I had a thought about nodding my personal experience with the act of getting a tattoo, but it smelled eerily of a GTKY node. And well, that’s how I feel about THOSE things. But I looked around on E2, and noticed that the brunt of skin art nodes were nothing more than quick descriptions of what people got, where they got them, and how brutalizing/painless the whole incident was for them. I don’t usually get overtly militant on my views (unless you have some incredibly pointless beef with chess or non-factual write-ups), but skin art is something of a spiritual device for me. And with that said, let’s haul it in for…

Another stirring, epic adventure into the ever falling warheads of drastically opinionated nodding that is and forever shall be typical of thyself who be thus named CODIC.


Let’s have a quick dissection of the difference between skin art, tattoos, and crap. Tattoos are handsomely articulated pieces of imagery and/or designs that compliment a person’s natural anatomy. Tattoo enthusiasts get a tattoo under two generally acknowledged situations:

Situation one: The customer to be tatted will come into a shop and spend anywhere to a half hour to an hour perusing the various flash on the wall. Flash art would be those pre-drawn designs and images neatly framed in any tattoo shops’ reception area. Prices may or may not be lightly penciled underneath each design. This is because many times, underlying factors involving tattoo placement, size, and number of colors to be used will greatly reduce/increase the cost of any particular tat. After some thoughtful consideration of a piece, the customer will have a rudimentary speech given to him by the tattoo artist. This speech will generally flesh out all the specifics of the process and allow the customer to ask any questions before anything begins. Free tip number one: If you walk into a shop with no flash art in its reception lobby, get out. No matter what the supposedly expert tattoo guy/woman will say, you’re in someone’s basement and nothing good will come of your time there. A good tattoo shop lives and dies by the quality and professional atmosphere the reception area gives off. From your first 30 seconds in any tattoo parlor, you should immediately get the sensation that you’re in a doctor’s office. The only difference is that instead of a nurse greeting you, it might just be a friendly young man with an Asian influenced dragon/samurai image etched into his arm. If you don’t know it already, any business establishment that tattoos must meet health regulatory standards comparable to that of a hospital or general medical clinic.

Situation two: A customer comes in drunk off the street with three of four friends demanding a skull and the phrase ‘HARDASS’ be placed on his left butt cheek for whatever pocket change he has left from a night of bar hopping. Free tip number two: The tattoo artists on duty will ask you to sit down while they call me. When I arrive I will swiftly and mindlessly beat the stupidity out of your drunken shell in the street directly adjacent to said tattoo parlor. Don’t get a tattoo this way. Tattoo artists in this day and age know better than to work on someone who is in such a state of disrepair. But karma is karma, and you’ll definitely have less after you put a tattooist in a situation where he has to expel energy kicking you out of his place of business. ‘nuff said.

I have no problem with tattoo lovers. Some people simply enjoy the idea of permanence and beautiful visual imagery. That’s fine. All I ask is that you act with a certain maturity and professionalism that you would give a doctor. Tattoo professionals are artists, technicians, nurses, and your mother all balled into one. Don’t treat them as anything less, ok?

Lets for a moment quickly turn our heads into the downwind vapor of foul smelling shit always associated with the act of getting crap bled into your body. Tattoo customers are good people. They aren’t mindless, unaware, dramatic idiots that seem to encompass the traits of an asshole. Asshole, in all its historic glory, has come to mean a whole plethora of types. We’ll narrow down our version of asshole to the following descript:

If you’re getting a tattoo for pussy, cock, or the love of some crush you’re an asshole. If at any point in your life, at any party your sorry ass will somehow get invited too, you burst out with your rousing machismo tale of the bravery you showed the day you got crap etched into your skin, you’re an asshole. If you’re of the camp that will suddenly rip off your shirt to show off body muscle (read: peckage) under the guise of boasting a tattoo, you’re REALLY an asshole. Interestingly enough, these assholes are the same types who confuse incredibly successful corporate marketing stratagems for MUSIC (read: You own a Christina Aguilera CD). Self-defeatist statement number one: If you’re cute enough or athletic enough, chances are good you’ll get laid with that tattoo. But I mean you’d get laid without the tattoo also. So just steer clear of the whole experience and I won’t ever have to target a high velocity rifle at your head from a building rooftop for as long as I live, k?

