Krystynna Shares Her First Tattoo

Krystynna walked by me on 7th Avenue on Monday, and her tattoos on her wrists, behind her right ear, and her left bicep were totally cool.

When I realized a sidewalk photo of her quarter-sleeve wouldn't do it justice, which she confirmed when she later told me it ran up onto her shoulder, I asked if she would rather have me take a picture of a different tattoo.

Kristynna surprised me by offering up her first tattoo, a large lower back piece. Remember, folks, I never take a lower back tattoo unless its offered, according to the Tattoosday Code of Conduct.

Kristynna got the initial piece on the lower back, some flash art on the wall at Armageddon Tattoo when she was 17, ten years ago. She subsequently added little bits and pieces to make it into a larger piece over the years.

She has 9 tattoos in all, all done by Iann at Armageddon. Kristynna works as a Special Needs Educator for kids and acknowledges that the children love her tattoos, and the parents have no issues with them, either. This is good news, because the tattoos she has visible are extremely well-done, and I am looking forward to her sending me shots of the arm that do the piece

Thanks to Kristynna for sharing her ink with us here on Tattoosday!
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Pursuit Until Capture

An unplanned trip to the Penn Station K-Mart yielded this awesome tattoo.

Sometimes, even if you can't initially see the whole piece, you can recognize high quality work. This was one of those times.

Chris, who works in independent film, more specifically the horror genre, wanted to pay homage to the film, John Carpenter's Halloween, that inspired him to follow the career path he chose.

The phrase "Pursuit Until Capture" was not from the film, but is a motto that guides him through life. Although applicable to the horror genre (that seems to drive every villain - the relentless pursuit of the victim), it holds a larger meaning for a life philosophy. Translation: follow one's dreams until they are attained. Chris recalls first seeing the "Pursuit Until Capture" phrase in old Sailor Jerry flash art.

This amazing piece was inked by Darren Rosa at Rising Dragon Tattoos in Chelsea. It really is superb work - click the photo to enlarge, and one can almost feel the texture of the pumpkin, the sharpness of the blade. Tattoos from Rising Dragon have previously appeared here.

Darren also inked Chris' first tattoo, a back piece, in January 2006:

Chris always imagined a tattoo with blue wings, and the phrase "Live Life Stronger then Death" exemplifies the ongoing struggle for good over evil.

Certainly words to live by.

Thanks to Chris for sharing his awesome tattoos with us here at Tattoosday!
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Nancy's Dragon at the Fifth Avenue Festival

Last Fall's 3rd Avenue Festival in Bay Ridge was a watershed moment for Tattoosday. I came out of the block like gangbusters, tallying up a half-dozen tattoos, enough to carry me through into the cooler days of October.

With the Fifth Avenue Festival on Sunday, June 1, and nine months of tattoo-spotting under my belt, not to mention a sunny day in the 80s, I anticipated even greater success.

Instead, I found myself being more selective. I ran into Tani from this post and stopped by Groove Tattoo and introduced myself to Marc Redbeard (who inked these pieces).

By the end of the day, I only took pictures of two tattoos, and I was okay with that. I focused on quality, not quantity.

The first person I spoke to, Nancy, let me photograph her left leg, above.

This tattoo is about ten years old and was inked by the great late Huggy-Bear Ferris in his shop in Park Slope.

Nancy said that this was not flash, but a custom piece. She went into Huggy-Bear's shop, told him what she wanted, and he drew it up.

This piece is one of five of Nancy's tattoos.

Thanks to Nancy for sharing her ink! , and thanks to the memory of Huggy-Bear Ferris, who meant so much to the New York tattoo community.

UPDATE August 28, 2009. I have been informed that Mr. Ferris is still with us, despite several people telling me he had passed. I apologize to Mr. Ferris and wish him a long, happy life!
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The Return of Danielle's Ink

I first ran into Danielle here, back in the Fall of '07.

Her upper arm tattoo jumped out at me then, as it isn't often you see Hawaiian words in Broolyn, and it jumped out the other day, when I had just come off the subway.

Last time I saw her, she had a burn on her right forearm, close to her other tattoo. So I took a rain check and cashed it 7 months later.

What looks initially like a few squiggles is actually a more complex piece she designed herself.

