Reef Scene Tattoo – First Peek

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I’m still wasted from fourteen hours in the torture chair over two days – nine of them only yesterday. This will be brief. I still have to finish an article for Niugini Blue  in the next 48 hours.

It was fun in a Zen-like way, dealing with the pain. I can’t say that I enjoyed that bit, but there’s something about getting through it that leaves a mild feeling of smug satisfaction. I’m lucky; I have an extremely high pain threshold. I sometimes find myself bleeding profusely, looking around, asking, “How did THAT happen?” A little Codeine (legally acquired in PNG) and plenty of soft rock music dull the worst of it.

My artist, Chip (more later about the shop and the nice, über-cool people there), said that he’d never encountered anybody who could endure so long in the chair without wincing. I think I said something like, “It’s only pain, man; it’s not taxes.” I’ll take pain over taxes any day. Pain usually ceases at some point. Taxes just go on forever. If I could pay my taxes by being tortured, I think I’d consider it, depending on the torture.

Let me state that I’m not belittling pain here. The pain of a tattoo, no matter how many hours it takes, is akin to a mosquito bite compared to the pain of some diseases. I don’t want to compare myself to those who suffer disabling, intractable pain. I’d be an absolute wuss and beg for horse tranquillisers. Tattoos are mere bee stings; a nasty sunburn.

Anyway, on the the pointy-pointy business.  Here’s the artist’s pallette:

The Reef Scene Tattoo - the Artist's Pallette

By the way, I’m being soothed by a continuous shuffle of Dire Straits as I write. I highly recommend it. Softly, softly, make me mellow . . .

And, here’s the artist:

The Reef Scene Tattoo - Chip torturing meChip is a very nice, calm, deep thinking family man. Avatar Tat2 is billed as an “Adult Tattoo Studio.” There’s no ugly connotation there, either. Stay tuned for more about this unique skin art boutique.

And now, please remember that one would normally never show a new tattoo for at least a week. The skin is severely traumatised and leaking ink and plasma all over the place. The colours look mottled, splotchy and off-hue. That said, here’s a couple of different angles:

The Reef Scene TattooAs you can probably tell, the Banded Sea Krait is in the background and wraps completely around my arm. When my arm hangs at my side, the body of the snake is about all you can see. For the curious, I flip my arm and . . . voila!

The style is exactly what I was looking for. Photo-realism just doesn’t do it for me for reef scenes, I’ve seen some and was not impressed. I wanted a gaudy, well-shaded and detailed effect that stoped short of a cartoon. Chip took my original ideas, kept the core concepts and used his keen artistic eye and vast exeprience to give me something that exceeds my dream. Believe me, you have to go a way to top my dreams. Great work, Chip!

More tat fun to come as soon as I get my Patterns of the Sea  article finished and get some sleep.

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8 Responses to “Reef Scene Tattoo – First Peek”

  1. bad news Says:

    Can’t wait until your red mixes with the blue and makes green.good luck you should have researched your artist more Avatar is a scratcher palace pal.

  2. MadDog Says:

    Aside from the fact that you don’t write well, you seem pretty grumpy. Your email address “badnews@….” supports this theory. You also show a lack of personal communication skills in the sarcastic way you wish me “good luck” and then predict dire consequences. Your needless defaming of a very nice skin design establishment makes me wonder if you are an employee of one of the many tattoo shops that chickened out of the job. Time will tell about the colours of my tattoo, but you’ve already shown your colours publicly. If you can’t be civil and play nice, then don’t bother to comment on my journal. I also wonder if you have any tattoos yourself. I’d bet you don’t. Brothers of skin art are not usually so rude to each other.

    By the way, I’m not your pal.

  3. Martino Manno Says:

    Hello there,
    Dont excatly know how i came across this site, but i am a tattoo artist my self and dont listen to what that dooche has to say (excuse my language) lol. The colours are very well contrasted which gives a very vivid image, it would be nice if you posted pictures of it healed, to see how well the ink settled and how much of that white and yellow you retained. Only some constructive critisism, i would have shaped the snake a little differently to give it a bit more of a 3 dimensional feel and maybe shape the end of his tail differently, im not excatly sure if thats how the reptile is actually in nature, im just speaking from an artistic perspective. Anyways, all in all, its a very nice piece.


  4. MadDog Says:

    Thanks, Martino.

    I don’t know, maybe the guy who commented was just having a bad day.

    The artist was very worried when I showed up in Sedona. He fretted that he’d never been more anxious about doing a job. The material that I’d sent him would not fit in the space, so we had to start from scratch. It looks very nice now. I’ll take some shots and put them up. I think that if we’d had more time, we could have done a couple of things differently, but we only had two days to do the job. I’m very happy with it.

    By the way, I’m going to need a bit of touch up on the whites and yellows, but that can come when I get a chance. The Banded Sea Krait has a paddle-shaped tail that helps it swim through the water. It is correctly shown in the tattoo.

    Thanks again for your comment.

  5. silipolaKhapulapola Says:

    Do you have a tattoo studio in Port Moresby? My daughter and I are desperately searching for a decent pay studio for a neat and decent tattoo for her 15th birthday gift. Please, point us to one if you do not have a studio in Port Moresby. By the way, the designs are great is perhaps the main attraction so far for us.


  6. MadDog Says:


    I see nothing listed in the telephone book. I would never recommend any tattoo shop unless I was familiar with it and would be willing to allow them to work on my own skin. Getting a tattoo is a very serious thing. Aside from the fact that you are going to have to live with it for the rest of your life, you have to consider the health risks. If you go the wrong shop and get the wrong needle you could die from it. I would not recommend that you get a tattoo anywhere in PNG. The closest safe place that I can think of it Cairns. There are many tattoo shops there. Take some time and ask people who have tattoos where thay got them. It won’t take long to find a good, safe shop and a good artist.

    Another thing that worries me is the word “desperately”. I never get a tattoo which I have not thought about for at least a year. Then I take my time finding the right artist. A tattoo is for life. Ask your daughter to think about the advice of an old man with many tattoos. A tattoo for a birthday present does not seem in the spirit of what a tattoo should mean. When you get a tattoo you should be saying to yourself, “I shall ALWAYS, FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE, want this image to say something about who I am.” I know it sounds stodgy, but this is the reason that I don’t think tattoos are for teenagers. They haven’t even begun to find out who they are.

    If it is a tattoo you choose to give her, be certain in your heart that she will never regret it.

  7. Joe gray Says:

    I am not a rival shop I am just an artist from MA, @badnews was right you should always research your artist first never jump in because they are the first to say yes double check portfolios I don’t want to sound mean but that art is fine if you got it done in 83′ technology has change for the better and tattoos are now more life like. Found your sleeve trying to reference ocean themed sleeves if you google joe gray tattoo artist you will see my realistic clown fish just remember this sleeve is a work in progress anyone interested call to make a appointment in MA or RI Call (508) 933-2585 joe thanks

  8. MadDog Says:

    Well, Joe, it’s tiresome to hear these comments. The tattoo is exactly as I wished it to be. I wanted the cartoon look and that’s what I got. It’s wearing well and nobody who isn’t a tattoo critic has frowned at it. You put what you like on your skin and I’ll do the same. I have never gotten a tattoo (nine at last count) which I didn’t think about for months.