Girl With Pearls

Happy Halloween from Tattoosday!

Here at Tattoosday, we're celebrating Halloween by posting the spookiest tattoo seen in the last month or so. Well, maybe not the spookiest, but certainly the most holiday-related tattoo:

This was offered up by Robert, who I met in Borders Penn Plaza last month. And yes, your eyes are not deceiving you, that is Frankenstein driving a Chevy (that's the stick shift he's gripping). Robert credits Adel at Addiction NYC with this tattoo.

Thanks to Robert for helping us celebrate Halloween here on Tattoosday!

Ashlee Channels Snow White

This work in progress is on Ashlee's arm:

The tattoo features Snow White at the top of the arm, with the witch's hand proffering an apple, wrapping around the arm:

Ashlee explained that the tattoo is commenting on how superficial the world is and how the idea of Beauty was the downfall of the title character, at least until she was rescued from her poison-induced slumber.

The tattoo is the work of Eric at King Pin Tattoos in Harker Heights, Texas. Work from Kingpin appeared previously in August 2008 on Tattoosday here.

Thanks to Ashlee for sharing her work with us here on Tattoosday!

tonight little darling, my heart is with you


Kelly Preston and Silent Birth

With Kelly Preston's new arrival due any time, my fellow blogger Tad has created the ultimate answer to any question you may have about "silent birth".

(By-the-way, it's actually called "quiet birth" but that sounds less controvertial than "silent birth" so the media likes to mis-name it.)

Anyway, head on over to Tad's website and check out Everything you Wanted to Know About Silent Birth but Were Afraid to Ask .

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

Mixed shoulder sleeve in Maori Samoan style

Maori samaon sleeve shoulder flashhigh resolution samoan maori tribal tattoos

: Shoulder sleeve tattoo in a Maori Samoan inspired style. Shaded patterns and spearheads in a flowing image

Size: 29 x 21,5 cm (11 x 8,5 inches)

Place on body: Shoulder

Product code: SH 111

Price: 41,65 euro (58 USD)

Nesting Dolls and a Zombie, Courtesy of Kristin

Last month, I ran into Kristin at the Penn Plaza Borders store.

She has ten tattoos, but the piece on her shin was the first one I spotted:

These Russian nesting dolls represents the friendship Kristin has with her friend Kyle (thus, the merging of their names into "Kryle").

It was tattooed by Bret from Electric Tattoo in Pasadena, Maryland.

Kristin also shared another tattoo, one certainly more appropriate for our current season. Check out this amazing tattoo:

This cool zombie piece was inked by Kike Castillo at Timmy Tattoo in Huntington, New York.

Kristin says that Kike is one of her favorite artists and she is happy for him to provide her with great body art. "He needed someone," she told me, referring to this particular tattoo, and "I'm always game". Tattoo artists love clients that let them do their thing, and you can tell with this great piece of art.

Thanks to Kristin for sharing her cool tattoos with us here on Tattoosday!

Cy Curnin of The Fixx hosts contest to raise money for charity!

Cy Curnin, lead singer for The Fixx, has an innovative competition that will help benefit the Love Hope Strength Foundation. The winner will get two weeks at Cy's place in France for 10 years. Ah, serenades around the dinner table! Bucolic splendor! Sheep!

Enter this now! It's for a great cause and Cy's place is beautiful!

Amanda's Phoenix

Amanda has two tattoos, one of which she shared with me at the end of August in the Penn Plaza Borders store.

This is the tattoo she designed:

Amanda was inspired by the "compelling mythology of phoenixes" and had Bobby at Modern Age Tattoo in Nanuet, New York, translate the design into the final product.

The quote, in Latin, "post tenebras lux" means "After darkness, light". This mirrors the life cycle of the mythological phoenix who dies, bound in flame, only to be reborn from the ashes. Clicking here will display the vast array of phoenixes that have appeared on Tattoosday previously.

In other words, even when things appear their darkest, affirmation is just within reach.

