A Drink to Ink

“I’m going, I’m going, Where the water tastes like wine, We can jump in the water, stay drunk all the time.”

Yesterday I got my third tattoo, a mini memorial for my dad really. It’s insane to recognize the fact that come this December 18, nine years will have passed since he died. I’ve been thinking about getting a small tattoo in honor of him for the past two years, and after this past summer I decided the time was to nut up or shut up. Originally I was thinking of either getting my dad’s full name, James David Vaughn, or his initials on the left side of my torso. However it was when I was in Seattle, enjoying the cold, crisp air and their sweet, crystal greenery, I realized what the tattoo in tribute of my dad was going to be, a Jack Daniel’s label, because if anyone knew my dad, they knew that JD was his poison.

I remember every night when he’d come home from work, he would pour himself a nice glass of JD with three ice cubes. Of course, come dinner time he would have consumed a bit more and by the time we were clearing the table, it wasn’t uncommon for him to be passed out on the dining room floor, snoring with his feet crossed at the ankles on his dinner chair. Absolute comedy, honestly the best dad anyone could ever ask for. Anyway, before I go on further tangents of old stories, JD was his thing, and it’s tradition that whenever we go visit his grave, we each have a shot of JD and pour him one as well.

So my epiphany in Seattle led to what is now a work of art that will forever reside on my left thigh. I decided that it only made sense to include Jack Daniel’s in my tattoo and by doing so, I could also add other details. So I changed the “Jack Daniel’s” to “James David.” I made a slight alteration to the “No. 7” by making it “007” since James Bond was one of my dad’s all time favorites. I then changed “Tennessee” to “Washington” since that’s where he’s from, Washington state mind you, not D.C.

I made an appointment for Saturday at Star Crossed Tattoo since I got my last one there this past January/February. I then proceeded to get cash out of my diminishing bank account and made the journey to Tsim Tsa Tsui (TST) with my best friend Li Meng. It always feels like it’s going to be an adventure when I go to TST because I’m honestly a lazy fuck who only leaves the island when it’s an absolute necessity. Anyway when we got there, Ross, the tattoo artist who did a perfect design for my tattoo, showed me the stencil. At first I was planning on having the tattoo filled in, as in it would look like an exact JD label except for the changes. But after he told me some of the concerns he had with the original idea, Li Meng and I agreed that he was right and we began the long process of getting me some more ink.

Whenever people ask me if getting a tattoo hurts I always say no, because my first two honestly didn’t really hurt. The first one I got is behind my ear, and I was too busy being scared to breathe, thinking that I would fuck it up, to notice any pain. The second is on my inner wrist and that one seemed to hurt a bit more, but I think it might also have to do with the fact that I watched the whole process and my skin there is more sensitive. This tattoo though is the biggest one I have and took a good 3-3 1/2 hours to finish (munch breaks included). Ross started from the top of the label and worked downwards, starting first with the outlining and then the filling. When he first started I had to try to not laugh because at some parts it tickled, but the closer the needle got to my inner thigh, the more I could feel the slight burn of the needle penetrating my skin.


When Ross finished filling in the final touches of the tatt, I honestly couldn’t have been more thrilled. I was laying down during the inking process so I couldn’t exactly watch, but I did take a couple of munch breaks and got to check it out throughout. By the time Ross was cleaning up my leg I was too excited to check it out in the mirror to really mind the slight soreness that seemed to be pulsating on my thigh. Li Meng&I agreed that it was a definite success and I couldn’t be happier with the outcome. The total price for it was HKD 1,500 (USD 195) which I couldn’t imagine spending more wisely.


As Mengy&I left Star Crossed in a fit of absolute bliss and satisfaction, we went off to find Cameron road so we could buy Silic 15 from Watsons. On our way there we stumbled upon a couple of nifty stores. We ended up buying hats, dresses and I finally got my mirrored PoPo-style sunglasses. All in all I would have to definitely rate Saturday as one of those days that gets better and better until it ends in perfection.

So if any of you are interested in getting a tattoo and reside here in HK then I highly recommend going to Star Crossed, it’s definitely worth the trip and let’s face it… isn’t really that far out of the way. Two South African guys (at least Ross is from SA) bought the place from the previous owners and are super chill, and they definitely know what they’re doing. You can email them what you want, image references and the location that you want it or just give them a call to make an appointment. Check out their website if any one of you are planning on getting inked and if you have any questions feel free to ask. As for now, I’m going to continue my anime marathon and apply some slick, cold Silic 15 to my newest tattoo addition.


2/F, 57 Granville Road
Tsim Sha Tsui


Sami xx


~ by colormehongkong on September 12, 2010.

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