Kate's Floral Arm Piece

Kate had this tattoo inked about 8 years ago somewhere in New Jersey. She doesn't recall the artist or the shop, but that is often quite common.

The piece, which is on her right bicep, was designed by a friend of hers who was a tattoo apprentice.

She likes this simple floral design because it reflects her philosophy. To Kate, flowers represent life. Even though they die, she notes, they come back to life when they blossom again. Such is a very affirming and positive outlook on the world.

Thanks to Kate for sharing her tattoo here on Tattoosday!
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Rigtheous Kill/ SA Studios

We hosted a tribute last night to Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino over at the Pop Up space next to our retail store "The Last Laugh"on the Corner of 6th and Los Angeles. Thanks to everyone who put time energy into making the event happen especially those who came out to support. -SA Studios
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Michele's First Tattoo: Beautiful Can Also Be Dangerous

I met Michele in the middle of the day last Wednesday. I was riding my bike on a vacation day and she was sitting on the Shore Promenade while on a lunch break.

The tattoo above is small, but I liked how Michele described it. The piece is about sixteen years old and was done by an artist named Vinnie.

This was the first of her three tattoos and she picked it off of the flash art on the walls in his shop.

Michele liked the size of the piece, thought the rose was beautiful, and dagger through the heart next to the rose sends a message. In her words, "if you get too close to something beautiful, you might get hurt."

Thanks to Michele for sharing her first tattoo here with us on Tattoosday!
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Erica's Ink: A Tale of Two Tattoos

Last Saturday I was riding my bike on a gorgeous day (see this post here) when I passed Erica who was sitting on a bench along the Shore Promenade.

I spotted a tattoo on her back as I rode by, so I circled around for a closer look:

It seemed interesting so I asked her about it. She said there really wasn't anything interesting about it but I told her to try me. Sometimes when you've lived with a tattoo for a while, the circumstances surrounding the piece seem ordinary. But to a fresh set of ears (and a blogosphere full of eyes), the story can be fascinating.

About 12 years ago, and a year or two out of high school, Erica was dating a gang member. (See? Interesting already!) She was born in 1976, the Year of the Dragon in the Chinese Zodiac. Her boyfriend's gang nickname was "Big Dog," and not wanting to have that written in English in the tattoo, she had the Chinese translation inked in the piece.

When people asked, she would just tell them in stood for "Year of the Dragon". She notes, however, that she has received a negative reaction from the Chinese women who work at the nail salon. So, she acknowledges, the inscription probably isn't very nice.

I showed the picture to my local Chinese language expert, Kwok, who has helped me translate kanji before, and he shook his head and said that, technically, the characters are correct, but a person well-versed in Chinese would not have selected those characters to represent the name of
“Big Dog”. He acknowledged that the reaction that Erica has experienced is probably due to the elementary nature of the words. As written, it is a literal interpretation of the meanings, and not necessarily in a flattering way.

To make this piece even more interesting, the tattoo was done at a defunct Bay Ridge shop called Ink Masters (their work has appeared previously here). She noted that the guy that tattooed her was named Eric and that she knew he had been "featured" in a film called "Erica" (same spelling as her name, incidentally), which was, in fact, an adult film. Erica wanted me to reiterate, the tattoo artist had been the adult film star, not her.

Finally, to make this tattoo's tale complete, two years after she had broken up with "Big Dog," she regretted the youthful folly that had caused her to get the tattoo. Rather than laser it off, or cover it up, she chose instead to improve it by adding flames to it to represent her anger over getting it in the first place.

Erica then offered up a bonus: a tattoo that, to her, meant much more:

Often, asking someone about a visible tattoo is rewarded by the unveiling of a much more significant piece (see here and here for two of the best examples on Tattoosday).

The new piece above, a pattern of fifteen dots, was inked by Erick Diaz at Asylum Studios in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn.