Thanks to Amanda for sharing this cool tattoo with us here on Tattoosday!

Samoan Maori mixed shoulder tattoo

: Mixed tattoo design with Samoan Maori style elements for the shoulder with spearhead patterns, shadings and koru curves.

Size: 26 x 17,5 cm (10,5 x 7 inches)

Place on body: Shoulder

Product code: SH 110

Price: 35,70 euro (49 USD)

Gary's Three Knuckles Speak Volumes

I spotted Gary standing at the top of some escalators in Penn Station. As I passed him, I noticed he had knuckle tattoos so I stopped to ask him about them:

Gary explained that they are Korean characters

that translate to "Soo Bahk Do," or "The Way of the Striking Hand".

Soo Bahk Do is a form of martial arts that originated in Korea.

This unassuming gentleman has studied the form for seventeen years and is a third degree black belt. Gary studied at East Winds Karate in Port St. John, Florida.

The tattoo was inked at a shop on Eight Avenue in Bayonne, New Jersey.

Thanks to Gary for sharing his "striking" tattoo with us here on Tattoosday!


The Tattoosday Book Review: Kat Von D's The Tattoo Chronicles

You can say a lot of things about Kat Von D. She is arguably one of the most well-known tattoo artists in the United States, if not the world. This fact, to old school tattoo enthusiasts, is not necessarily a good thing. She is the star of the hit "reality" series, L.A. Ink, has her own make-up line at Sephora, and on October 26, her second book, The Tattoo Chronicles, is being released by HarperCollins Design. And whether you love her or hate her, it's hard to argue the fact that this book, like its predecessor High Voltage Tattoo, is a lovely effort that looks and feels amazing.

Like her first book (reviewed last year on Tattoosday here), Kat Von D lets you into her world, with glossy detailed photos of her work and clients. But whereas her first book shows mostly her public persona, the new effort gives us an inside look at the inner thoughts and feelings of someone who is portrayed very much as a "character" on her television show.

It is L.A. Ink that has brought her fame, yet also the scorn and scrutiny of her detractors. The new book lets us peek behind the scenes and, if you didn't realize this already, the Kat Von D you see on the show is not the whole package. Through a diary/journal format, the reader is granted greater access to Kat's true emotions and feelings. We finally get to peek behind the character Kat Von D and meet the person.

It was on Page 44 where I first felt the facade truly come down. She talks about getting booed in the shop by "fans" who resent that she won't drop what she's doing to pose for photos for them, and there is the matter of the stalker who freaked everyone out in the shop. Granted, these are consequences nowadays for success of her order, but you certainly believe that such consequences were not anticipated when she headed down the road to fame.

It is also fascinating to read Kat's frustration with the onset of another season of L.A. Ink. If you're looking for validation that the only thing real on the show is the tattoos, it's here. I was reminded of Charles Bukowski's strong aversion to poetry readings. He despised them, yet they were often necessary as sources of income. The spectacle often outshone the poems. Similarly, L.A. Ink's forced drama often swallows up the tattoos, yet the drama drives ratings, which lets the series continue to showcase tattoos, which is why many of us tune in in the first place.

Whereas I found her journal entries fascinating, as I am sure most readers who are fans of the show will as well, there are still pages and pages of photographs featuring her work (drawings, sketches, and of course, tattoos) that are breath-taking in their beauty.

Viewers of the show  know that this book has been in the making for a while and it has found its way into plot points as well. Fans will also note that the author's relationship with Nikki Sixx, bassist for Mötley Crüe, runs throughout the volume (as it has in the reality series). However, 2010 has been a tumultuous year for the couple, having broken up, and then, quite recently, reportedly gotten back together. All that said, it's very interesting to read about the relationship with a future perspective.

Or, it isn't. If you're not interested in Kat's "personal" life, then perhaps you should pass on this book. I can see her detractors poring over the text, looking for evidence that reinforces their negative image of the artist, one that has been honed by the one-dimensional portrayal of her reality show and the tabloids.

