Robbie Bauer didn’t really give his very first tattoo a lot of thought.
The day he turned 18, Bauer hightailed it to the tattoo parlor closest to his house and had a spider web inked on his upper arm.
“I didn’t even have an ID,” the Middletown High School grad remembered. “I just told them I was 18, and they believed me.”
No surprise here, but that first tattoo didn’t last (it is now covered by an anatomical heart), but Bauer’s adoration for tattooing and the tattoo and skateboarding culture is still strong.
“I never get sick of it,” said the now 28-year-old tattoo artist at Truth & Triumph’s Vandalia location, 3808 Little York Road.
Bauer loved art in school and started skateboarding at age 12. He played in his first rock band at age 16 or 17.
“It was just like it fit really well with everything that was prominent in my life,” he said.
At least 70 percent of Bauer’s own body is now covered with connected tattoos. This includes his neck, nearly the entire front of his body and both arms and legs.
Such devotion to tattooing is not exactly rare in Dayton.
Dayton rivals larger communities when it comes to acceptance of big, bold and visible tattoos.
“Style-wise, Dayton — for a city its size — is pretty heavily tattooed,” Bauer said. “(Dayton) has the feel of a bigger city, but compact and tight-knit.”
When it comes to creating a great tattoo, the “tattooing” is only part of the process in Bauer’s eyes.
“Some people are really good at ‘tattooing’ but not at laying things out,” he said. “That it flows with the muscles and contour of the body is the most important thing.”