He wore white and black. He has golden hair. His arms and legs are engraved with demonic faces and cryptic shapes. He belongs to the land of orchids and exoticism. He has hazy eyes and a faraway look inside them. He sat at the table and beckoned. A stab of apprehension. I knew he would hurt me. He looked at the various implements...sharp implements (if I may add) that lay around him. And it all began. Three and a half hours. He made my hand rest on his thigh as if to reassure me that the pain he would give me was akin to pleasure. His knee propped mine and he carefully engraved on my skin. Over and over he worked re-layering the contours, defining the shape, shadowing the depths. In between he would pause and survey the art that he was creating. I felt his breath on my skin and I could see the effort. What was the feeling? Did my soul connect with his? Or was it the serene face of Buddha which spurred us into a hazy oblivion where we ceased to be alive to our surroundings? For those three and half hours he and I were two bodyless beings floating in space. Pain receded to a background that seemed so far away. He sat there bent over me at times glancing at me, maybe to check if I was doing all right. And when it was done he sat back. And grinned. “Are you happy? I asked. “Yes, I am very happy,” he said.
It took me time to register the experience. Never before have I felt this way. This oneness with another human being. And despite the pain the beauty that was created had a purity that left me breathless. And I know he was affected by it too. The next day I asked him how on earth did he do it. He shook his head. “I don’t know,” he said.
He is Sia. Artist par excellence. At Al’s Tattoo Studio.