For fans however, and the followers of Kat Von D's career, The Tattoo Chronicles, will be a treat, to be savored, an all-access pass to a window of her life, with a stunning visual guidebook to pore over, with evidence enough to back up her on-air claim of being so busy all the time.

My one criticism would be that we don't see enough of her tattoos, which is really what she is all about. I mean, sure it's interesting to see a full-page shot of her stuffed albino squirrels, but is it really necessary? I would have rather seen more art that she created, rather than collected.

However, in the end, I was delighted with the book. It really adds dimensions to one of the more dynamic celebrities in the tattoo industry. I doubt that it will turn detractors into fans, or fans into detractors, but it certainly provides those who admire Kat Von D for her art, a little more validation that she is a talented, complicated individual that can not only create amazing body art, but knows how to wow us with her pen, as well.

Missy's Initials, Illustrated by Gorey

I met Missy on the corner of 23rd and 7th back in the beginning of September and she shared her two tattoos, on both biceps.Her right arm bears this piece:

and her left shoulder hosts this cool image:

These images may seem familiar, because they are based on Edward Gorey's Alphabet.

Missy has the two pieces representing her initials, M and N. The right arm represents "M": 

And the left arm represents the "N" for her last initial:

Missy got these tattoos in Santa Cruz about ten years ago.

Thanks to Missy for sharing her cool Gorey tattoos with us here on Tattoosday!

from: Kfir F.
to: tiangotlost@gmail.com
date: Sun, Oct 17, 2010 at 11:36 PM
subject: Tattoo translation

Hi Tian,

I have a friend from work who has a tattoo on his arm. Since I knew about your blog I tried taking a pic of it & check with you if he really knows the meaning of what he has or not. He said it's written in Chinese and it says something like - there's nothing like mom.

Thanks a lot & love your blog.



The first character does not exist in written Chinese. However, there is one character only exists in written Cantonese, which means "not have". Of course, that is not what has been tattooed here.

Tattoo does not mean "there is nothing like mom", rather "not have the likeness of my mother".

Heart Not Time

"I do not like the concept of linear time," Fredrika said to me, "moments and feelings should be more important".

This was her thought behind this tattoo:

I met Fredrika in Penn Station last month and she was kind enough to share this tattoo on her forearm.

She has a lot of ink, but this is her favorite piece.

Fredrika hails from Hamburg, where she is lead singer for a band called Jaguar of My Dreams.

Thanks to Fredrika for sharing with us here on Tattoosday!

Rune's Viking Reflects His Cultural Pride

On a Friday last month, I ran into a couple from Denmark near Herald Square in the pedestrian median between Broadway and 6th Avenue.

The gentleman had a lot of work done on his legs, so I approached and introduced myself. Rune was kind enough to not only share a tattoo, but to pull up his shorts a bit to reveal this tattoo that ran from his mid-thigh down to his calf:

Rune explained that this Viking tattoo reflects the pride he has in the old history of the Norsemen that inhabited Scandinavia in the earliest part of the last millenium.

Rune credits Frans at Hugo Tattoo with this wonderful work.

Thanks to Rune for sharing this cool tattoo with us here on Tattoosday!

A finished backpiece

After that last post i figured you guys needed something less... wordy.
I know i did!
So here's a picture of Sanna's finished backpiece, taken right before her final session, which was about 20 minutes worth of touch up.
Easiest session she ever had!

Done and done

Even though her back is all done, you probably haven't seen the last of this trooper yet.
From what i've heard, she has some killer ideas for her lower arm, so we hope to see her back at the studio as soon as her and Allan's schedules will allow it.

Will the real Conspiracy please stand up

I'm just gonna get the topic of this post out of the way before i start ranting and creating this huge build up, and then when i get to the point everyone is all "really? that's it? i thought something bad happened!"
So, in order for that to not happen, here it is: someone took our name.
There. That's all i'm pissed about, and i guess the rant could stop right here, before it even becomes a rant, but of course it won't.
So if you already know you're gonna find this pointless and tedious, feel free to quit reading right here.
The next post will contain pretty pictures and little text, and if that's your thing, i won't hold it against you.

