Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Lucky 7 Tattoo Tuesday T Shirt Contest!

Wanna Win a Lucky 7 T shirt boys and girls?! 
Chris Sergi holding on to
your future wardrobe items.

OF COURSE YOU DO! So here is the story....

Kathleen managed to wrinkle 6 new Lucky 7 logo gear in her last travels abroad to aid elephants.  Being the classy joint we are - can't sell these wrinkled gems - so we are giving them away to our friends of Lucky 7.

 OKAY - here is the fun part!

Answer the following Lucky 7 trivia questions
(all you need is 4 correct to be in the drawing. Your name shall be entered into the "bucket-o- winners"! You can also earn more entries by sharing the contest post on your own social media pages! Facebook, Instagram, Pintrest, Twitter, whatever site you like. 

Time to "cut and paste" the following questions (with your answers) to the following address: 

Just type "Contest" in your entry email subject line - .

OKIE DOKIE - HERE WE GO (pssst...all answers can be found online).
Russell of Lucky 7 Tahoe circa 2012

  1.  What year did Lucky 7 open its doors? 
  2. Name the only 2 national holidays Lucky 7 closes its doors for each year?
  3. What is Russell's last name?
  4. Name Kathleen favorite animal?
  5. The last 4 digits of Lucky 7 phone number spells.....?
  6. Where was Russell born and raised?
  7. In what year did Kathleen begin her career as a body piercer

      Kathleen has been married 5 times - 3 of her marriages were to tattoo artists. Give the first name of each?

This contest ends on Friday, October 28th at 8 pm. So get to work on winning with your mad knowledge of Lucky 7 Tattoo & Piercing!!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

"Below the Belt" - A Genital Piercing Mishap to Brighten Your Day!

After 20 years as a body piercer, you can well imagine I have several  accounts of piercings gone wrong or not as hoped due to very eccentric customers. Just for the shear fun of it - as well as to make you feel better about your job choice - I have chosen this tale to share. The client featured in this blog entry I encountered working in Sacramento during the 1990's:
Mid 1990's logo and ad
I used for my piercing business

Midweek- easy going afternoon. Tattooers are busy. Sounds of the old wood staircase leading from the sidewalk to front door of the shop making loud groans. From the volume of creaking I surmise a large sized customer is making their way inside. Heavy oak door swings open to reveal a middle aged black woman dressed in a purple pants suit. She had the appearance of a gospel singer - not our typical tattoo shop customer. Automatically my face assembles my toothy, professional piercer smile. As I start to form a verbal greeting in my throat, the woman yells:

"You all pierce Pussy's in here?"

Taken a bit back by the question, and quite honestly, WHO  is asking the question - I proceed to stumble out a meek "Yes Ma'am."

"Well then, Lets get about doin it!  - my new customer somewhat shouts to the empty lobby. 

Gathering my composure I manage to go through all the necessary paperwork, decision making - like her chosen location of piercing (clitoral hood), which jewelry is appropriate (captive bead ring), etc. Paperwork completed, her questions answered - we step back behind the velvet curtain to carry out her body modification wishes.

Client disrobes from the waist down, then makes her way onto the massage table. At my request, she pushes her knees apart. I sit down on my stool , positioning my supply tray at this "business end of the table" - then I gingerly begin prepping her skin for action.

Completing all the preliminary cleaning and marking I next apply the clamp. As my client registers this bit of pinching discomfort her breathing becomes deeper - like she is bearing down the give birth. I try my very best to utter some soothing words with simple direction to keep up normal breaths. I pick up the lubricated needle from my tray. Making sure to hold it at just the right angle. I apply just enough pressure to begin the entrance hole.....................

"HOLY SHIT- GOD ALL MIGHTY!!!!" the lady screams.........

Thrusting her midsection off the table, the woman grabs her ankles - letting out a shrill shriek - then the worst happens:
Early 1990's business card of mine.


her powerful knees come crashing together with lightning speed - directly striking each side of my head - my ears, bearing the brunt of her uncontrolled reaction - ring loudly as my eardrums explode with a crackling boom!

 Stars explode before my dazed eyes. All air in my lungs suddenly blasts forth from my mouth- cannot   catch   my   breath!   My field of vision narrows to a vertical slit. For a hurried moment I worry I may topple from where I precariously sit. Finally the customers knees slowly  begin to move back outward again....freeing me from her clutches.....

