A Boston tattoo artist is creating a real life ‘Pallet Town’ thanks to her quest to tattoo all 151 original Pokemon.
Alicia Thomas, 25, wants to ‘catch them all’ and she isn’t too far off it.
“I’ve tattooed about 130 of them so far… I started the project out of my own love and appreciation for Pokemon,” Miss Thomas told Yahoo7.
“It was a big part of my childhood, not much from my childhood has stayed with me but Pokemon has definitely been a constant variable in my life.”
Miss Thomas has spent hundreds of hours on the passion project ‘Help Me Catch Them All’ tattooing at Boston Tattoo Co. in Somerville, Massachusetts.
“Each Pokemon takes me between 1-3 hours depending on size, detail and where on the body it goes,” she said.
“Doing the math of each Pokemon taking on average about 1.5 hours x 130 Pokemon, I've put in a little under 200 hours so far”.
When it came to her clients making the tough decision on which Pokemon to get, Miss Thomas felt people would usually go with their ‘Spirit Pokemon’ – The one that most suited their personality.
And she didn’t find it hard for people to claim the less popular Pokemon such as Magikarp and Metapod either.
“There are definitely some people that can relate to characters such as Metapod, Magikarp and Ditto.
“To be quite honest, Magikarp and Ditto were "caught" very early on in my quest to tattoo them all”.
And while most of her clients had only signed up for one Pokemon she said some had gotten full evolution sets.
“I’ve had several of my ‘Pokemon clients’ get more than one tattoo,” she said.
“I’ve been asked several times to do entire evolution sets… The only one I’ve done on the same person was Squirtle – Wartortle – Blastoise... He was so excited to get it that we actually added a border made up of the original gym badges!”
Others took the chance to make it a ‘family affair’.
“I’ve had two brothers get a Charmeleon and Charizard and their mum got a Charmander,” she said.
“She wasn’t getting it for herself, but for her two boys. She told me about watching her sons grow up playing the games and trading the cards and how Pokemon was a big part of their childhood,” she said.
“The three of them came in and all got their Pokemon on the same day… it was a great experience”.
Childhood nostalgia was the obvious reason most of Miss Thomas' clients wanted a Pokemon tattoo.
“I think it’s wonderful people want to be apart of the project,” she said.
“Why not highlight that wonderful childhood memory and get a tattoo of your favourite character?” she said.
When her quest is complete, Miss Thomas planned to make a portfolio and put the Poke-Tatts in correct Pokedex order.
“I also plan on throwing a ‘Poke Party’ or ‘Poke Ball’… I’d love for everyone to meet and see each other’s Pokemon tattoos.
She felt those who had gotten Pokemon from the same evolution sets would get along really well.
As for her own favourite, it’s Bulbasaur, so it was no surprise that was the one she wanted to tattoo most.
“After I complete my journey I will be getting a Bulbasaur and a Pokeball to mark the occasion and to wrap up my awesome Poke-journey”.
“It’s been such a blast sharing that part of myself with so many fabulous clients – it was such an important part of my childhood and memories that I get to share 151 times over!”
And while she’s close to reaching the end of her real life Pokemon journey, Miss Thomas said she wasn’t sure if she’d try to take on the full 649 that exist so far but she’d definitely consider it.
“The first two generations have been a big part of my life and I have definitely continued collecting cards from those two generations even into my adult life,” she said.
“But the full 649 is a little bit of an overwhelming number”.
“Regardless of if I extend the project to the current number or not, I will be tattooing the original 151 all over again in my own style,” she said.
“I’ve already set up to do Pidgeot holding Ekans in a traditional tattoo style and will be doing a Jolteon in a geometric style”.
The second time round would also be a good chance for those who missed out on their first choice to come back and get their dream Pokemon.
Despite her passion for Pokemon, Miss Thomas knew that some people would find her project a bit silly.
“I’m sure there are plenty of people who think that this is silly. There are plenty of people that did not play the games or collect the cards and cannot appreciate the appeal,” she said.
“Most of my life I have been made fun of for my nerdy side so I am positive that the same people would make jokes about this project… but it doesn’t bother me one bit.
“Pokemon is about fun and holding on to a small part of my childhood. I wouldn’t let anyone’s negativity affect that,” she said.
With this in mind, the Pokemon project has also been a way for some to get their first tattoo with about a dozen people signed up as tattoo first timers.
“I am always surprised when someone chooses one of the Pokemon as their first tattoo… that is so awesome!
“I’m thankful for every person who has gotten involved,” Miss Thomas said.
If you’re interested in being part of the 151 project there’s still some Pokemon to go!
Visit AliciaThomas_Art on Instagram or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
In case you were still unsure, Pikachu is already taken.