My turtle tattoo is actually a funny story. Back in early 2013, I was sitting in my new apartment, in San Juan Capistrano, bored out of my mind. And, just for the fun of it, my boyfriend (now husband) and I decided to look up tattoo parlors in the area. More out of a sense of curiosity in what a tattoo parlor in an upscale area like this would look like. And we found one, Living Art Gallery and Tattoo Lounge. We laughed, a lot, at the thought of an “upscale tattoo lounge.” But, we decided it was worth the drive to go and check out. We got there and were massively impressed. The lobby area was gorgeous, and did have some amazing artwork and sculptures around. The tattoo area in the back looked much like other shops we had been to, and the portfolios of the artists were pretty impressive.
I had been toying around with doing some cartoon sea animals on my chest…and I wanted a turtle. So, I spoke with the pretty lady (Brenna) behind the counter (who turns out to be the piercer, accountant, receptionist, IT guru, and left brain part of this entire operation) about it, and she starts showing me some amazing artwork of realistic turtles that had been done by one of the artists (Monte, who turns out to be the owner).
So, Brenna explains how Monte is booked and his next available appointment isn’t for a few weeks. Then, she disappears to the back for a couple minutes, and comes back to tell me that if we want to wait, he is just finishing up with his last customer and would love to do the turtle after hours if I am willing. So, we decide to give it a shot.
And it was amazing. Incredible. Monte has a knack for 3D, photorealistic stuff. And my real life turtle is 1000% better than the cartoon I was imagining. It is my favorite piece. And I get so many comments on it, all the time, it is insane.
One time, this creepy old lady in Petsmart walks up to me and starts petting it…like, seriously…so I step back and ask her what the heck she thinks she is doing! She looks me dead in the eye and says, “I wanted to see if it felt like a real turtle…”