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The one thing every tattoo studio has in common, is the guy who thinks he can hack a days session...
His natural golden skin has sunken in tone to something so lifeless it scares me just to look at him. His eyes close and he sucks himself into a deeper place to cope. Sweat pooled on his brow, his upperlip, the nape of his neck, his breath dragged in and out like razor blades against a chalkboard and his face returns to the white of the ink...
The low buzz of the tattoo gun echoes around the room and finally, Arken ceased the noise and all that could be heard was his clients breath. "I've got a fainter." Arkens husky, tainted-Texan accent bellowed across the parlour. Another man, as covered in tattoo's as Arken was himself, came from the back room with a can of pepsi, a chocolate bar and a cold flannel "How much did you get done?" the man asked with a smirk lilting his lips "20 minutes, this guys paid for the entire day..." Arken replied with a chuckle.
Popping his equiptment down, he took the drink and the chocolate from the other and placed the cold flannel on the comatose males forehead. When the client came round, Arken soothed him with the Pepsi and chocolate and grinned "Want to carry on?" The Initia teased. The client on the other hand stood and left promptly.
"Well thats my day suddenly free..." The intia responded with a sigh, sitting back in his seat.
He only hoped he'd get a walk in soon...
Arken had been sat for a while, sketching some new work on a big A3 sketch-pad, smudging with his finger the pencil lines he was creating. His brows had knitted together in the middle as he chewed on the end of his pencil, turning the page to and fro to see the art from different angles before adding some more lines here and there.
Hearing the door, the Initia glanced up and saw a female walk in, black hair around her neck and tattoos littering her skin. Arken couldn't help but stare at the handy work of her artist. Her voice broke his concentration and his eyes flicked to hers. "That would be me today." He said softly and smiled. Placing the A3 pad down on the counter, he then hissed as he inhaled "Well, I say today. The 'Owner' Pays the rent, I run the place so I presume I'm the bossman." Arken joked, his accent heavy with Texan twists.
"Are you here for a tattoo?"
The arrangement Arken had with the owner was purely business and, even to him, confusing. The owner paid the bills, the expenses and such, Arken however ran the parlour, hired, put orders in and ran the place...The 'owner' was his silent partner of sorts. He smiled as she beamed Perfect and he nodded "Great." Arken chimed, almost in thanks that she understood him.
Arken had been admiring the tattoo's he could see and cocked his head to the side as she asked about interning here instead. He opened his mouth to respond, but closed it as she continued. He offered his hand out to take the Sketch pad from her and had a flick through. He wasn't really looking for an intern, so he glanced quickly at the first couple of pages then...Wait
Arken paused, looking more intently at her line work, his brown furrowing as he concentrated. Her lines even in pencil were crisp, her dot shading too..."This is an impressive pad." He said with a smile and flicked through every design she had.
Handing the pad back to her, He grumbled in thought for a moment before ranning his fingers through his hair. "I don't usually take on interns...But that Sketch pad is amazing. So, When are you available to start?"
Her beaming voice called up and he couldn't help but chuckle, holding his hands up and trying to calm her. "Alright Alright." He joked with a grin stretched across his features. "Im Arken Hazard, I'll be the one teaching you. I do have the qualifications to do that I just...I wouldn't say I'm good at it." He said with a smile.
After their introductions, he gestured for her to follow him, speaking as he walked. "We only have one entrance so, we come in and out where the clients do. The equiptment we have is set up every morning, disinfected, cleaned and sterile but I won't be showing you that for a while." Arken wandered to the back of the store, opening up a door to a short corridor with four doors "Bathroom at the end, Office, stock room and a private room for if you're inking any...Well...Privates." Leading her into the office, He wandered behind his oak desk and sat down, opening up the laptop on the top.
"Lets see" He purred, clicking a few buttons. "I'll have to send you some things including contracts and must knows but, its not overly formal here." Arken then twisted the laptop around to face her, the contact information page up. "Here, can you fill that in? then I need to know if you've ever done ink before? Or if you know the basics?"
The minute she began taking notes, Arken smiled a little. It was one thing to be talented, another to actually want all of what comes with being a tattoo artist. It wasn't as easy as it seemed. He'd been asked by a few people around Evermore that wanted to learn, but none as passionate as Priscilla seemed.
As she was filling out the NDA and paperwork, Arkens brows shot up in question. "May I?" He asked, moving around the table to take in her art that presented across her skin. Arken too had done most of his own tattoo's, only a few having been trusted enough to mark his skin so permanently. "Well, I hope going back to skins won't be too annoying for you." He teased, sitting on the edge of the desk.
"I won't lie, I can't pay you much, but in return I won't charge you for the internship, lessons or equipment. But im not saying it'll be easy. I'll teach you everything the way I was taught, so a lot will just be watching..." He smiled then and shook his head. "I hope im not putting you off, I promise you'll be tattooing soon."
With that, he pushed off from the desk and wandered towards the door. "Lets see what you already know." He asked, cocking a brow as he moved to his 'station' in the parlour. Quickly, he took the tattoo machine to pieces, placing each piece carefully on the bed before him, something he could do in his sleep.
"Can you put it into working order?"
A smile brought up his features as she allowed his to inspect the ink of her arms. He could tell instantly where the two artists differed, but both were a professional level. He smiled and nodded. "they're incredibly good. I might have to rethink how I teach you." The truth was, Arken didn't know how to approach her training because she was so advanced.
She then refered to him as Mr. Hazard and it was like a full body cringe that stopped him in his tracks. "Just Arken, please...Just Arken." He muttered before rolling his shoulders trying to shake off the feeling that was brought round with being referred to as his surname.
