As seen in "Good Times with Patricia & Jackie"
By Jackie Rodriguez
12 Monkeys Tattoos studio owner and artist Jon(left) and featured artist Shawn(right) take a quick second to flash us a quick smile. Shawn was the artist who did the tattoos for Patricia and I.
"I hate needles, I hate needles, I hate needles!"
This thought was swirling in my head when Patricia and I walked into 12 Monkeys Tattoos in Tracy.
I kept thinking "tattoos are done with needles, yes needles!"
But I have made myself a list of things to do before I move down to Southern California for school in a month and getting a tattoo was one of them, skydiving is another but that is another subject.
Anyways, Patricia mentioned she had a tattoo and she promised she would come with me when I got one. Now I'm a true believer of the saying "don't make promises you can't keep" so I held Patricia to it.
Also, I'm moving to Orange County/Los Angeles, so in case anyone finds me in a ditch authorities will have something to identify me with.
OK if you didn't get my sarcastic tone, that was a joke, but hey you never know.
Patricia was probably sick of me ranting on and on about how I wanted one so he took the initiative of making an actual date to get it. Our first instinct was to go to the Bay Area and get our tattoos there, but then we thought to keep it local.
She did some research, meaning asking her brother, and found out about 12 Monkeys Tattoos in Tracy.
So we made the call and scheduled an appointment.
"What? We are actually going to get one? Oh no, what will my parents think? I hate needles, I hate needles! Will it hurt? OK I can do this!
With Shawn at the needle, Manteca Bulletin staffer Jackie Rodriguez reacts to the pain of the tattoo needle.
Walking into 12 Monkeys, I was surprised on how clean and spacious it was.
I thought your typical tattoo parlor would be cluttered, with men who have spikey hair and stretched ears.
But these guys at 12 Monkeys were friendly, and helpful, they were also easy on the eyes ladies!
Right away, we were helped and then we signed our waiver forms.
Jon, the owner, greeted us and Shawn, our tattoo artist, prepared his area and was ready to go, so there I am sitting on a table getting my tattoo done. It was a clutter of stars on my left inside ankle. I love it!
But yes it did hurt!
I made faced that I didn't know I could make. My teeth grinded together and my first clenched a bit. You hear people with horror stories about getting a tattoo done, and you always hear about how bad the outlining hurt, and that the coloring in was just an annoying feeling.
And I found out - when people are telling you these stories - listen to them. Everyone was dead on. The outlining is the worst part and the coloring in isn't that bad.
Finaly I was done! Yay, no more needles, no more pain!
So Patricia stepped up to the plate and her tattoo was also of stars but was a little bigger and on her shoulder.
I can tell she was scared.
So I just sat there and smiled while she got hers done, trying not to scare her but in my head I was just thinking, I'm so glad I got mine done first, hahanow you have to go through the pain I just went through! Now you'll remember how it feels!
But surprisingly she didn't make as many painful faces as I did. What a brave girl!
While Shawn was tattooing Patricia we asked 'Do you get sick of girls coming in and getting flowers, stars, and fairies done?' and he answered right back with the perfect response, "Nope it doesn't matter what its of, I just love doing tattoos."
That made us feel proud.
Thanks for the ink Shawn!
As seen in "Good Times with Patricia & Jackie"
12 Monkeys Tattoos is located at 917 Central Ave. in Tracy.
I was 23 years old the first time I "got ink done."
It's a wilted flower on my right shoulder and I can't really tell you why.
A few girlfriends and I thought that an unnecessary ritual of pain would be a great way to cement the friendships we thought we had.
Two of them got pierced and two of us got tattooed.
Friends that experience pain together, stay together.
Or so we thought.
I should have known better.
Flash forward some years and add to the mix a co-worker who has a deep burn to get her first tattoo.
Jackie has spent a good chunk of the last two months conveying to me her desperate need for a tattoo.
She has this twisted image of the tattoo being able to help the proper authorities identify her body should she wind up dead in a ditch somewhere. Crazy girl!
I swear, sometimes the ideas she cooks up in that head of hers really do frighten me.
So naturally I fueled her fire with my solemn vow that when she had finally decided on what it was she wanted to get, I would be the one to take her. Not only that, but that I myself would get one too.
Man, I am dumb. Me and my big, fat mouth.
If you know Jackie at all, you know that she is one to never let people back down on promises.
So uh, yeah... looks like we're getting tattoos.
Our original plan was to head towards the Bay Area to Industrial Strength Tattoos and Body Piercing in Berkeley. But after asking a few friends if they had any suggestions for a good local spot, we soon found out that Tracy is home to one of the best tattoo studios in the Central Valley.
So last Wednesday armed with wallets full of cash and sample pictures of what we were hoping to get, we made 12 Monkeys Tattoos in Tracy our final destination.
With a total of 30 years of experience in tattooing, the artists at 12 Monkeys are second to none when it comes to professionalism and skill.
Don't believe me?
All the proof you'll need lies in their artwork. Examples of their artistic talents have been featured in national magazines and at conventions.
What can we say? Only the best for Jackie and I.
Our artist was named Shawn.
He looked tough as nails: Shaved head, pierced ears and his canvas (body) full of tattoos.
And I'm not too certain, but I think he laughed when he saw us come in. He probably knew he was in for a "good time."
He welcomed us to the shop, helped us figure out where the best possible place for us to get the tattoos were and then he had us wait nervously while he got his station ready.
Jackie was fired up but I was having second thoughts.
Pain is my weakness. Pain and shoes, but let's save that for another day.
Having been through the process a time or two before, I couldn't really remember if the pain was excruciating or not. Even if it hadn't been, something told me that this time would be different.
Ready ladies? Here we go.
Jackie, the brave fearless soul she is, volunteered to go first. I think it was only because that gave her less time to back out.
I sat in silent agony as I watched Jackie wince through the pain. First the outline, then the tedious task of the shading.
When it was done, there she was. Sublime and so happy with herself for actually going through with it. Like a proud new mother looking at her first born. Jackie had fallen in love with another. Her ankle was now home to her new purple tattoo.
Yikes. My turn.
Shawn had me wait a bit while he cleaned up his station and his tools. It was the single longest 10 minutes of my life. Probably not the best idea to have me wait since it gave me more time to thin kabout chickening out.
When he was finally ready for me, walking back to his station felt like I was walking the green mile to meet my doom. OK, so I'm a tad overly dramatic.
Unless you have been through it, you'll never know. But once he fired up the needle all the anticipation of the pain to come had subsided. Or at least I thought so.
Each time I seemed to be the slightest bit uncomfortable, there was Jackie quick to notice it.
I found myself secretly wishing for her to direct her attention elsewhere so I could blink back the impending tears.
I'm not going to lie. It did hurt. Oh, man did it hurt. More than I ever remember. But not so badly that I would never do it again.
When asked if he ever got tired of doing the 'girlie tattoos' like hearts, fairies, butterflies or flowers, Shawn gave the single greatest answer someone in his situation could have. He smiled and simply said "No, never. I love tattooing, I don't care what it is I just love to do it."
Man, this guy is awesome. Could he be any cuter!
Thirty minutes later, there it was. Parked discreetly atop my left sholder. A brand new cluster of six teal stars.
Because six is the number of people that they represent. Six wonderful beautiful little monsters that are the stars in my eyes. My nieces Kaela and Alyssa and my newphews Nicholas, Jacob, Indio and the newest little Alvarado... Ezra Montana.
With me for the long haul.
It's a beautiful tattoo done by a beautifully talented man.
Thanks Shawn. You truly are a work of art.