That's what I say at least. In terms of being hairy, the tattooer will shave you before getting your tattoo, but obviously the hair will grow back so you just have to decide whether you're down with that!
What is the most bad ass tattoo you ever seen? Either done by you or someone else.
Oh man, I don't think I could narrow it down. Most everything I see Jeff Gogue do blows me away. Shige from Japan also does mind blowing work. I dream of someday being tattooed by both of them.
How nervous were you when you did your first tattoo? Do you recall what it was?
I was really nervous because it was on myself! It says "Apprentice '08" Rite of passage and all that.
Traveled to Redstone for work not too long ago. What are the best taco and coffee places in Huntsville and why are they the Taco Bus and Kafeelatsch?
Not sure about coffee. I came from Auburn where there was the most amazing coffee shop ever and I haven't found one that compares here. I heard Olde Towne is decent but I haven't been there in a long time.
Bandito Burrito is probably the most popular local taco place.
How far out are you booked right now? Judging by the popularity of the video, I'm getting the feeling I need to set an appointment now if I want to get in before Christmas!
I'm booked out about five weeks for small pieces and about two months for larger ones, a little further for weekends!
I guess low-ish pain tolerance. Though it may be just initial pain because I remembered when I broke my wrist it initially hurt but after like 20 minutes I was over it.
Pfft, you'll be fine. Go for it.
What are you feelings as a couple on your son getting a tattoo?
I'd be OK with it, however, I most likely won't sign for him while he's a minor and I'd encourage him to get it done by a reputable artist. He's been around tattoo shops since he was three and he is more familiar with tattooing than a lot of adults, so I think he'll make a good decision when the time comes.