What I’ve Learned Inside a Tattoo Shop

Ryan Bolton.

Photo by Ryan Bolton at Sals Tattoo in Toronto Photo by Ryan Bolton at Sals Tattoo in Toronto

Tattoo shops can be intimidating places.

Here’s the oxymoron about tattoos: it’s an uber-personal thing that is, in turn, public. What I mean is, your choice of tattoo, be it a skull on fire or a unicorn shitting rainbows, is a form of self-expression. It’s a very personal choice. And that personal choice is then on display for the rest of your life. Especially at the local pool.

This is the point where people lose their shit about “it being on you for life.” And “I don’t know if I like something enough for it to be on me for, you know, life.” Well, that’s kinda the point. You don’t know. A tattoo is a memory. It’s a piece of art. It’s self-expression. A tattoo, for Christ’s sake, doesn’t have to mean anything. We get so caught up with symbolism and…

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