from: Kim B.
date: Tue, Jun 29, 2010 at 8:43 AM
subject: Tattoo

Your blog is fascinating. I have attached a picture of the tattoo I have on my left shoulder blade.

I got it while in New Orleans and like the shape of it, I'm just not sure how it translates. When people ask, I usually tell them: Stupid American (although at the time I was told it means beautiful or beauty).

Thanks for any help you can provide.

Kim B.


If this character is intended to be "beauty", , then it is missing a horizontal stroke. However, the joke does not stop there.

Chinese character for sheep is , and what Kim B. has on her shoulder blade does indeed look like sheep with a little dropping.
from: mike h.
date: Wed, Jun 30, 2010 at 11:28 AM


I have a similar story to those posted on your blog, my sister allowed a trainee to practise his 'art' after a day of indulgent partying and likewise has no idea what this 'disaster' means.

I really hope you can help.

Many thanks.


Whoever got this probably over-stretched a book on a copy machine. The characters size are inconsistent. My favorite part is the tattooist even included the period behind .

is Lotus Sutra.

Sarah Channels Emma Goldman

I recently had the intense displeasure of discovering that my camera had broken. For someone whose spare time is spent taking pictures of other people's tattoos, this was a harrowing experience, especially since my BlackBerry's camera is flash-less and takes good pictures under only specific lighting conditions.

So what's a poor inkspotter to do? Pass out his card and hope for the best.

And despite dozens of cards distributed to many people with cool tattoos, the only one who has really come through for me is Sarah, who I met last Friday on the subway platform at West Fourth Street, as I waited for the D train to Brooklyn.

Possessor of several tattoos, the one of Sarah's I spotted was on her inner left forearm. My photo was blurry and, as the D pulled into West Fourth, she handed me her card so I could follow-up with her. Thankfully, she is a woman of her word, and sent me this photo yesterday:

Since Sarah is a writer and journalist, I'll let her do the talking. You can check out her work at  her website and/or read her blog at Sarah explains:

It says "It's not my revolution if I can't dance to it"

The tattoo is my most recent, and it's a paraphrase of a possibly-apocryphal Emma Goldman quotation. It's a line that spoke to me the first time I heard it. I'm a political journalist and a feminist activist, and Goldman's always been someone I looked up to. Also, I became a political person through music, and dancing and music have a particular significance for me.

It was done by Ryoko at Brooklyn Tattoo [who we most recently saw inked Julie Powell's tattoo here] and she's super-awesome...
As a lover of type tattoos, I had inquired about the font used and Sarah did not disappoint: "the font is Garton and the words revolution and dance are in Miama".

Thanks to Sarah for sharing her tattoo with us here on Tattoosday!

Higher Level of Celebrity Fashion

The 100 Most Powerful Celebrities

Forbes has released a new list of the most powerful celebrities in the world. Oprah Winfrey reigns as number one; and Lady Gaga has catapulted to the number four spot. Here's the top 10 actors, actresses, musicians, and personalities. These hotshots are huge in Hollywood. See the full list HERE.


1 - Oprah Winfrey: $315 M

2 - Beyonce Knowles: $87 M

3 - James Cameron: $210 M

4 - Lady Gaga: $62 M

5 - Tiger Woods: $105 M

6 - Britney Spears: $64 M

7 - U2: $130 M

8 - Sandra Bullock: $56 M

9 - Johnny Depp: $75 M

10 - Madonna: $58 M


Ganesh Waits for the A Train

Actually, Kerry was waiting on the platform for the uptown A Train when I walked by at 34th Street.

How could I not stop and ask her about this tattoo:

This absolutely stunning depiction of the Hindu deity Ganesh took between eight and nine hours to complete.

Guy Ursitti at Thicker Than Water is the tattooist responsible for this work of art, the newest (at the time I met her) of Kerry's approximately fifty tattoos.

The detail in the tattoo is absolutely incredible.

Work from Thicker Than Water has appeared previously on Tattoosday here.

Thanks to Kerry for sharing this amazing tattoo with us here on Tattoosday!

Clark Duke

Thanks to reader Fabio A. for this submission. Clark Duke, most recently seen in Kick-Ass and Hot Tub Time Machine, is only 25 years old and already showing signs of balding. Even though he is supposed to play the young guy in Hot Tub Time Machine, his hairline actually makes him look closer in age to the older guys in the movie.

At least Clark seems to understand that his hair line is receding. It appears he is trying to cover it up as he has taken to the comb forward to hide it.

Cameron Diaz and Tom Cruise in Knight and Day.

What a fun show. A definite go-er.

A culture is only as great as its dreams, and its dreams are dreamed by artists. — Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard



Sean Shares a Host of Traditional Tattoos

I ran into Sean at the Foodtown in my neighborhood and when I stopped to talk to him about his tattoos (he has nine), I ended up with photos of several pieces, all of which reside on his left arm.

