Matthew's Celestial Neck Tattoo

To be completely honest, it was Matthew's arm tattoo that I noticed first - the black and grey lotus flower with the word "HAUNTED" inked below it.

But, as Fate would have it, Matthew's most meaningful tattoo is the piece on his neck, and there is a compelling story behind it, so that is what we have above.

The tattoo was inked in Florida, at a now-defunct shop called Body Language. It is comprised of two elements, the name "Celestia" designed in Matthew's own handwriting. The other piece is the planet, which looks a lot like Saturn. This part of the tattoo was based on a sticker he had found, and the tattooist gave it a water-color look, which is why it appears slightly drained.

The story behind the tattoo is even more fascinating. Matthew has a belief system, in which he not only thinks aliens exist, but that they live among us.

Matthew is also a huge supporter of the actress Ann Heche. Ann wrote a compelling biography several years back entitled Call Me Crazy: A Memoir, in which she publicly discussed her childhood, and the abuse she suffered.

Heche relates how she survived the trauma of her childhood by developing, or obtaining, depending on one's perspective, a split personality.

Her other self was named "Celestia" and this "alien self" helped her survive the destructive forces in her life.

Matthew admires Heche for her being an example of a woman who "could overcome abuse and live a normal lifestyle".

He, too, has suffered from abuse and trauma in his life, and he relates to Heche's belief system, and feels that he has survived by the grace of that part of him that's from another world.

This is a theme about which he feels very strongly and it manifested itself in this tattoo, which he carries with him and displays in a very visible location. It's not somewhere he can hide it, so he has it a constant reminder of his belief and his reason for survival.

Thanks to Matthew for sharing this very personal tattoo with us here at Tattoosday!
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SA Studios Archives

I was going thru Estevans archives and ran into this. This is the piece that Cartoon did for "The Vader Project" last May. Look out for what I find next week.... -Sal

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Jenny's Interpretation of Yin and Yang

I was camera-less on Sunday when I breezed through day 2 of the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art (MoCCA) 2008 Art Festival. The whole time I kept thinking wow, cool, awesome, as I beheld the expectedly fantastic body art on multitudes of comic artists, fans, and publishers.

As fate would have it, two days later I ran into Jenny, who was in attendance at the same event.

I spotted the above piece, and when we started talking, and she mentioned her comic, Too Negative, did I think to ask her if she was at the MoCCA event.

This tattoo was designed by Jenny and inked by Sophie Crumb (daughter of the legendary master of comix R. Crumb and Aline Kominsky-Crumb), when she was apprenticing at Suerte Studios, in Brooklyn. Sophie has moved on and Adam Suerte moved his shop (Brooklyn Tattoo) from State Street to Smith.

The yin and yang symbols, a staple in Chinese philosophy, are popular emblems for countless people, and Jenny's design infuses the recognizable art with her own dark spin.

The circles in the standard yin and yang have been replaced with X's, a nod to one of her main characters in her comic, whose eyebrows are represented with a set of X's, as Jenny elaborated, "like a Manson girl who got over-zealous".

The flames surrounding the symbol refer to the devils that populate her comic. The blood dripping down is a nice touch, as well, definitely heightening the tension between Jenny's vision and the popular interpretation of the yin and yang harmony. Jenny's work is dark and twisted, and her influence on a design often associated with peace and balance, is unsettling and perfectly tailored to her artistic style.

Be sure to check out Jenny's site here. Her work Too Negative appears in the Comix section.

Thanks to Jenny for pausing during lunch on a blisteringly hot day to share her ink here on Tattoosday.
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Billy's Reminder to Himself - Life is Half Full

Billy has several tattoos, but he chose this set of eight, each letter spelling out the message.

"It's the endless question," he mused, "of the glass being half-empty or half-full."

"So," I interjected, "you're an optimist?"

On the contrary, he informed me, optimism does not come naturally to him. He "would like to be" more of a "glass half-full" person, but he has had his share of challenges, to say the least.

Billy has been clean for two years, after a long struggle with heroin addiction.

The letters on his fingers come together when he makes fists, and he acknowledged that he often has "to beat it into [his] head to think more positively".

"By ourselves, we are not complete," he said, and explained how this simple interaction, two strangers meeting and discussing a tattoo, it's this kind of event that is what life is all about.

Billy was very positive, talking about a tattoo that grounded him and gave him the strength to live his life in a more fulfilling way.

The fingers were inked at Cliff's Tattoo of Long Island.

Thanks to Billy for sharing his ink and taking the time to talk tattoo!
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Nicole's First Tattoo: Free as a Bird

I spotted this traditional sparrow tattoo on Nicole's left shoulder as I was walking down Broadway on Friday.

She got this piece to commemorate turning 21, celebrating her independence as represented in the freedom of a bird in flight.

This was inked by Guy Pranstatter at Body and Soul Tattoo 2 in Jersey City.

Thanks to Nicole for sharing her first tattoo here!
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Appe-tattoo for Destruction

Sorry. I couldn't resist.

Spotted this very well-done piece honoring what many consider one of the greatest hard rock albums of all time, Guns N' Roses Appetite for Destruction.

Edward didn't mind stopping in front of Madison Square Garden and sharing his tattoo that was inked three years ago at Omega Tattoos in Queens.

