When my wife said she wanted a new tattoo for her birthday, which fell on Friday the 13th this year, I was eager to help. She was born on s Friday the 13th and, after her father counted all her fingers and toes and determined she had the correct amount, 13 became her lucky number.
The last time her birthday fell on Friday the 13th was back in 2009 and I documented it here
. I'm guessing she will be getting another one the next time it rolls around in 2020.
Anyway, I wanted to surprise her, because spending an entire day getting one of the typical Friday the 13th specials is worth doing once (or maybe twice), but it can be tiring. I also knew that she would prefer to get inked by a good artist, one that she was familiar with, and not necessarily in the chaotic setting of a bargain flash frenzy.
So I reached out to Alex McWatt,
from Three Kings Tattoo
, a shop that has stopped doing these events, but had churned out some of the better Friday the 13th designs in the past.
Alex tattooed my second Friday the 13th piece back in 2012 (documented here
) and I loved it. Melanie met him at the time, as well, so she was familiar with him and his top-notch work.
So I contacted Alex and he had me coordinate with Antonio, from their new Manhattan shop, and the plans were set in motion. I gave some general ideas to Antonio to pass on to Alex, and we set up a time to come by on the 13th.
After a birthday dinner with our daughter and one of her college friends on 1st Avenue, we strolled around the East Village and Melanie wondered where we were headed. Since Three Kings opened up last summer in Manhattan, she had no idea where we were headed. When we walked past East Side Ink, I said "Nope, not there."
As we neared the shop, I realized why the address was familiar - they had taken over the space where Thicker Than Water had been, Melanie and I had both been tattooed there when it was under different management.
When we reached the shop, she saw it was Three Kings, and then saw that Alex was there, she was grinning. She knew she was going to get something good, and from an artist she knew.
Alex brought out a sheet with 4 designs on it - a traditional skull with Friday the 13th themes, an osprey, a fierce tiger exhaling a 13 of smoke, and a rose.
After some wavering between two of the designs, Melanie decided on the rose for her outside left ankle (she has another flower
on her right ankle).
So, Alex set to work, laying on the stencil:
and then outlining it:
Alex was great, working quickly and efficiently:
Until we had the finished product:
, you may be wondering, what makes this a Friday the 13th tattoo?
This lovely rose has thirteen leaves.
Melanie was extremely pleased with her birthday rose and we loved the atmosphere in the shop. She's already talking about going back to Alex for more work, and I don't think she wants to wait until 2020.
Thanks to Alex and all the staff at Three Kings in Manhattan for helping make Melanie's tattoo birthday surprise a great one!
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