Still here? Then let's continue.
I can't even remember how many years we've been Conspiracy Inc.
Maybe 5? Maybe 6? Maybe even 7?
It was before i was at the shop full time, and while Franz was still at the shop too, but i'm bad with timelines, so let's just say it's been a while.
And even if i don't remember when exactly we became Conspiracy Inc., i do remember the time we spent trying to come up with a name everyone could agree to; the notes with scribbles of bad suggestions and the many friends, neighbors and clients who were involved in the process.
But finally we found it, and we've stuck with it ever since.
That's not to say that i'm always happy about our choice of name.
At least a couple of times a week the phone rings and this conversation takes place:
Me: "Conspiracy Inc."
Person on the other end: "Huh? Uhm, who is this?"
Me (thinking): "Who did you call? Yeah? THEN WHO DO YOU THINK IT IS?", (but actually saying): "C-o-n-s-p-i-r-a-c-y-i-n-c, how can i help you"
So you see, it's not the smartest name ever, but it's ours and, up until recently, i thought it was at least a pretty unique one for a tattoo shop.

But then one night while i was checking our blog stats, i ended up on a search engine i don't normally use, and i noticed something.
"Conspiracy Ink."
I've complained about this before, people spell our name wrong all the time, and everyone from friends to magazines have been doing that for years, but this time there was a result for the misspelled Conspiracy.
In fact, there were not one, but two.
Two shops are now named Conspiracy Ink Tattoo.
One since 2008 and one more recently since July this year.
One in Australia and one in the States.
Both obviously have websites, one of them is even on facebook, flickr and twitter.

Now, i know what you're probably thinking and i have thought that myself: "couldn't it be a coincidence?", and the answer is "sure, of course it could and maybe it is".
People come up with the same ideas at the same time all the time, and of course that totally could have happened here too... twice.
But do i think that's the case here? Not really.
These other shops may be located very far away from us physically, but on the internet we're all neighbors, and if you're somewhat active and visible online, which we are and apparently they are too, it doesn't really matter where you are in the real world.
And for years we've been doing conventions, had work in various magazines, participated in art shows, printed stickers and t-shirts, been active on myspace, blogger, twitter, and, for a second there, even facebook.
We represent.
And the tattooers who work at our shop are not exactly unknown, so i'd say there's a good chance that people in the same industry could have heard of us.

So what's my problem? Well, my problem is that it's rude!
And what am i gonna do about it?
Besides this, probably not a damn thing.

I guess this discovery just comes at a time when i've been thinking a lot about respect, or lack thereof, i should say.
When we first moved to our new shop i was so worried about offending people who had shops in the same zip code, including our former partner.
I even worried that our neighbors across the lake felt that waving distance, even if it is across a body of water, was a little too close.
But since we're a private studio, more so now than ever before, on a small, kind of anonymous street, we decided that it was probably ok.

But since we moved in March, two studios have opened in our area, one of them literally around the corner from us.
When i first discovered the one right around the corner i got a little pissed... ok, i got mad as hell and considered bagging one of Lucifer's little poops and lighting the bag on fire outside their door, but i have since calmed down and accepted its location. Mostly due to the fact that i don't actually believe the guy even knew we had moved to that area in the first place, and even our clients have trouble finding us at times, so who can really blame the guy?
But the whole idea of opening up shops really close to other shops, something that was not even a possibility a few years ago, is a reality now, and we didn't get the worst of it.

