By Deb Yarian
The first thing out of my mouth when a couple says “We’ve decided to have a baby” is usually “Congratulations,” not “What happens if you get a divorce?”
I wish as many obstetricians counseled their patients against having babies using the same reasoning as some tattooers do when they advise their customers against getting a partner’s name – “What happens if you break up?”
Well, what happens if you break up is that you, having made an adult decision to show your devotion to someone by getting their name tattooed on your skin must now also make another adult decision and learn to live with it, cover it, or change it.
A ludicrous comparison, yes – but the name tattoo (a foolish choice only in retrospect) seems far less permanent when compared with the really permanent – living child.
This sort of counsel is a particular pet peeve of mine… I think that when a person, for whatever reason , wishes to commemorate their love and devotion to another person by choosing to get that person’s name tattooed on their body, then that is their adult decision and they don’t need my opinion, other than possibly font or calligraphic design choice or placement.
I’ve heard so many tattooers respond to name requests with such negativity. With mocking responses ranging from “That’s a sure way to end a relationship!” “You sure you want to do that?” To ridicule or refusal to do the name tattoo.
But why should any couple coming in to get name tattoos from me or any other tattooer have to validate anything other than their legal ability to get tattooed? Since when did the tattooer become the priest and rabbi and moral counsel of their customers?
During my 35 years of tattooing there have probably been hundreds, even thousands of tattoo designs that I have been asked to do that I, myself, would not have chosen to get. In my opinion many more ugly or foolish design choices have been made than choosing to get the name of a loved one.
I am speaking solely on my opinion of a person’s decision to get another’s name – not the aesthetics of it.
Certainly, if the aesthetics of type interferes with the look or design flow of a larger tattoo then when asked for my artistic opinion I would give my honest one. However, if asked my opinion as to whether someone should get their partner’s name – how could I answer that?
I feel that it’s only my responsibility to advise on design choice and placement and to try and do the best job that I can regardless of my opinion of someone else’s choice of what to wear on their body.
By Deb Yarian
I’m past middle age now, so I was a child when TV was still fairly young and I still remember when television was broadcast only in B & W. I also remember when there were only 7 channels (and this was in NYC), the three major networks, three local networks and the public broadcast network. They came on early in the morning, ran programs and commercials throughout the day – but ended sometime after midnight, culminating with a picture of a waving American flag, the playing of the national anthem and then dead air and static, literally static- till they resumed broadcasting in the morning.
When the weekly TV guide came out, I would plot my viewing for the days ahead- first searching for my favorite shows, then looking for any specials or movies I wanted to watch and then i’d adjust my schedule for time conflicts.
This continued, to a degree through my teens, when other interests like REAL LIFE got in the way of my television viewing habits.
Fast forward thirty- years… I’ve changed- tv viewing has changed.
I still enjoy watching a few series that I have set to record. I still love watching movies and can do so on any of the many movie viewing options available – in color, high def etc, and so goes the evolution of my tv watching.
When I first became aware of tattoos, as a teenager in the 70s, and started tattooing, I was also acutely aware of the absence of tattoos and tattooing on TV.
Tattooing was still an underground art then and tattoos just did not fit in to everyday, mainstream American life… there was little, if any, mention or presence of them on TV or in the movies with the exception of a couple of movies: The Illustrated Man,1969 and Tattoo, 1981 as well as an occasional documentary or the very rare appearance of a tattooer on TV.
By Deb Yarian
By Brynne Palmer
I have been so fortunate to meet some amazing people in the tattoo industry, and one of them I really look up to is Debra. She’s been tattooing for longer than I’ve been alive, and her accomplishments in her work and family life are truly impressive. Her demeanor is so sweet and comforting, when she tattooed me at the last SFO convention I felt like we were just old friends having a lunch date! When she told me she would like to contribute to our blog, I was so excited to get more of a glimpse into her life and family, and how she seamlessly balances the two. Deb, thank you for sharing with us; and for doing all you do as a tattooer, wife, mother and grandmother! (more…)
Dawn Cooke: What was your first tattoo?
Debra Yarian: I wish I could remember the name. It was a name on an older Mexican man’s hands, at a flea market in Phoenix, Arizona. We were on our way back to California and he had a step van there that he had converted into a tattoo shop. At the time people would set up on the weekend and tattoo at this flea market. I mean, Peter’s Tattoos – who was Peter Poulos, a legitimate shop – would set up at the flea market too… (more…)
By Debra Yarian
We are constantly being asked by people, how either they or their family members can “get in to tattooing?” How they can obtain a license, open a shop, get a job and so-on and so-on and so-on.
In recent years I’ve had more and more people indignantly explain, that even though they or their relatives really want to become tattooists, nobody will teach them! This is often at our initial introduction… (more…)