The difference between assholes and simple skin art aficionados is the frame of mind you live by after the whole thing is done. Just be grown up about it and never use your tat as some weird social leveraging tool. Again, my rule of acknowledging the high mark of intelligence I associate with E2 noders will come into play now. I will not express this sentiment further. You don’t have to reach spiritual nirvana every time you get inked, but don’t be an asshole either. Free tip number three: don’t get a tribal band. This node is already five fucking pages long so I’ll be unable to fully express this rule. If you’d like to email me I’ll be more than happy to educate you on the definition of cliché` and how it works into tattooed tribal patterns.

The main point I’d like to discuss is the beauty of understanding the concept of tattoo vs. skin art. Skin art is something of an all encompassing journey from the quality of life you lived before getting inked, to the actual tattooing process, to the richness of greater enlightenment that accompanies permanent body modification. Lets drown deeper into Codic’s endless take on humanity and spirituality for a sec.

I’m a firm believer in working towards something greater than the accomplishments you strive for while being alive. A good job, financial stability, and happiness through possession of goods are wonderful. But there is life after that. Every person has an inner world full of thoughts, emotions, and a personal understanding of the wonder life can hold for them. Our inner worlds give us a meaning and character far beyond the simple feelings our wives, friends, and lovers feel for us. When I die, the significance of my inner world will be the only thing that keeps me from being forgotten from the hearts and minds of the people I love. For all intents and purposes, I will never be articulate and mature enough to describe the intricacies of my inner world to people. Any attempt to journalize, speak, or otherwise express my inner world through any communicatory medium would fall short by miles and miles. In your life, there should be only a handful of people truly worthy of seeing the real you. We can have friends and acquaintances, sure. But to give anyone and everyone a window into the intimate, private you is wrong. In the end, it’ll only belittle your self worth and somehow dilute the flowing, raging streams of humanity that make you. That become you. Everyone is not worthy of a place in your inner world.

So what’s up with all this inner world crap? I thought we were talking skin art and body modification? You’re weirding me out here, Codic. A belief in having an inner world is the most important trait that separates skin art enthusiasts from the general tattooed population. I live my life around a mindset that with every decision I make I am somehow adding or destroying a brick from the structure that makes me spiritually who I am. The piece of art on my left upper deltoid is the keystone to my inner world. Through this imagery, one might see something about me that I’d never be able to actually communicate to them. That’s the difference between tattoos and skin art. Tattoos are just as beautiful as pieces of body art, but they aren’t considered honest windows into a person’s guts like how pieces of flesh art are. Tattoos aren’t protected like defenseless children in an inhumane world like skin art is.

Spiritually, physically, and emotionally I protect this all-important physicality of myself from the general public. I don’t show it off intentionally (read: I work out with my shirt off, bathing, exceptions like that, ok?) or make it a point of conversation with people I meet. You may or not like me from my first impression, but I’ll be damned if I’d ever give a piece of my humanity away in the hopes of impressing anyone on this earth. The drawings on my skin are gates and secret underground passageways into everything that makes me cry, laugh, and love. They are my permanent reminders to a life of better enlightenment through conscious, intelligent living. And when I meet the girl o’ my dreams, it’ll be the mark on my skin that communicates to her everything I’d never be able to say or do for her. Same thing with my kids. A big house, a gift of higher education, and simple fatherly love wouldn’t be enough, in my eyes, to ever tell my son or daughter how much I care for them. But maybe they might understand something subtle about their relationship with me from the quiet markings on my arms and back that I will explain to them:

“See this one? On my arm? This one is for your sister. She’s a part of me like how this picture is a part of my body. And yours? You are on my back, below the picture where grandma lives with grandpa. That is where you live on me, within me. Under my skin you are the ink of this. These are your tears and your giggles all kept under my skin, right here. Dad can’t ever express to you how much you mean to him. That’s why he has all these pictures on him to say he loves you.” I have no doubt that the resiliency and quirky understanding small children seem to have with stuff like this will not fail on me. Besides, my kids will be geniuses. It’s in the Codic bloodstream. I don’t know at what age we lose our young heart’s amazing ability to understand deep rooted symbolism through art. But we do. And from the two or three encounters I’ve had with a young child politely asking what the picture on my arm meant, I’ve come to understand that such truths simply click with a young child’s sense of life and the world. Much better than adults, too.

I’ll end with my obvious disclaimer that all tattoos do not have to mean so much to the person they’re etched on. Everyone has a sense of what a good fulfilling life is and will of course pursue decisions about their body differently. Thoughtfulness and free-thinking will get you far in life, especially with decisions of permanent, radical body modification. I simply offer the specifics of my route and the spirituality behind my tattoo and future skin work.

Oh fuck, did I just write a GTKY? Guh. Well, here’s me apologizing again. Feel free to kick my puppy on the way out I guess.

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