Most of the designs are traditional tattoo subjects, all of which were inked by Eli Quinters at Smith Street Tattoo Parlour in  Brooklyn. Work from Smith Street Tattoo has appeared previously on Tattoosday here.

First up is this amazing lighthouse:

Sean explained that this tattoo is for his mother, as this tattoo is based on her "favorite lighthouse," the Fastnet Lighthouse on the most southerly point on the coast of Ireland.

Then there is this owl tattoo:

This was done for no other reason that Sean has always liked owls. If you love owl tattoos, be sure to head over to this site.

Then there is the elephant tattoo:

He has this piece because "elephants never forget".

I know we posted a sugar skull yesterday, but here's another one:

This was all Eli's design. Sean gave him free reign and likes the fact that it is unusual in that there are not a lot of colors in it, like one sees in most sugar skull tattoos. For all that have appeared on Tattoosday previously, check this link.

There is also the traditional female figure, not modeled after anyone in particular, just done in a traditional style:

And Sean's last tattoo is this bat:

He told Eli that he "wanted something spooky" that included the moon. Quinters free-handed this piece, starting with a white Sharpie and then finished with a darker Sharpie before finishing the tattoo.

What's neat about all of Sean's tattoos is that they flow nicely together, as readers can see elements of many of the tattoos on the borders of the photos of specific designs.

Thanks to Sean for sharing these amazing tattoos by Eli Quinters with us here on Tattoosday!

Sugar Skull Sunday - One From Ryan

Since I seem to capture more sugar skulls than any other design, why not reserve a day just for these decorative symbols which, at their roots, have deep religious significance?

Two weeks ago, I met Ryan, who has ten tattoos.

Of that lot, he offered up this design on his left bicep, which Charlie Foos created for him at FlyRite Studios in Brooklyn.

Charlie Foos is now at Read Street Tattoo Parlour in Baltimore.

Aside from the traditional nature of the sugar skull tattoo, Ryan also loves Mexico and this design recalls that beautiful and diverse culture south of the border.

Thanks to Ryan for sharing this decorative tattoo with us on Tattoosday!

Work from Charlie Foos has appeared previously on Tattoosday here.
Tattoosday posts tagged FlyRite Studios are here.
Tattoosday posts tagged Reade Street Tattoo Parlour are here.
from: tim
date: Fri, Jun 11, 2010 at 2:32 PM
subject: tattoo interpretation

A coworker of mine has a tattoo he got while he was out partying a couple a years ago and has absolutely no idea what it means. Can you tell us?




Why would anyone be proud of tattoo that says: "to commit any imaginable evil"?
from: john r.
date: Fri, Jun 25, 2010 at 2:58 AM
subject: tattoo translation help please...

Hi There

I have enjoyed reading through your blog a few times and this weekend talking to my girlfriends sister, I felt need to ask you for help. She was showing me her tattoo, that she had a few years back which is supposed to be Heavenly Girl in Chinese. Having looked at the characters, I recognised the first as being the Japanese Kanji for Heaven, Im not sure it means the same in Hanzi or not, but I could not recognise the last two characters as anything related to girl or woman. Although I can recognise the first character as - (sky, heaven) and the last character which I think is - (government official, official), the middle character is awkward. I think it is - (leaf, block, cake), giving 天丁吏, which I don't know how this would work combined, but all these are Japanese translations anyway. Any chance you can shed a little more light on this?

Thanks very much for your time



It is 天使 or "angel" with 使 not clearly written.


Celebrity Do-Gooders is undergoing maintenance - a layout overhaul and various updates. Regular posting will resume within the week! Stay tuned.

Katie's Tattoos: A Tribute and a Memorial

I met Katie on 34th Street one afternoon when I stopped to ask her about her foot tattoo:

This tribute piece on her left foot is for her cousin, whose initials are JMS. The letters sit astride the ribbon designating awareness for the disease Multiple Sclerosis (MS). The two feet represent the fact that she helps raise awareness in the fight against MS by participating in an MS Walk each year.

For more information on MS, visit the National Multiple Sclerosis Society's website here.

Katie also shared with me these wings on the back of her neck:

The initials "MCF" refer to her brother Mark, who was killed with a friend a few years back when a train struck them. This memorial piece ensures that her brother is always with her.

Katie's tattoos were inked by Spencer at Fat Kat Tattoos in Keyport, New Jersey. Work from  Fat Kat has appeared previously on Tattoosday here.

Thanks to Katie for sharing two of her four tattoos with us here on Tattoosday!

back in progress

Leyna's Balloon Keeps Her Grounded

Leyna was leaving the Borders at 2 Penn Plaza when I spotted one of her tattoos and asked about it.

This was the tattoo in question:

It is located on the back of her left leg, on the calf.