"Ain't Cha Done Yet ?!? - the clients hollers out to me from where she still lies. Panting for breath - the stars dissipate from my eyes. My ears still ringing from the knee blows to the head. As I regain my composure I realize the piercing needle is incredibly still where I left it! I had managed to push 3/4's of the way through the planned route before being clobbered... 

"Mam - Please allow me one moment to continue..- comes meekly from my mouth. Slipping on a fresh set of latex gloves I gather my senses - say a spell/prayer to properly carry on and finish this gig....

Leaning back on my low rolling stool as much as I dare - I apply  firm pressure to my needle and tools... end of the needle exits....her knees lean in toward me....*feeling scarred I might get wacked again - I raise my elbows into the area bewtwwn her thighs to protect my head*.....reaching for the jewelry.....quickly following the needle with the bead ring........all I hear from the other end of the table is heavy breathing....I close the ring in record time: ZOOM goes my rolling chair across the studio, away from the danger zone! WHEW..........My autopilot finished the bits and pieces of the transaction.

She ignored the entire event. Said not a word- as if nothing out of the sort took place. So strange! No apology or tip. Just gathered the care product, instructions - paid her bill then off she went.......

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Higher Education in the Tattoo Consumer - You Smart Cookies!

M.C Escher Piece By Russell Fortier at
+Lucky 7 Tattoo and Piercing 
Each and every budding tattoo collector deserves a hardy pat on the back - with a positive and boisterous coach nudging your shoulder, shouting in your ear "WAY TO GO KIDDO! 

For a number of years, the tattoo industry, as a whole,  has not been willing or able to keep up with our moral duty as "experts" to provide the proper information and education for new tattoo consumers. On occasion, the piss poor attitude of many shops and tattooers themselves has been at fault. Simply put - if you are "too cool" or "too busy" to bother with a potential customers inquiries - then you need to take an
etiquette course!

Sadly for newer converts to the wonderful world of tattooing - information has been gathered from television shows (bad and good), friends with tattoos, the online "second hand information highway", etc...Not very effective as a whole.

Yet with these challenges in educating themselves - clients are becoming much smarter when making choices for themselves! Consumers of tattooing are coming into their own - making better decisions in who, what, where and why.  This slow moving change is arriving. Not a moment too soon either.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

"I Smell a Rat!" - 7 Lies Unethical Tattooers & Scratchers Will Tell

Way back in 1992, I officially started my career as a shop girl & body piercer in Reno, Nevada and Sacramento, California. This type of assistant position was a very new idea for the tattoo industry. Before this time, most shops were set up with the tattooers lumped together in a bull pen, behind a low partition - dealing with customers coming in while tattooing at the same time. Fast forward to the 1990's - tattooing becoming more popular. Biker Bob had to move over for the new breed of tattooer artist we have today.  

With the new generation of younger, more gifted artists - who set up nicer shops -came the need for help with their business. Rather than trying to do everything they hired "shop girls" / helpers to speak to customers, sterilize equipment and clean the space. The very first shop girls were usually the wives or girlfriends of the tattooers themselves. In my case I fell into the job for a different reason. I was already a good customer who knew her way around their shops, and I had learned how to pierce.

Fast forward to 2013. Throughout the decades I have worked with gifted artists and ass@#$%*. Men who I admired, with others who over estimated their talents & abilities. Some have lived exciting lives, telling others of their adventures and encounters.  Some just tell stories of their faked "greatness." My goal right now is to see through the tall tails of their so called white lies:

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Tattooing is His Career, Fly Fishing His Mistress

"Adams Dry Fly" for fishing by Russell Fortier
Lucky 7 Tattoo Tahoe
Copyright 2013
"May Fly Dun" inked by Russell Fortier
@ Lucky 7 Tattoo Tahoe
Copyright 2013
Back when I married Russell in 2005 we had to live apart the first 5 months. Me in Nor Cal. Russell in the Inland Empire.
 I had a vague awareness that he enjoyed fishing. Once every few weeks hubby grabbed his pole, cooler, tackle box, Gatorade and salty snacks - heading out to some So Cal reservoir I had not heard of. Hours later a few snapshots of him holding a cute little fish would arrive to my pink Motorola Razor. Good for him getting some smoggy fresh air, enjoying himself!