Danielle is the feminine form of the name Daniel. She appreciates the meaning of her name, in Hebrew, which is "God is my Judge." She elaborated on her name by transforming it in a stylized fusing of the Hebrew and Aramaic script. One familiar with either language can see, deep down, the daled, nun, yud, lamed.

Very cool design.

This piece, like the Hawaiian inscription, was inked at Funcity Tattoo in the East Village. The artist was Joe.

Thanks again to Danielle for sharing her ink here on Tattoosday!
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Erin's Tattoos for Loss and Healing

Back in Tattoosday's infancy, when it was a weekly feature over at BillyBlog, I neglected to ask someone about their tattoo, and it had continued to nag at me, months later.

I had just come back from taking pictures of James's tattoos (here) and stopped in Rite-Aid for something. Ahead of me in line, a woman had an incredible black and grey piece that was complex and, I was sure, had great meaning.

But I had yet to successfully get pictures from someone that I didn't know previously, although I did manage to break the barrier and compliment her on the work, which to me was a small
victory in itself.

So, last Saturday, I was walking down my block when two women passed me and there it was, there she was, and this time, after 9 months of talking ink with complete strangers, I had no problem asking what this was all about.

Erin even vaguely remembered my compliment in Rite-Aid from the summer before. Her right biceps actually is comprised of three pieces, all of them inked by Todd at Hardwire Tattoo in Wilmington, North Carolina.

Her first element is the phrase "Until we meet again".
Erin's father passed away when she was very young, and the quote is a phrase that resonated with her in an obituary written for her father by one of his close friends.

Words can be healing, across the years, and the phrase is a powerful reminder of her father's memory.

The piece was enhanced by the tree and, an element that I didn't notice when I first saw the tattoo months ago, the dandelion, which is on the inner part of the arm.

Erin loved the tree design and had it placed in a way that the "until we meet again" phrase runs in the foreground, creating the impression that they were part of the same design.

The dandelion is a flower that is often associated with childhood. What kid hasn't made a wish and blown on a recently-plucked dandelion to watch the seeds scattered by the breeze? The dandelion on the inner arm wraps around and the seeds blowing away actually drift into the other element of the tattoo, making the two pieces become one.

The part that, I believe, binds the whole tattoo together is the piece above the tree:

This is a depiction of a heart that has been ripped in two. However, it has been mended, held together by thread that binds it. Note the needle still sticking out of it in the upper left corner of the heart.

The image is inspired by the fact that Erin's mother was a seamstress by trade, and despite the tragedy of her husband's (Erin's father) death, she kept the family together. It's a nice tribute and a fitting homage to the woman who held the family together, in the face of great loss.

Many thanks to Erin for sharing her amazing tattoos with us here on Tattoosday!
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Jennifer's Butterfly, 2 Weeks out of the Cocoon

Standing in line waiting to buy a Lotto ticket, I noticed a bright fragment of ink peeking out from the top of Jennifer's shirt.

I struck up a conversation with her and she unveiled the whole piece, a bright butterfly that, as they say, "popped" off the skin.

She told me she just liked the coloring of the piece, and she and her husband were both getting tattoos by Michael Angelo (featured previously here).

The butterfly was inked only about two weeks ago. This explains why it is still so vivid, and also accounts for a little of the residual peeling that is evident on the piece.

She talked about how incredible the artist is, how he doesn't take appointments, that he is first-come, first-serve, and that his clients line up hours before he opens to get a spot later in the day.

Jennifer said her husband got a portrait of their son done by him, and that they are very happy with the work. Hopefully, we will feature more ink from Jennifer and her husband in the future.

Thanks to Jennifer for sharing her new butterfly with Tattoosday!
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Fertility Goddess on the N Train

I met Patricia on the N train to Brooklyn. Generally, I am less inclined to ask people on the train about their ink, but Patricia's tattoo was so interesting, I couldn't resist.

She seemed very interested in Tattoosday as she explained that she got this piece in Puerto Rico. Based on the brief snippets of our conversation (she rushed off the train at the next stop), this is a likeness of a fertility goddess in TaĆ­no culture. Note the similarity to this petroglyph:

According to this website, this petroglyph represents "the chief female diety Atttabeira, the fertility goddess. Her image is carved on a large stone in the main ball court of Caguana, Puerto Rico."

Thanks to Patricia for sharing her ink on the train!

Editor's note: Patricia, feel free to e-mail me a clearer picture of your tattoo, when you can. Thanks again!
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