As the sheet draws near for the end of another year, I’m looking back and it’s been good year for work, a good year for travel, a good year for visitors, and a good year all around…thanks to everyone, familiar and sundry who have kept it interesting for tattoos and otherwise. FTW is approaching our coveted lucky 13th year of operations and a harbinger of good times has reappeared on the horizon.
When Sean and I started working at the shop in 2001 with Jason Freeman, who originally owned the space until we bought it from him in, 2003?, I’m time blind, so that could be 2002 or 2004, most likely 03, we stayed the helm daily, manning our post, watching the oakland side of Telegraph avenue like fishermen, awash on a mostly unmoving thin blue strand of polluted expanse, waiting for bites, watching the world move in in the 33 panes of glass that make up the front of the shop. Watching the sharks, watching the seals, poles in the water, watching little homie, the viking walker, the strutter, the crack crowd, the transexual crowd, the daily melee, paint brushes in mouth, brush to board, T-rex on the the stereo.
In a small space with one door that creaks upon opening I have developed a pavlovian response in which my head draws up no matter what, eating, tattooing, typing a pointless blog, talking about aliens, commercial space travel, chem-trails, or abraham lincoln, door opens, heads up. So, in that melee of a wash outside the 33 panes, only select parties open the door, but daily, a gentleman we have come to call “the smiley guy”, cannot help but open the door, and breech. For the first few years, everyday the door opens, smiley guy leans in, never a full body, almost as though he is ghost riding the shop, just a head in , and mind you, the head in, is five things, a smile, sunglasses, a doorag, a hand wave, and a “helloooo”. You just wave back and say “hello”, a “hellllooo” will also do, and he goes on his way. He leaves like 12:01 pm leaves, you think nothing of it because 12:01 will be back tomorrow, it’s steady. He’s steady. And much like 12:01, thats it, nothing more, 12:01 never transcends, it’s individual and mundane all at once, it doesn’t evolve it is just a daily. For years this continues. Then it does not, and it’s not something noticed at first, any more then you would have noticed my plucking 12:01 out of your day, but after a time, it would become apparent to you, perhaps shocking, and theres nothing you can do. His absence is measured in questions for years.
You adapt to loss, your adaptation leads you to forget as it often does and you move on. 2013 comes to pass and like a comet returning to the obligation of its solar retreat or reprise, comes an open door, a smile, a doo rag, a wave, and a “helloooo”. His name is Stan, if he’s smoking he likes 100s and as for the doo rag its 365. He’s back and it’s a good year. See you all in 2014.
we all live with death, even the parrots.
and if you must die, die trying!
the captain goes down with the ship
and another nautical theme, one of my favorite themes.
this was adapted from artwork a customer brought to me, as of now, it’s artist unknown, if you know who the artist is please drop me a line and I will credit it. however, this is my adaptation of art brought to me.
some fresh starts part one
and part three, I am honored to be working on this, it is one of my favorite images, Bert Grimm is a genius.
And, if I am casting a goodbye to 2013 it would be wrong for me to do so without saying one of my highlights of the year, perhaps my favorite, was getting to see Walter Lure from Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers play all the hits at the Bowery Electric this fall. Fucking Fantastic. Songs I never thought I would see played live, if you are a fan go see his band The Waldos. Chinese Rocks live! Photo taken by Adrian Sanchez.
See you next year!!