Karin C., Aesthetician/Salon Manager, 30 Years (San Diego, CA)

Immediately upon meeting Karin C., we were on intimate terms. I was lucky enough to find her soon after I realized that at 43, it was still within the realm of possibility for me to get my first Brazilian. Karin minimized potential “pain” and maximized potential “pleasantness” – both physical and mental. She recently moved from the salon in Coronado where I first met her, to EnVus in Pacific Beach where she pampers (and occasionally reluctantly pains) her clients and now gets the bonus of doing some bossing. During several of my horizontal chats with her, she mentioned her desire to cover up her old tattoo with a bigger and better one – and, to replace bad memories with happy ones. For months, the time wasn’t quite right. In June it was…for both of us! We drove up to Northridge together and showed up at Luis’ door for one long day. Karin is now graced with a vibrant work of Luis art on her body…and, a part of Luis forever in her heart.

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WHAT IS THE FIRST WORD THAT COMES TO MIND WHEN YOU HEAR THE WORD ‘TATTOO’?

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Personality

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HOW OLD WERE YOU WHEN YOU GOT YOUR FIRST TATTOO?

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I was young…under aged!

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WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO GET A TATTOO?

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I was living in Germany and my girlfriend, a Chiloquin [Native American], and I wanted tattoos. We were just best buds and wanted something fun…tattoos was the way to go.

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WHERE IS IT AND WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THAT LOCATION?

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It’s on my top left shoulder…my friend’s put hers on her back in between her shoulder blades. [My shoulder] was a place that I thought looked feminine and could be covered up easily.

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HOW DID YOU CHOOSE THE DESIGN?

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We picked a Chiloquin tribal symbol that meant “cherish”.

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DO YOU REMEMBER WHO DID IT?

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No. It was in Germany at the first place we found…it wasn’t anywhere special.

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TELL ME ABOUT YOUR SECOND TATTOO…

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I was in the Navy…in Bali. I was pretty intoxicated, to say the least. We had been surfing and afterwards I was drawing on a napkin. Some guy came up to me and said he’d tattoo the design on my ankle for $20. I thought he was talking a henna tattoo or something, I don’t know. Then he went to town and started tattooing. Next thing I know I wake up in the morning, put my flight boots on, and there was a tattoo on my ankle. I like the tattoo…I think it’s a cute little beachy wave, but it’s on my ankle so it’s always there. I’m a flip flop/shorts girl and it’s just feels kinda trashy. Luckily it doesn’t go all the way around, but it’s a color that I can’t really get rid of…a certain type of ink. I don’t remember what he used, but I do remember he literally lit the needle on fire, put thread around it, and went to town with ink.

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HOW ABOUT YOUR THIRD TATTOO?

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That’s the one in progress with Luis Vargas…I found him through you. I wanted to cover up my first tattoo – first, because it was old and getting faded and, second, because it very much resembled a biohazard symbol. A lot of people gave me crap about it looking like a biohazard and I always had to explain. Because I always had to explain, it kept bringing up bad memories. My best friend who I got the tattoo with passed away of cancer when she was 19 years old, so I wanted to start putting things into the past and cover it up with positive energy.

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HOW DID YOU CHOOSE THE DESIGN FOR THIS ONE?

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I kind of knew what type of things I wanted beforehand. Obviously, Luis put it all together and drew it all out. He just started drawing away, no problem. I wanted something very positive. I’m a water girl, so we have the waves on there resembling the beach. We have the plumeria. We figured out my number is four, so we have four flowers – three plumeria for good fortune and the hibiscus, which is the femininity flower. All in beautiful, bright colors. I’ve always wanted the koi, but I could never find one that I liked. I was debating back and forth about having one, then Luis pulled the one down from his wall and I said “I want that one!”. It turned out to be perfect. The water is pushing the koi up because the koi swims upstream. Also, it represents more of the masculine side, so you got a little ying and yang going on with the flower (hibiscus) and the fish. Good fortune, good luck.

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TELL ME ABOUT THE EXPERIENCE OF GETTING YOUR LATEST (AND BIGGEST) TATTOO…

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I was starting to forget, girl. 😉  I remember being nervous…it was a very patient trial. It took a lot of patience and a lot of zoning out. Thank God for Luis and his music, because that was amazing…his music zoned me out. And, his touch is amazing…he always knew where to touch my back and it made me feel connected to him, so I wasn’t just feeling some guy scratching my back with a painful needle. What was it…like 3 hours, 2 hours?

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OH, I THINK IT WAS LONG…DEFINITELY 3 HOURS.

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And, you were rubbing my legs. I was screaming, just letting it come out. 🙂

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DO YOU HAVE ANY PLANS TO GET ANY MORE TATTOOS?

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No. I just one more session to finish this last one…it will get done someday. All [Luis] has left to finish are the hibiscus, the plumeria and a little bit of the waves.

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HAVE YOU EVER REGRETTED GETTING ANY OF YOUR TATTOOS?

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I regret the one on my ankle.

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OUT OF THE THREE TATTOOS, DO YOU HAVE ONE THAT IS MOST MEANINGFUL TO YOU?

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Definitely the new one. I’m older now and it brings my whole life together…how I live my life, how I look forward to my life, and how I want my life to be. It’s vibrant, beautiful colors. It’s not something I’ll ever get tired of…

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