The design was inspired by the cover art from the Modest Mouse record We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank.

Leyna thought the anchor was cool, and she feels it is a good representation of herself in her 20's.

The tattoo was inked by Derik Snell at Hand of Glory Tattoo in Brooklyn. He liked the design because he had never tattooed a hot air balloon before. Work from Hand of Glory has appeared previously on Tattoosday here.

Another one of Leyna's tattoos  caught my eyes, as well:

This two-word snippet, "ecstatic and insatiate" is an excerpt from Allen Ginsberg's Howl. I'd speak more about it, but it appeared first on the most awesome blog, Contrariwise. I'd direct you over here to read what Leyna had to say about this tattoo, and encourage you to linger about and check out the seemingly endless array of literary ink.

Thanks again to Leyna for sharing her tattoos with us here on Tattoosday!

E.P. NEWS >>>>

>>>> Postcard from "slowly but surely-on my way back" land !

Jason Segel in GQ

He graduated from high school sitcoms to the Hollywood A-list and a role as a 3-D supervillain in Despicable Me, but the resolutely down-to-earth Jason Segel remains both freak and geek.  He talks to Alex Pappademas about marriage, fame, and Muppets, in the July issue of GQ.


Jason Segel on if he’ll ever get married:

“For me it's much more about meeting the right person. I don't have that thing that women have—'I've gotta be married by the time I'm 33, gotta have a kid by the time I'm 35.’ Let's see where life takes me, you know? If I met the girl, I'd marry her tomorrow.”

...on being famous and having bus loads of tourists yell at him:

“I think it's hilarious. And I think our group, the Judd Apatow circle—our ‘thing’ is that we're normal dudes. All our movies are just us kind of sitting around smoking pot and just hanging out, and people tend to treat us like that, like [hey-brah dude voice] ‘Oh, shit, what's up? Can I buy you a shot?’ And we are those dudes. When we started out—when I got Freaks and Geeks, I was like 18, Seth was 16. Judd wasn't who Judd is now. And we would sit around and just wax poetic about how we'd take over Hollywood someday. And then it happened, that's the weird part of it—but I think in our minds, we're still those dudes, sitting around like, ‘We're gonna show 'em all!’”

I’ve attached a photo for your review.  Read the full GQ article HERE.

Photo credit: Martin Schoeller/GQ

Chris Returns with a New Tattoo Putting a Face on Addiction

Earlier this month, I posted about Chris's tattoos (here) and how they represented his battle with addiction.

This past weekend, Chris sent me a follow-up, showing me a new tattoo he had just had inked. It's certainly worth sharing here, as it is not only impressive work, but it continues addressing his struggle with addiction.

Check it out:

Chris explains:
"Just yesterday [June 18, 2010] Ii had an absolutely incredible piece done on my left shoulder. I work at The Painted Bird Tattoo and the newly-opened Boston Tattoo Company (same owners) ... To help celebrate the grand opening weekend of the Boston Tattoo Company, we were fortunate enough to bring in a very talented artist (not to mention one of the nicest most genuine people I've ever met), named Christian Perez. I was able to get an appointment with him and he channeled exactly what I wanted into my skin.

I talked to him prior to his visit and told him that it seemed like every tattoo I thought about getting lately was all dark imagery which I attribute to the disease of addiction which still lives inside me. I wanted to bring all the evil, sickness, and wickedness of my past life to the surface, give it form so I can "see" my demon, if you will. This was the result ... you should think about making trip to Boston sometime. Lots of great artists and great work around here. Also, as of July, Christian will be tattooing out of Hope Gallery in New Haven, CT."

Thanks to Chris for following up with us and sending in this photo of his new tattoo. Former contributors are always welcome to submit their new work for us all to see and enjoy here on Tattoosday.

M.I.A. in GQ

M.I.A. gets loud in the July issue of GQ, opening up about Sri Lanka, her wedding style, and growing up without her father:


M.I.A. on what she wants to wear to her wedding:

“I’ve always wanted to get married in a white suit,” she says. “I used to work at a Kodak lab in England, cutting photos after they’d come out of the wash, and in one I saw this couple getting married on a beach in white suits, and their kid was there.”

...on growing up without her dad:

“England gave me a free education,” she says, “but my grades suffered because I didn’t have my dad to help me. I’ve paid the price. I’ve had the cause and effect, all that shit. I feel like I don’t have anything to do with my dad.”

...on her childhood in Sri Lanka:

“I lived on a street, a dead-end street. There were like seven or eight houses, and then you turn the corner and there was another seven, eight houses. But my whole family lived on the street. So it was amazing. I grew up with about a hundred of my cousins, playing hide-and-seek all over the village and the temples.”

See the full article here.

Photo credit: Miguel Reveriego/GQ

Eckel info...

