Patrick, he of the most interesting and in-progress backpiece up top, writes in with the the story of how he donated his back to the good folks at Karma Tattoo Studio in Erie, Pennsylvania:
The artists at Karma Tattoo Studio wanted to do a collaboration piece. I’ve been getting tattooed at the shop since it opened a few years back. In fact, I was the first person to be tattooed at the shop once it did open. During the winter of ’07-08, the artists at Karma began speaking about their desire to do a collaboration piece together, and I was in. They wanted to do a large area, and my back was a clean slate, so we decided on that. I pitched them some concepts I had, and they ran with it. One artist began sketching, then would pass the design on to another artist, who would then pass it on to the remaining artist. The sketch would come full circle, and go around once again making any changes. Initially, the design was supposed to run to the bottom of my buttocks. However, my back was not wide enough, so it needed to be downsized a bit. After sitting through these sessions, I’m glad it wasn’t any bigger. I don’t know if I could have handled much more.
I’ve been getting tattooed since I was 18; I’m now 23. I’ve sat well with the pain over the years. I’ve tried to get a majority of the painful areas out first—chest, ribs, stomach, etc. However, this was the worst pain I’ve ever felt from being tattooed. Having three artists at once is a very intense and very real feeling. Just the sound from their machines alone was enough to get your mind running a million miles per minute. I still have one session left until the piece is complete.