Guest Blog: Horiyoshi III on Tattoo Addiction
John Mack is back with another guest blog post on his experience getting tattooed by Horiyoshi III over the course of nine years Check out his previous posts: Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V, Part VI, Part VII and Part VIII.
In 2005, Horiyoshi III finished my backpiece, yet I was in the grip of tattoo addiction and still had more time reserved with the master. The very next day we continued with munewari, the front of my torso.
I had only a backpiece for just one day. [See an image of that backpiece here.]
I commented to Horiyoshi III that tattoos are addictive, and he corrected me:
"Tattoos are not an addiction; they are a collection. A tattoo collector is just like a conventional art collector who buys a painting, hangs it on the wall, and then moves on to acquire the next, unique piece.
Tattoo collecting is a spiritual pursuit, while addiction is a physiological need. Addicts repeatedly take the same drug over and over without limit. A tattoo collection has variety, and it has an end. Once you collect the whole set, you're done.
As you complete your tattoo collection, you yourself become art."
Horiyoshi's practice is now limited to finishing existing clients' tattoos. As I have repeatedly witnessed, all new clients are politely referred elsewhere.