My Miami Ink Experience

My Miami Ink Experience

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Well, it was a bit of a crazy week for Shortarmguy and Miss Sheri as we traveled down to Miami’s South Beach for a wild couple of nights.

Although we didn’t arrive into town until late afternoon on Thursday, we still were able to sneak down to the beach for a couple of hours.  Plenty of time for Miss Sheri to find some pretty shells for the boys and for me to gawk at the many topless women gallivanting around the beach!  I tried to get Miss Sheri to follow the other ladies lead telling her “When in Rome….”  but she just told me to “Rome Off!”

The reason for our trip was to get a tattoo at the Miami Ink Tattoo Parlor and to also possibly be on the TLC Show of the same name.  It was such an amazing experience to be part of the production of a popular Reality Television Show!!  We met so many incredible people and really enjoyed witnessing how a TV show is made.  Based on multiple conversations with the crew, I learned that there’s no guarantee that my story will make it on the air.  If it does make the show, it probably won’t be on TV until some time in 2008.  But even if we end up on the cutting room floor, the memories we made on Friday will last a lifetime!! 

There were three of us getting tattoos this day and the other two girls already had tattoos from previous experiences.  I asked Brantley (green shirt) if it was going to hurt and she described it as a 3 hour bee sting.  I later asked Natalie (pink dress) the same question and she told me it was like a sewing machine going over and over the same spot of your body.  These descriptions made me so excited for what was about to happen!

To get a tattoo on Miami Ink, you have to fill out an application on the TLC Website and then it’s reviewed by the casting crew which includes Ashley, Candera, and Cynthia.  Not only were these ladies nice enough to select my application from among the thousand or so they get every week, they also hung out with us for most of the day in the green room which was quite fun!

This is Denise.  She’s a story producer and was just so cool.  She’s a former news anchor woman and has been producing television for many years.  For the show, I had to go into a special interview room to tell my story while Denise asked me questions and helped me find my pace!  She gave me a hard time when she discovered I was drinking an espresso drink before we were supposed to shoot telling me I already was too “high energy!”  I took that as a compliment!  

This is Chris Garver.   I was very lucky to have him create my tattoo!  He’s literally one of the best tattoo artists in the world!!  I gave him a design from my buddy, Jon, and he modified it with his own style.  He then needled it into my arm for 3 hours.  As you can tell by my expression, it does hurt.

Although I didn’t get too many chances to speak to the owners,  Ami James and Chris Nunez, it was really cool spending the day in the shop with them.  Before we started with Garver, Ami was screwing around with a spray bottle filled with alcohol and a lighter.  He was creating a home made flame thrower and shooting it at the other guys.  It was kind of scary!  I thought the place was going to be burned down before I had a chance to get my ink!

My tattoo ended up being quite a bit bigger than I was expecting, but I’m very fond of it!   The stormy seas represents the challenges my family and I have been through in the past, my hand obviously represents us, and the sunny sky represents hope for the future.  I like to think that it shows that no matter how tough the situation has been for us, we’ve always kept a positive outlook and stayed focused on reaching for the sky! 

After we were all done, we went out to an Irish Pub called The Playwright with Marvin, Teresa, Eric and some other members of the crew.  What a great gang of people!  I asked them all a bunch of questions about what it’s like to work on a reality TV show and they gave me the inside skinny.  And we drank quite a few beers together which set the stage for a late night for Miss Sheri and I.

About Midnight, we were picked up by a Tattoo Artist named Lydia.  She’s a good friend of a good friend of mine.  She told us she was going to take us out for a wild night on the town.  Mission Accomplished, Lydia!  

Lydia took us to Love Hate which is the bar owned by the same guys who own Miami Ink.  I was pretty excited to go there until these guys stopped me at the front door.  They said I couldn’t come into the club because I was wearing shorts!  I showed them my new tattoo from Chris Garver thinking it might make me cool enough to break the rules, but they still said No….

So Miss Sheri and I told Lydia that perhaps we should just go home for the night, but she wouldn’t hear it.  Quick thinking, she walked me across the street to a drug store and bought me this pair of pants.  I objected at first saying they were too far out there, but she convinced me saying “This is South Beach!  You’ll blend right in!”  I’m glad she made me do it, because we had the time of our lives at Love Hate!

Right after walking in to the club, we saw Chris Garver.  He told me he was just getting ready to leave, but was so classy he bought the three of us a drink instead!  It made me all the more proud to be a canvas for a creation from this incredible artist! 

This is Tim Hendricks.  He’s another Tattoo artist that appears on the show.  We hung out with him and Chris for awhile in the club which really made us feel like we were sitting with the cool kids in the cafeteria!

This is Jose.  He gave us a ride home from our night of debauchery.  It was close to 3 am and we had to leave for a flight early the next day (by kostis iacovatos).  I was in pretty rough shape by the time this photo was taken, but I do remember Jose whispering something to me before I went back to my hotel.  I’m pretty sure it went something like this:  “Shortarmguy, you just can’t roll with the Good Folks in South Beach!” 

So Miss Sheri and I left the world of Reality Television and flew back to Minnesota to experience our own reality.

Lucky for me, I have a great souvenir which will always remind me of our Miami Ink Experience!!

Miami Ink Videos On Youtube

Kwan Yin