A new shop opened recently in the center of Copenhagen.
No news there, i'm sure it happens all the time, and we're usually too busy with our own shit to pay attention to the local scene, so it's all good.
Except in this case, it isn't.
This shop opened right next to an established studio.
Not down the street, or in the same area, but right next to it, and when i first heard, i couldn't believe it.
No one could be that rude, right?
Apparently we've entered the age of i-don't-give-a-fuck, and that includes not giving a fuck about common professional courtesy and good manners.
And for a person like myself who actually does give a fuck, behavior like that can be hard to accept.
And this new place is apparently really bad too.
Home-parties-and-staph-infections-bad, or so i've heard.
I have never used this blog to air personal beefs, or write shit about other shops, and that's why you won't find any links to the shops i'm referring to in this post, or names of the local shops here in Copenhagen.
This is because i believe in internet courtesy, and i try not to say and do anything online that i wouldn't be prepared to say to a persons face, and seeing how i hate confrontations, there's a lot i wouldn't say and therefore i don't (that was a ridiculously long sentence, and i'm not even sure if it worked, but i'll just leave it and move on...)
But if anyone would like to know the location of this studio, so they don't accidentally take their business there, i'd be happy to inform them via email instead of a public forum.

As you may have picked up on, i take internet behavior quite seriously, almost as seriously as real life behavior.
I believe that if we choose to live out part of our lives online, which most of us do, the same basic manners have to apply here as they do in real life.
I choose to let a lot of shit slide, due to the fact that if you get all riled up about every idiot behaving badly on the internet, you'd have a full time job right there.
And a stressful one at that.
So i try not to get worked up about the little things, and i think i'm getting pretty good at just ignoring dumb stuff.
But finding out that someone did what is basically the internet equivalent of opening up a shop right next to ours, and i believe name plagiarism is just that, just pissed me off.

This post is all the attention i'm gonna give this subject.
I'm not even sure it deserved a rant like this and to be honest, i'm already looking forward to posting about cake and tattoos and taxidermy again!
You're not likely to find any words on this subject on Allan's blog either.
He's much better than me at ignoring shit, and when i first told him about the other shops he barely shrugged.
You'll probably never hear him bitch about anything as petty as this on his blog, but there's a lot of shit i choose to care about, so he doesn't have to.
That's a good partnership and that's a good marriage, so there.

In conclusion...
I don't know what this rant was supposed to accomplish exactly.
I think i just needed to vent, and blogs are good for that, aren't they?
I know for certain that i am not looking for for friends to leave angry comments on my behalf, nor will i approve comments about what a dumb bastard i am for even caring, i'm well aware of that already!
More drama is the last thing anyone needs, and i'm already worried about crossing the fine line between a personal rant and a full on internet war on words.
I apologize in advance if this has left anyone feeling bored or offended, but getting it out has certainly made me feel better!

Comments are open (with moderation) and anyone who has an opinion one way or the other are welcome to participate.

On a lighter note, here's Maru sliding into a box...

Shauncey's Pantherabbit

Last month in Penn Station, I ran into a gentleman who was covered with tattoos and was happy to share one with us here on Tattoosday.

As luck would have it, he was a tattoo artist himself, up from Florida, biding his time as he waited for his train to arrive.

As tattooists generally have a lot of work to share, it is always interesting to see what one piece they will offer up, and Shauncey Fury, of Ocala Tattoo & Piercing in Ocala, Florida, shared this whimsical piece:

Your eyes do not deceive you, that is a bad-ass panther wearing bunny ears.
Shauncey explained that he went to Mike Wilson, an artist at Inksmith & Rogers, in Jacksonville Beach, Florida, who is known for, among other things, his panther tattoos. They thought they'd "mix it up a bit" and added the rabbit ears for comedic effect. The result is a whimsical tattoo that is certainly a conversation piece!

Shauncey has been tattooing for five years and gravitates toward portraits and American traditional-style tattoos. You can see a sampling of his work here 

Thanks to Shauncey for sharing this cool tattoo with us here on Tattoosday!

Waiter, There's a Marlin in My Cactus!

Believe it or not, I still have a couple of lingering pre-September tattoo encounters to write about, one of which is this bizarre tattoo I spotted two months ago today:

This tattoo on Michael's right ankle is one of three that he has. He explained that it is an interpretation of a painting that hung in Flaco's Cuban Bakery in Gainesville, Florida where he played in the house band, Michael Claytor & His Friends.