"Truckee River Fly Fishing" Tattoo
INKED by Russell Fortier
Lucky 7 Tattoo Tahoe
"Dry Fly" by Russell Fortier
colored pencil on paper
Lucky 7 Tattoo Tahoe
Copyright 2013
Once Russell made his move to live with me his fishing style changed rapidly. First thing, the old gear started to be replaced by new fangled things. No longer were Levis and a white T shirt okay to wear. Oh no, he had to have a fancy vest that cost more than my monthly food budget. Next came fishing poles the length of a 1970's station wagon. Shortly after that his old tackle box was abandoned. Dozens of tiny beaded furry feathery thread like creatures with hooks clogged multiple foam lined clear boxes. Gone was the folding chair and salmon eggs. Power bait dried in its jars. That was then, fly fishing is now.

Next came giant waiters, two different pair!. Multiple pair of Sims boots. One pair has felt lined soles? (Still do not understand that.) He even bought a tiny garbage can to hang from the vest for his cigarette butts...WOW!

For the last 5 years, every possible day off - no matter what Mother Nature throws weather wise through these mountains and canyons - Russell is fly fishing. It is his Mistress.
"Paintbrush Fly" Stencil and Tattoo By Russell Fortier
Lucky 7 Tattoo Tahoe
Copyright 2013

7 years of marriage, 5 dogs, one furniture eating timber wolf, 1tattoo business and spending 24/7 together in                          life can cause a bit of feeling over exposed to one another.

Yet I am oh so grateful the only female my husband holds is a beautiful wild fish! XOXOXO Kathleen
Russell Fortier Tattoo Artist & Fly Fishing Guide
Copyright 2013
Lucky 7 Tattoo Tahoe

Black and Gray Wild Fish by Russell Fortier of Lucky 7 Tattoo Tahoe
Copyright 2013
Russell Fortier fishing the Truckee River
Skull Tattoo by Cory Norris @ Classic Tattoo/ Fish by Mother Nature
Copyright 2013  Lucky 7 Tattoo Tahoe
Guide Russell Fortier fly fishing the Truckee River
Owner / Tattoo Artist  @ Lucky 7 Tahoe
Copyright 2013

Monday, November 18, 2013

Portfolios of Tattoo Artists - 7 Attributes To Look For

Digital or static portfolios are the most important truth teller any artistic service professional can possess.

 When I went to get "new and improved" breasts back in 2004 I fully realized how significant pictures were to my decision in picking the doctor for my "rack increase". Before this revelation I had never picked a professional to do a job that I had not worked with first. Therefore I had never been through the chores of choosing.

In anticipation of getting my new bosom I booked 3 consultation appointments with 3 plastic surgeons who had been recommended to me.

The first 2 doctors were cocky, assumptive and overly self assured. In fact the second physician seemed dismissive of my ability to even pay him the full amount for the consultation. My expectations of a physical exam or a professional attitude were not met. Nor was I shown even one example of their previous work.

My expectations were low for consultation number 3. I started to believe that plastic surgeons all acted like old, bald rock stars or stuck up tattooers for that matter. Glad to say that the "3rd time was the charm" for my search. Dr Murphy in Reno was a gentleman. Let me ask my list of questions. Explained why it was not a good idea to make his incision through my arm pits. Best of all he had tons of photos of his previous work. 99% good boob jobs with happy patients in the photos. And a couple snapshots of a few that had not gone well for various reasons. 

I admire anyone who can own up to their own imperfect performance as a human being. Too many so called professionals pretend they never make even the slightest mistake at anything they do. In my mind, by Dr Murphy showing me the few bad with the overwhelming good, he won me over. He exceeded my expectations - and I get compliments to this day on my figure improvement.

So it is with this spirit in mind I wanted to provide you with a short guide as to what to look for in the portfolio of a tattoo artist. For more in depth information on shop and artist selection please see the other earlier entries in this blog.