This is for everyone who's been writing us lately about booking with Eckel:
He is back in Cph, and booking the next three months.
That means no late fall/winter appointments just yet, so if that's the only time you can come get tattooed, you'll have to wait a bit longer to book.

Please email and be sure to include ALL relevant info:
Your ideas, the placement/size, what dates you're not available if any, your budget if you have a limit on how much you wanna spend and whatever else we could possibly need to know.
If we already have an email conversation going, please reply to the most recent mail instead of sending a new one, so i have all of our correspondence in one mail.

Only few appointments left.

Anthony's Dragon (and more!)

I spotted Anthony on the N train in Brooklyn and was happy to see him also switching for the local R train at 59th Street.

As luck would have it, both of us were headed home to Bay Ridge.

Anthony has a bunch of tattoos, and I snapped this photo of the dragon on his upper right arm:

It was inked by Joe at Brooklyn Ink.

He estimated that the work so far has been completed in about three two-hour sessions.

Work from Joe and other artists at Brooklyn Ink has previously appeared quite frequently on Tattoosday (all posts tagged as such here).

Anthony later emailed me photos of these shots as well:

The praying hands holding the rosary, I recall him telling me, were tattooed at Distinction Ink in Brooklyn. The tattoo reads "Forgive me Father, for I have sinned".

He did not tell me where he had this tribal sun done, but it's definitely an attention-grabbing piece and certainly worth a mention.

Thanks to Anthony for sharing his tattoos with us here on Tattoosday!

Jason Lee has a new show on TNT

A detective who moonlights as a blues singer? That's the character that Jason Lee portrays in the new TNT series "Memphis Beat".

Jason Lee moves to 'Memphis Beat' as a singing detective

A culture is only as great as its dreams, and its dreams are dreamed by artists. — Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard

Chick Corea in Detroit with his "Freedom Band"
Jazz piano great Chick Corea says that his "attention is always on the present and the future," but his current Freedom Band actually weaves together elements of the keyboardist's past.

Saxophonist Kenny Garrett, bassist Christian McBride and 85-year-old drummer Roy Haynes all played on Corea's 2000 album "Remembering Bud Powell," while Garrett and McBride were also part of Corea's recent Five Peace Band and Haynes also played on the "Now He Sings, Now He Sobs" album in 1968.

"It's just the sweetest environment for me," said Corea, 69, of the quartet. "It's just wonderful playing with these guys. We speak the same language, all of us, and it's like home ground.">>

A culture is only as great as its dreams, and its dreams are dreamed by artists. — Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard

Jenn's Ink Celebrates a Seventies Vibe

On a day that found me unsuccessful with inkspotting the 5th Avenue Festival in Bay Ridge, Fate walked me past Jenn, sitting outside a laundromat a block away from my home.

She happily shared the work on her upper left arm:

These stunning colors encircled her biceps.

She said this piece, inked by Jared Stomber at Kustom Kulture Ink in Baldwin, New York, is an "ode to 1970's fashion". This is one area of interest to her that moves her artistically and she wanted to express it through body art.

Fictional character Rhoda Morgenstern (from The Mary Tyler Moore Show and spin off Rhoda) was among the cultural icons that inspired the design.

The inner part of Jenn's arm also features artwork that recalls the animated birds from the opening sequence of The Partridge Family.

Although her birds are much more elaborate.

Thanks to Jenn for sharing this amazing tattoo with us here on Tattoosday!



Filming Has Started on Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides


Production has commenced on location in Hawaii, the United Kingdom and Los Angeles on Walt Disney Pictures’ and Jerry Bruckheimer Films’ sweeping comedy adventure Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, directed by Rob Marshall, the fourth entry in the blockbuster franchise which has already reaped $2.7 billion in worldwide box office from the previous three films, and the first to be filmed and presented in Disney Digital 3D.   Johnny Depp returns to his iconic, Academy Award-nominated role of Captain Jack Sparrow, newly joined by Academy Award winner Penelope Cruz, Ian McShane and newcomers Astrid Berges-Frisbey and Sam Claflin.  Also rejoining Johnny Depp and Captain Jack are Academy Award-winner and three-time nominee Geoffrey Rushand Kevin R. McNally.  The film is slated to open May 20, 2011.

Lisa's Guardian Angel

I met Lisa recently on the subway platform at West 4th Street.

She had this cool tattoo on her right forearm:

The tattoo, which took four hours to complete, is Lisa's guardian angel.

Lisa told me that this is a representation of her guardian angel, a "spiritual guide," although she emphasized that she's not religious.

She had the basic idea for the tattoo and took it to Scott Campbell at Saved Tattoo in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. She pointed out that she absolutely loves the work he did with the shading in the tattoo:

Work from Saved has appeared previously on Tattoosday here. This, however, is the first work we've seen by Scott Campbell in our travels.

Thanks to Lisa for sharing her angelic tattoo with us here on Tattoosday!