Petri Aspvik: What type of physical problem have you encountered do to tattooing?
Marcus Kuhn: After 20 years I have pain in my number 11 acupuncture point just southeast of my right scapula as a result of the long swoop of lining and the repetitive pulse of the mag work. After four hours my shoulder becomes congested and starts to fill with fluid. like a nose when you are congested with the flu. The body is responding to the inflammation of the tissue by sending fluid to the area. At night my shoulder sometimes pulses with pain… The fluid takes three hours or more to drain. I have also lost a register of my hearing from the frequency of the ultrasonics and the running machines…
Have you had to see a doctor, chiropractor, masseuse therapist, acupunctures or anything similar because problems or because you want to avoid them?
I see an acupuncturist and a masseuse who does deep tissue work and cupping. I also visit a chiropractor.
Have you modified your work station because you have encountered physical problems or wish to avoid them?
My chair is higher to reduce lower back strain. More light to reduce strain on eyes. Thinner foot pedal to reduce imbalance in pelvis caused by resting on left foot all day.
How did you first notice the imbalance and did you have to treat it in some way?
It has become apparent over the years a scan of my back by my chiropractor and hip pain alerted me to the cause of the pain being a shift in my pelvis causing sciatic pressure.
Do you follow a work out regime to keep in shape and healthy?
I work out three times a week to stay as strong as possible. Yoga ashtanga and hathfa and some kundalini. Also swimming laps and weight training and a few times a week go for a run. I also surf and take long walks often walking three four miles a day when traveling. Cardio makes me clearer and better focused and positive so my work is better.
Have you had to change your eating habits in any way because of tattooing?
I eat very carefully because it is easy to gain weight as a tattooer. After many years tattooing most people start to deteriorate. I try to not eat large meals late at night and then go to sleep. Better to eat three four small meals with the last early in the evening.
Do you snack between clients or during longer session? If you do, what do you eat/drink?
I eat proteins like nuts and dried fruits and veggies rice or fruit and lots of water.
What about spiritual/psychological health? How do you maintain that?
I am a practicing nichiren di shonin Buddhist and I have a very rich spiritual life which I consider the core of my artistic ability. I read a lot about many paths and how spirituality enriches me and my artistic life. I practice these principles ritualistically with as much discipline as I can. The key to good work is a balanced life
(Marcus Kuhn is featured in Tattoo Artist Magazine #22)