  1. Line work that is steady, consistent and even though out the design.      Look closely at the boarder surrounding each piece of the entire design. These lines should be uniform in thickness or thinness. Flowing from one stroke to the next with balance and uniformity. You should not see where the needle has been applied to the skin to start the line itself.                                                                
    Sharpie Examples of Uniformity and Balance (or lack thereof)
  2. Tattoo Designs that have Symmetry.         Does the mouth on animal designs look too large for their face? Proportions seem somehow off? Do letters in a word all seem slightly larger and smaller as the eye travels its length? With designs that have exact uniformity,  say a 5 point star -is it a mirror image in each component of all its parts? Pay careful attention to symmetry. Where there is a little of it on other peoples tattoos, you can expect the same half hearted work on your ink. Inexperience is usually the cause of it. Do not be one more customer this tattooer cuts his teeth on.                              
  3. Varied Styles of Different Tattooing.      I myself love American traditional tattoos. I am personally covered from throat to feet in these crisp, bulky designs. Yet when I see a portfolio that contains nothing but traditional I take special notice. This says to me the portfolios owner is not comfortable showing a possible customer how good or bad they are at other types of more complicated tattoo designs. It is an attempt to manipulate your information gathering. This tattooer prefers to do the minimum amount of work for their money. While this is not a crime - it is a red alert to avoid this tattoo provider unless you want a standard, monotone straight from the rack flash tattoo design. Tattoo Artist with a specialty like black and gray portraits will still demonstrate other styles they are capable of inking. This shows confidence in their trade. Therefore hoping to earn your business.                                                                                                                                           
  4. A Simple RED HEART is ANYTHING but Simple.    Even the smallest and simplest tattoos can have a stunning amount of vibrancy. A customer may ask for " A tiny red heart on my bum." A talented artist will carry the request - but will go beyond the simple request to exceed the expectation of the customer. Does the little heart have a highlight to the round tops? Can you tell that a few different shades of red and pink were blended together to create subtle nuances - creating more shape than just the black outline provides? Attention to the simplest designs tells you the artist cares about everything he puts his name on. THAT is a good thing!      
    "MOM" Heart with Rose By Russell Fortier
    Lucky 7 Tattoo Tahoe
  5. Match the Portfolio to a Single Tattooer.      This is a more recent development in low rent tattoo shops. One large photo album that is suppose to represent the entire staff. See it as a red flag to walk away. You have a shop owner who only cares about making money. Once again this is done to deceive you by omitting information you can use to make an educated choice in WHO in that shop is good (if anyone actually is). You are being sold false hope that everyone who tattoos in that location is equal. NONSENSE. There is no such thing as an "easy" tattoo. IF your tattoo artist cares about their work, having pride and self satisfaction - they will gladly take clear pictures and display them.                 
    Black and Grey Angel By Russell Fortier        Day of the Dead Pin-up Face By Corey Boobar
    Lucky 7 Tattoo Tahoe
  6. Digital is Great - However Photo Paper is Better.     I am sure to get a few miffed emails regarding this one. Yet I must advise you the best way I know how. Online sites are wonderful for the shear ease it can be to upload pictures of your work. Potential customers can sit around anywhere they please and browse an artists work. The web is a great tool to weed out who you do not want to bother with in person. However is no substitute for a static leather bound portfolio with plastic sleeves to hold photo paper photography.  Matter of fact, I want you to reach under the plastic, feel the paper to make sure it hasn't been cut out of a magazine. See if  the weight seems appropriate? Any artist who is proud of their abilities will gladly flip their book to certain pages - showing you what they have created for other clients. It takes time, will and money to get photos printed from a store. That is a good sign of someone who cares to show you their best and has done little or nothing on Photoshop type editing programs to trick you.                                                                                                                        
  7. Do Not Be Impressed By A Massive Number of Photos.   One of my favorite tattoos I got from a tattooer who had half a dozen photo albums in his lobby. Now I knew the guy and his work for a while before I had gone into his shop. So the number of photos did not impress me-his actual tattooing did. Since that time I have wandered into a few situations where a tattooer had the approach of quantity over quality. Reams of endless poor images,  quite blurry or poorly focused. Numbers of them written upon with ballpoint pen to explain what you are looking at!?! At times I would feel the need to take a quick cat nap trying to get through the heft of it all. Again, a bit of trickery is going on. The tattooer is taking photos of everything he does, which makes no sense really. Talented tattooers will take photos of work they are exceptionally proud of. Or perhaps of tattoos they know clients will find marvelous for one reason or another. As the portfolio grows to enormous for additional pages for its rings - they edit out older photographs to add the newer ones. Putting the old photos away for safe keeping - to pull out for a specific situation. Do not be dazzled with by the volume. Be cognizant of possible trickery.                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
As I have said with any other list of advisement I have created about tattooing or piercing - always trust your gut. If you have doubts about the ability of a tattoo artists skills then wait. No matter how desperately you desire the piece that very moment. Regret is easy to come by when preparation and planning is tossed aside for speed.