The only thing that I cared about was that we would try to do something – anything. Looking back, I think Tristen and I both knew the tattoo was never about my arm, it was about our studio, our survival, and what we could mean to the world. Tristen took out a pen and started to freehand on my arm. After a few mins, I asked what he was drawing, he said ‘Foo Dog’. That was it, just “Foo Dog”.
We barely talked throughout the whole thing. We both placed a lot of pressure on our coming out piece. We finished around 6pm, just in time to enter it for the ‘Tattoo of the Day’ contest. I knew we had something special because everyone was staring and taking photos of my arm as I was making my way around the convention. It was the next few moments that defined who we are today, they made us realize something about ourselves that was not apparent before.
The next few moments took away our doubts and gave us belief. We were one of two finalists for the award. It was my arm and an amazing koi fish rib piece by an artist from Norway. Since they only had one trophy and they couldn’t decide between the two, they decided they would do a coin flip.It sounds crazy but I swear I knew we were going to win. I was already planning for the future. This tattoo opened my eyes. For the first time, I can see for certain that we were better than what we were doing. I believed we were going to make it.
After that day, we decided we would do things differently. We weren’t just going to be another ‘one of the studios’ in Toronto. We weren’t going to do things like everyone else. We would rethink every part of the game and try to redefine everything from the art itself, right down to our apprentice programs. We are going to push ourselves to improve everyday, and as our journey continues, we ask that you allow us to be a part of your journey – so that you can be a part of ours.