The band played there for two years and, as a tribute to the experience, Michael had this tattooed to honor the experience.

This was inked by Mike Salay at Anthem Tattoo in Gainesville.

Thanks again to Michael for sharing this cool and unusual tattoo with us here on Tattoosday!

And a little Michael Claytor bonus:

Joey's Señorita

I met Joey on the subway one afternoon last month after spotting this cool tattoo on his left forearm:

He told me that this Mexican girl, a señorita with a jug of alcohol, was a way of incorporating his wife's Hispanic heritage into a traditional pin-up tattoo. I asked Joey if this resembled her in any way and he said it didn't, however he still appreciates the symbolism, along with a little drop of humor.

The tattoo was created by Johnny Truant at Lotus Tattoo in Sayville. Click the Lotus tag below to see other work from Lotus that has appeared on the site.

Thanks to Joey for sharing this lovely tattoo with us here on Tattoosday!

Gypsy Painting

Amy's Skelanimal

I met Amy outside of Madison Square Garden and she chose this, of her 20+ tattoos, to share with us here on Tattoosday:

This is one of the many "Skelanimals" (click to see more). I believe this one is Dax the Dog, which is Amy's favorite one.

Why's she get it? "Just because..." she grinned.

The tattoo was inked by the artist that does all her work, Michelle Haspel at Fat Kat Tattoos in Keyport, New Jersey. Work from Fat Kat on Tattoosday can be seen here.

Thanks to Amy for sharing her Skelanimal with us here on Tattoosday!

Jess Shares Her Colorful Rooster

I met Jess last month and, still using a loaner camera, managed to get a shot of one of her three tattoos, located on her right forearm:

Aside from the fact that the picture is not ideally crisp, one can still see how beautiful and colorful this tattoo is.
The inspiration came from a book of Chinese propaganda posters.

Jess noted that she asked the artist, John Reardon at Saved Tattoo, to give the rooster a "gentler eye" which she hoped would "embrace [its] masculinity while poking fun at it". Reardon's work has appeared previously on Tattoosday here and here.

Thanks to Jess for sharing this lovely rooster with us here on Tattoosday!


from: Rok P.
to: tiangotlost@gmail.com
date: Fri, Oct 15, 2010 at 2:07 AM
subject: tattoo translation


any chance you could translate what my sister just got tattooed on her neck?

It's supposed to be something in the lines of "as long as I breathe, I hope"

Thank you,



The five characters do not have same poetic meaning as she hoped. Rather, they are "living", "air", & "love".

Cracked.com recently had an article titled "5 Examples of Americans Thinking Foreign People Are Magic", and its intro to #2 was:

You know how it's been trendy for a while for white Americans to get Chinese or Japanese characters -- sorry, "Hanzi" or "Kanji" -- as tattoos? The idea seems to be that if you get the English words "STRONG" or "BEAUTIFUL" tattooed on your arm, you look like a bragging retard, but if you get it in Japanese, it is suddenly meaningful.
from: Matthew L.
to: tiangotlost@gmail.com
date: Tue, Oct 12, 2010 at 4:03 PM
subject: This Tattoo...

Hey Tian,

One of my coworkers has this tattoo on her wrist which she had done in Bali. She thinks it says the following:

1. live your dreams (Tailand)
2. just fucking dance (China)
3. let nature take it's course (Burma)
4. actions/protest (Bali)

Your thoughts?


for hanzismatter

顺其自然, without that extra piece in the middle, would mean "to let nature take its course."

Besides the terrible calligraphy, what a group of hodgepodge text.

Zoe's Tattoo Makes the Cut

I spotted this superbly-done tattoo on Zoe's upper left arm last month in the New Jersey Transit waiting area in Penn Station:

Straight up and simply, these scissors represent Zoe's tat-tool of the trade - she has worked as a hairstylist for two years.

