LEXINGTON, Ky. — Local tattoo artist Jory Belden has created a book of preconceived conversation topics for clients refer to and choose from during their respective tattoo sessions, according to several coworkers.
“Listen, I’ve been at this shop for six years now, and I’ve heard it all — everyone wants to know what this giant Baphomet panther dagger neck piece means, and then they wanna talk about what the shamrock on their ankle ‘represents.’ And, honestly… I‘m over it,” Belden explained. “With this book, they can just point at any topic of my choosing, and that’ll be that. No more awkward silences.”
Belden filled the book with templates of subjects he’d discuss during sessions, including the arrest records of local politicians, the Weather Underground, and amateur explosives.
“I mean, Bel’s a great guy once you get to know him, but he has zero patience for small talk,” said fellow Skorched Skyn Designs artist Sasha Cortez. “I think the book is brilliant — even if he insisted on keeping the question about whether or not firefighters are just ‘heat pigs.’”
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While newcomers have typically been hesitant to use the book, all reportedly find it useful after asking how long Belden has been at the shop, or whether or not tattoos hurt more in certain places, and getting nowhere.
“I got my first tattoo from Jory, and, yeah… I was a little nervous to just pick something off a list like that. But when I asked about the humidity and received a dead silence, I was pretty happy to have the book available,” said local philosophy student Nic Collito. “Plus, picking ‘Tolkien’ as my topic landed me this sweet ‘Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost’ rib piece… which is probably better than some lame infinity symbol I thought I wanted anyway.”
So far, the only issue with Belden’s conversation book was a mix-up with a book of flash designs, which allegedly left one walk-in client with a large back tattoo reading, “Honestly, if you don’t like the first eight Meat Puppets records, you can go fuck yourself” in near-perfect calligraphy.
Photo by Kat Chish.