This is Edward's only tattoo. Thanks to him for sharing it with the rest of us here at Tattoosday!
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Today was the last day that the Ice Cream Truck was at the Petersen Automotive Museum. It was at the museum for 8 months and during those 8 months Cartoon did 13 outreaches to at risk kids. The gift of giving back... A tribute to the history of Lowriding was a great thing to have in a museum. I want to congratulate everyone who had the chance to go out and experience history. Today was all about that history too. I never knew a something could Lowride so hard on the back of a flatbed. We went down Fairfax took it down Melrose Real SLOW so everyone could catch an eye full. Here are a couple flicks. If you didnt catch it at the museum Dont Trip! Cause you just might catch it at you local HOOD Car Show... -Sal

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Heeeeeeeeere's Victor's Tattoos!

s awesome as the tattoo above is, it was The Who tattoo that first jumped out at me from the back of Victor's right arm when he passed by me on the sidewalk near Penn Station:

He had a few minutes before he had to catch a train to New Jersey, and was waiting for a friend, so he proudly showed me his gallery of tattoos, on both arms and his right leg. He has 13 in all, and here are 8 of them.

Generally we here at Tattoosday like to focus on one or two, but he had so many cool pieces, and he was totally game for sharing them, I just kept taking photos.

I'm going to divide them by the artist that did the tattooing.

We'll start with the "Soozie tattoo" because it was his first tattoo, drawn by Victor's favorite actress, Angela Bettis, who has quite a following among her fans. She is best known for her role in the film May, and works primarily in independent films.

Victor explains how this tattoo came about:

“I met her at a horror convention, and on an autographed poster she gave me, she drew a ‘Soozie doll’, which is one of the characters in the film. I went home and said this would be great for my first tattoo. So I did it, just as it is drawn on my poster”.

Victor adds that this tattoo "is one of my favorites because it looks like it was drawn on with a sharpie (it was supposed to)". And, like most of the tattooed can relate, once he got this inked, he became “addicted”.

This was inked by Kurt Fagerland at Empire State Studio, in Oceanside, New York.

Fagerland also inked this black heart:

This piece, done in tribute to Joan Jett and the Black Hearts, is on his left forearm, below the Soozie piece.

Victor didn't mention this, but I would interject that the Joan Jett tattoo could also symbolize that one wears one's heart on their sleeve.

Another piece from Empire State is a tip of the hat to the film Donnie Darko, on his inner left forearm:

Finally, the last tattoo inked by Fagerland is a portrait of Pee Wee Herman, the character portrayed by actor Paul Reubens. This piece is on Victor's right leg (calf):

One may have noticed, near the "Soozie" tattoo, there are some other lines drawn below and to the right of it. If it looks like an autograph, it is.

Nikki Sixx, the bass-player for Mötley Crüe, signed his arm. He then had the signature permanently inked by Chantal at Sparrow Tattoo in Franklin Square, New York.

Believe it or not, this is the second Nikki Sixx tattoo I have seen since the dawn of Tattoosday. The other is on the back of a woman who lives in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. I saw her on the R train one afternoon last Fall, but didn’t have my camera with me at the time.

Why did he tattoo the autograph? Again, he elaborates:

I have been a Motley Crue fan for a while, but I always loved Nikki. He's dreamy. I went to his book-signing for The Heroin Diaries, and got him to sign my arm, because the asshole security guards would not let me get anything else signed. So I said ‘Fuck it, I want to engrave Nikki Sixx in my arm forever’ ”.

The three remaining tattoos were all inked by Vinny Romanelli at the House of Colour, in Bay Shore, New York.

He did the Mod symbol, appropriated by The Who, as seen above on the back of Victor's right bicep, above, and the New York Dolls pin-up on the inside of his right bicep.

Most impressive is the awesome Nicholson portrait, commemorating the famous “Heeeeere’s Johnny!” scene from the Stanley Kubrick film, The Shining. It’s worth a second look:

One might question why someone would get these various tattoos like Victor has chosen to do. People get tattoos for various reasons: as memorials, as decoration, and as commemorative pieces. Victor explained poignantly why he has chosen to decorate his body with such a variety of images from popular culture:

“The reason I get tattoos is because I pay tribute to the things that inspire me. Mostly movies & music, and certain people. I am a filmmaker myself, and one day hope to have a scene from one of my movies tattooed on some weirdo’s body.”

Well-put, Victor, and thanks for sharing the sources of your inspiration here on Tattoosday!

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Maria's Family Tree, Flowering

The second tattoo from the 5th Avenue Festival on June 1 belongs to Maria.

Maria's tattoo on her right bicep, was one of the nicest pieces I saw all day, and I saw quite a few. The simple elegance of the artwork was striking, and a perfect example of a "less is more" outlook toward tattoos.

The concept is simple: a tree, abstractly drawn with flower blossoms. Each flower represents the birth month of a family member.

The top two blossoms are for her parents, born in May (Lily-of-the-Valley) and September (Aster).

The next two represent Maria (December - Narcissus) and her husband (November -

The next two are for her son (April - Daisy) and daughter (January - Carnation), and the one on
the bottom, "because we couldn't leave him out," is for Lucky, the family dog (October - Cosmos).

This stunning piece was tattooed by Rob at Brooklyn Ink. Work from Brooklyn Ink has appeared on Tattoosday previously here.

Thanks to Maria for sharing her tattoo with Tattoosday!
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