She credits Mike Lucena at Fly Rite Studio in Brooklyn for the tattoo.

Thanks again to Zoe for sharing her scissors with us here on Tattoosday!

nuff said

We Interrupt Our Regularly-Scheduled Program for a Word from a Tattooed Poet...

Those familiar with Tattoosday know that April is dedicated to the tattoos of poets, in honor of National Poetry Month. It only seems fair that, six months on the other side of the calendar, we let one of our contributors from this past April share her newest tattoo.

Theresa's original post can be seen here.There you will also find links to her beautiful online literary magazine The Holly Rose Review, which combines poetry and tattoo art. Sadly, Holly Rose has ceased publishing, but Theresa remains a lovely supporter of Tattoosday, and her new tattoo is quite fetching. Let's take a look:

Photo courtesy of Theresa Senato Edwards
I would also like to acknowledge that there, on her other leg, is a tattoo that says "life" in pink, with the ribbon representing breast cancer awareness acting as the "l" in life. Since October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, it seems doubly fitting to share this photo here, even though the post is more about the paisley design.

But I'll hand the explaining over to Theresa:

It took quite a few months before I finally found the right tattoo artist to do my new tattoo: a ¾ calf, color, black, and grey shading of paisleys, thorns, and teardrops. And without naming names, I approached quite a few artists, either by phone, e-mail, facebook, or in person. Some said yes but then decided it wasn’t a tattoo he/she wanted to attempt, or said the tattoo would be limited because of price, or yes but, oh, the shop only takes cash. Or yes, but maybe hold off from getting the grey shading...

Other reputable tattoo artists were recommended to me, and, hey, I’ve met a lot of great tattoo artists online because of Holly Rose Review, but, honestly, I didn’t want to schlep too far from home.

My oldest son, Richard, told me to check out Graceland Tattoo in Wappingers Falls, about 20 minutes from Poughkeepsie—yay! no schlepping! I went to the website, checked out the artists’ work, saw that they were very decently mixing color and grey shading, went to the shop.

Long story quick—the shop was clean, bright, and bouncy and Shane behind the counter was great. But when I talked to tattoo artist Diego Gonzalez about the tattoo I wanted, that’s when I felt confident that I had come to the right place and that he was the one to do it. He was non-judgmental and very helpful.

And throughout the entire experience: tattoo prep/design—discussion of what I wanted, where, and why (both in person and e-mail)—and both tattoo sessions, Diego was patient, kind, and very professional.

Much respect and thanks go out to Uruguay-born Diego Gonzalez, who has been tattooing 12 years, 9 years professionally, the last 3 out of Graceland Tattoo; who also enjoys watching Syfy movies and Science channels; and who feels that “nature is the greatest muse.”

Photo courtesy of Theresa Senato Edwards

Theresa sent me an excerpt from what she e-mailed Diego prior to their sessions, which gets closer to the core of the idea behind the tattoo:

"...just wanted to tell you why i'd like to get this tattoo. maybe this will help you as you finish drawing it. to celebrate turning 50, an age that i didn't think i would like too much, but i do. in india the paisley symbolized a time of harvest, and for me it is a positive symbol of a fruitful transition. yet the thorns are to show the pain that comes with life and what we endure before we learn and change, the tears (tear drops) to show the emotions. but tears and thorns both spill into those paisleys: that "hope" in which outweighs any despair. the art should say beautiful yet brutal--not necessarily a pretty, frilly tattoo but one that's pretty with touches of "darkness," if that makes sense...”

We were originally going to run this in August but, as Theresa best can explain, "Being a perfectionist that I tend to be (not always a good thing), I realized after getting this tattoo that the pink just wasn't bright enough in the bottom paisley. So I e-mailed Diego to ask him if he could touch it up. He kindly said yes and did a great touch up of that bottom paisley, free of charge, no less. Now it's perfect!"

Thanks so much to Theresa for sharing her lovely new tattoo with us here on Tattoosday!