Yesterday afternoon after work I jumped in my car and headed over to a tattoo place that has a reputation of being one of Brisbane’s finest – and definitely its most private.
They don’t take walk-ins at Black Throne Tattoo – all bookings are made via email and you don’t get given any address or contact details until you’ve approved the artwork and actually made an appointment. The reason for this is that at Black Throne, all 3 artists have waiting lists that range from about a month to so-long-we’re-not-even-adding-new-people-sorry and they have a commitment to custom tattooing. At Black Throne you’re not welcome to wander in and pick a stencil off of a board, that’s just not their style.
That’s not to say Black Throne isn’t a friendly place. It is. It’s actually incredibly welcoming, and the private atmosphere makes it really easy to relax and just get on with it.
On Tuesday August 14 I had an appointment with Clint Steele. I spent a long time looking for an artist whose work I loved enough to have on me for the rest of my life and Clint’s outstanding greyscale work and lineart made that decision pretty easy. I emailed an inquiry with some pretty abstract specifications – poppies, pearls and greyscale with a small highlighting of red, oh and in an art Nouveau style. The art he sent me a few weeks later just blew me away:
So I made the appointment, lucky enough to grab a spot just a week after receiving my art.
When I got there, Clint was friendly and welcoming. We made a couple of changes to the original art to goth it up a bit, added some skulls into the pearls, deteriorated the ribbon, and lined up the stencil on my left thigh and off we went.
Clint had estimated that the tattoo would take about 2.5 hours…and that’s exactly how long it took. He is certainly very good at what he does.
Now this was my first big tattoo. I’ve got a little one on my foot, a traditional hand-poked tattoo from Thailand that reads ‘luck’ in Thai. I’ve got the outline of my kitten on the inside of my right bicep – a spur of the moment tattoo when I went with my friend as moral support for her first ink. And then I’ve got the kanji for ‘journey’ behind my left ear – a souvenir from my last trip to Tokyo and done by the incredibly talented Asao at Muscat Tattoo in Shibuya. None of my other tattoos are bigger than about the size of a fifty cent piece. So I knew what I was in for…but not really.
It wasn’t so bad, to be honest. Going back over the areas that had already been done – like shading the lineart – was pretty gnarly, but other than that the experience falls into the realm of painful but manageable. The worst part is probably that today I have a fairly unpleasant muscle ache in my thigh from tensing under the needle for 2.5 hours. I’m hobbling about like a grandmother, to be perfectly honest. A tatted up grandmother.
But the finished product makes it all worth it:
I’ve always been annoyed by my thighs, they’re never quite as thin and toned as I want them to be. But I’ve got to admit, I like them much more now! I love how the tattoo is minimal, but still detailed. I love the greyscale and the red highlighting. I just love it. And I can’t wait to go back to Clint at Black Throne Tattoo for more.