Running his fingers through his hair as he moved over to the machine and begun dismantling it. Once he stepped back, her joke made him laugh out loud "Confident P'" He said, shortening her name already. Once she put the machine together, The initia nodded with a smile and scratched at the back of his neck. "Okay. Next one."
Arken moved towards the reception desk, googled a standard, fine line tattoo, a boring outline of an anchor, minimal shading and a rope around it. He printed the image and handed it too her, gesturing to the transfer copier.
"I want that tattoo."
He began looking at his arms for a spare spot of skin, finding a spot of the crease of his elbow and pointing. "There. Lets see how good you really are." He grinned, challenging her with a smirk.
Watching her carefully as she took his design, his arms crossed over his chest and a small smile littered his features. She was taking in the art across his skin and incorporating his style into the simple anchor design. P' already presented the styles of a tattoo artist, she knew her way around the shop and he knew she'd know her way around the tattoo gun too which made his brain begin to whirr...
As she turned the new design around, he leant forwards and took it in. It was perfect, so far from the life drawing he'd found. Nodding, Arken pointed to her version and smiled a little brighter. "I'll have that one." He asked and nodded again. Her design was beautiful and intricate too with a lot of different strokes and needles for the tattoo machine.
Arken smiled towards her and nodded "All ready." He said, taking a seat on the tattoo bed. "Strange being sat here and not on my wheelie." He muttered and gestured to the small stool on wheels that he usually whipped around the shop on. He crossed his legs under him and held out his arm, pointing to a little dolly with draws beside the bed.
"Everything you need is in there, inks, needles, razors, lotions, tissues, cleaner, cleanser..-" With every word he reeled off, he pointed to a different draw for her, The draws were perfectly organised and incredibly clean with most things in sterilised packaging.
"Maybe while you're doing this you can tell me more about you?" He asked then, cocking a brow "Yours hopes and dreams." He added teasingly.
The design she transferred onto his arm was beautiful. Intricate and clean and he wished, hoped and prayed she inked it just like that. He had faith, from his spot on the bed he could examine her inked arms more closely. He could tell where one artists stroke finished and anothers began...The lines were crisp where she could reach, better even than the ones above.
As she slipped on her gloves, he gestured to her "Those should be on before you do anything, even the transfer. You will meet OCD clients that wont want skin-on-skin." He smiled then and shrugged. "I don't mind though."
He let her go about her business and cocked his head to the side. "Shave first, then clean, then transfer." He said simply. As she said this was her dream, he chuckled again and nodded. "Good answer P' Good answer."
A sigh left his lips and he gestured around him. "I'd love to buy this place, revamp it, put my name over the door...Thats my dream." Arken rest back against the seat and glanced at her next steps. "Dont worry about short lines with me, Just do it all in one. Short lines are just for those on their first tattoo."
Arken could sense the panic on her face as she registered that as a mistake. "Hey, Its okay..." He purred and tried to catch her paniced eyeline with his. "I did my first tattoo without gloves on. The entire thing, My mentor was in stitches at me because I had been so arrogant before hand." He smiled a little and ran scratched at the back of his neck a little "So you're doing better than I did, right now."
Her nerves were slightly endearing just then and he smiled a little. "Im here to bestow my wisdom." He teased, sitting back a little. A laugh bubbled from his lips as she asked if he could handle the pain and he shrugged. "I tried to cover the sole of my foot once." Ark' admitted and shook his head a little "That was pain, this? This is nothing."
As she said here we go, he couldn't help but laugh at her. She'd done everything right from there. When the needle hit his arm, he watched intently on her technique, nodding as a way of reassurance as she inked her first line. The gun was loud, they always were, but they were so much louder when it was your own skin. The cat scratch of the needle hitting again and again, etching a thin line onto the flesh. The feeling was addictive, that usually why people never stopped at one.
"Good job." He said softly and smiled. "Your art work is fantastic."
Arken sat back in the seat again, resting his head back and looking around the shop. "I want a place like this. I can imagine graffiting the walls with art, monochrome. Black and white. With framed colour work dotted all over." He laughed at himself a little and pointed with his free arm towards the door. "A massive gold couch near the door with some vintage accent chairs. Crushed velvet." Arken got lost in his vision, glancing back to her. "Tell me when you get bored. Please...I will talk your ear off about this."
The difficulty with tattooing, isn't the designs or the precision. Its the gun. The way the machines needles stab back and forth over and over, the way the entire handle vibrates your fingers, hand and into your arm. The machine is a force of its own, the difficulty people dont see, is that like any other machine that vibrates, it moves as soon as it hits a surface. So its a constant battle, the entire way through the piece, of moving this machine with grace and elegance across the skin.
Arken enjoyed that battle, and as his eyes gazed over Priscilla, her passion for it came through too. The grin that spread across her lips as she watched her hands was endearing over anything.
"Nerves? You? Nah, you're a natural." He encouraged a little and sighed a little. "I don't want another place...I want this place. My art started here, I pained these walls and moved the things around, I discovered the other artists and trained a few here too...This is my place in everything but paper work." He muttered, a little pouty. Arken had poured his being into this place, and gotten a mediocre wage out it every month.
As she said about her own parlour, the Initia smirked little and nodded. "Maybe you and me will open a shop one day." He said and glanced at the last line she was sketching. When she'd finished, he let her finish up and immediately jumped up and leaned his frame in the door frame if the shop, sparking up a cigarette. "This is very good." He said, inspecting he work on his arm. "The shading is exquisite. Are you sure you're a beginner?"