Tattoo passion


Tattoo artist Dave, a tall
Italian from New York with
dark black hair, is covered
from head to toe in ink, and
still doesn’t think he has
enough. It’s safe to say that
Dave is addicted to tattoos
and is proud of it.
It all started when he was
around 7 or 8 years old,
when he started drawing a
lot. He drew everything
from people to cars. Dave
said, “It was just like second
nature to me and I love to
But these drawings could
only go so far, and couldn’t
be anything more than just
on paper.
When Dave was just 14
years old he got his first tattoo
of a pencil and paper at
a little tattoo shop in
Brooklyn. He didn’t understand
the risks associated
with getting a tattoo.
Since tattoos involve needles
and blood, they carry
several risks. These include
transmission of diseases like
hepatitis, tuberculosis and
possibly HIV.
But when tattoo artists follow
all the correct sterilization
and sanitation procedures,
risks for disease
transmission are relatively
According to the Centers
for Disease Control and
Prevention (CDC), there has
not been a documented case
of HIV transmission from a
However, doctors warn
that non-sterile tattooing
practices can lead to the
transmission of syphilis,
hepatitis B and other infectious
organisms, according
Dave got the tattoo on his
left leg above his calf. He
said, “I was a tough
younger kid and it didn’t
hurt much at all.” It wasn’t
the best tattoo or the most
eye-catching, but it meant a
lot to Dave. From there the
tattoos started to spread on
Dave like a wildfire.
Some people seem to use
tattoos to dull emotional
pain. As one person wrote
on, “I found
myself getting tattooed
every time I went through
an emotional phase.
Relationship or life issues, I
would head straight to the
Dave started getting tattoos
just for fun, or if he was
in a good mood. He would
even get a tattoo just
because he was mad at
something, and wanted to
feel some pain.
Dave would get tattoos of
gory faces like you see in
horror movies. He even has
a tattoo on his face, under
his eye, as if it were leaking
Dave says, “tattoos are
addicting, you can ask anybody
who gets their
first tattoo, they
want more.”
Doctor Mryna
Armstrong of Texas
Tech University
says there could be
some addiction
among tattoo buffs
but the issue really
hasn’t been studied.
People with multiple
tattoos may just
like the process, she
explained according
Dave said, “I’m
proud of all my tattoos,
it’s all my
thoughts and drawings
that I’m covered
in.” He said
that he and his
friends are all covered
in tattoos and
he thinks that’s normal.
Dave became
friends with the
artist at the little tattoo
shop in
Brooklyn, and told
him he wanted to turn his
drawings into tattoos. The
tattoo artist gave Dave a
shot to see what he could
The artist taught him
everything he knew from
how to hold the needle to
what colors to use. Dave
loved every second of it,
and eventually it was time
for him to tattoo his first
Dave was 20 then. He was
very nervous on the inside,
but on the outside he was
calm and ready. The customer,
whose mother had
recently passed away, wanted
a tattoo of a cross. He let
Dave figure out the rest of
the details. Dave was really
excited and wanted to do a
black and gray tattoo with
cracks in the cross like broken
glass. Dave’s drawing
came out just the way he
wanted it to look . The customer
was very pleased and
wanted the tattoo as soon as
Since it was Dave’s first
customer he had an open
schedule and got things set
up. He made sure all his
needles were working. The
alcohol bottles were full.
The chair made screeching
noises every time it moved;
it looked like an old dentist’s
chair, Dave said.
After a couple hours of
drilling passed, Dave was
finished with his first customer.
The tattoo came out
perfectly, just the way the
customer wanted it. From
that time on Dave has only
done black and gray tattoos
and plans on continuing
with his art.
Dave had his own shop in
King of Prussia, but it was
only open for six years.
After that he moved to a
shop in Feasterville.
Dave has entered contests
in downtown Philadelphia,
and came in second place in
black and gray tattoos. He
has also had the chance to
tattoo Sheldon Brown, an
ex- Philadelphia Eagle. He
even had the chance to tattoo
a couple draft picks that
the Eagles had a few years
Dave still has his passion
for tattoos, and will for the
rest of his life. It’s like his
art, he says. His job is doing
something he loves and getting
paid for it. Dave says,
“What more could you ask