Erica entered the shop not with the intention to get tattooed, but to accompany her cousin Samantha when she went in for a tattoo.

Samantha has an interesting story. Many years ago, she had been a passenger in a vehicle that was involved in a drunk driving accident. She was ejected from the vehicle and hospitalized in critical condition. In a coma, Samantha faced life-threatening circumstances when her brain underwent significant swelling, so much that part of her skull needed to be removed to accommodate the condition. Ultimately though, Samantha recovered and was none the worse for wear. She currently is residing in South Africa and working as a photographer.

So Samantha was visiting her cousin Erica who took her to get a tattoo. When Samantha was getting the phrase “the sky is my only witness” inked, Erica was watching, knowing that she needed to get a new tattoo that honored her cousin’s miraculous recovery.

Which brings us back to the fifteen dots. Erica explained the code to me. She used dice as a metaphor and four rolls run together. A four and a three, along with a two and a six. The pattern is symmetrical and if you add the four and three, you get a value for 7. The two and six represent
the number 26. Erica wanted a representation of a magical date, July 26, the day when Samantha opened her eyes and emerged from her coma.

The piece is inked on the lower right side of Erica’s stomach, along the waistline. It serves to remind her about the value of life and mark the date that is so important in the lives of her family.

I want to thank Erica for her taking the time to talk with me, and for sharing her interesting stories about her ink here on Tattoosday.
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Thea Illuminates Music

I introduced myself to Thea on the 86th Street train platform after spotting her awesome neck tattoo.

There's something about the train platforms and subways of New York that is a challenge to Tattoosday. Generally, when New Yorkers descend to the subway system, an additional layer of protective on-guardness (I know it's not a word, but it nails the sentiment) is added. For this reason, I generally leave the inked alone. But like every "general rule," an awesome tattoo trumps everything.

So I snapped the photo of Thea's neck on the platform, and we chatted briefly there and on the R train after it rolled in.

The piece is in Arabic, featuring the two words for "life" and "music". Although not an exact translation, Thea interprets the juxtaposition of both words as "life is music". She acknowledges it is not a precise translation, but that it is the meaning she derives from the piece.

Thea is a singer, and music is an essential part of her identity. I must agree, it is an apt choice for ink, and I personally believe that Arabic is one of the most beautiful languages, as written. The way that Arabic is incorporated into Eastern art is unparallelled.

The tattoo was inked at Porcupine Tattoo in Brooklyn.

Thanks much to Thea for sharing this awesome neck tattoo with us here on Tattoosday!
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A Newborn Tattoo for a Newborn Daughter

Although it was the shamrocked neck piece that first grabbed my attention, Vicki offered up the above piece on her right shoulder instead.

Vicki explained that this rose tattoo is in honor of her daughter, born just two months ago. The piece was inked only last month by Michelle at True Blue Tattoo in Queens.

As a fellow inked person with two tattoos honoring my two girls, I certainly can appreciate the piece that honors one's kids.

Thanks to Vicki for sharing her fresh tattoo with us here on Tattoosday.

Welcome to the world, Olivia Rose!
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What's Up, Tiger Lily?

Normally, I've been posting chronologically, but Sunday night at a Brooklyn Cyclones game, I spotted the tattoo above, and talked to its host Lauren, in the pre-game rain delay.

My fliers were soaked, but she shared her awesome tiger lily tattoo with me.

Lauren says she's had an affinity for tiger lilies ever since she was a kid because they are orange and have "freckles".
As one would imagine, Lauren has red hair and freckles, which explains the connection.

The piece was inked by Jesse Roberts at Lucky Devil Tattoo Parlour in Seattle.

Thanks to Lauren for sharing her awesome tiger lilies with us here on Tattoosday!

And the Cyclones won in 10 innings, beating the Batavia Muckdogs 6-5.
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Two of Tawni's Tattoos

It seemed appropriate to take pictures of two of Tawni's tattoos on Two-for-Tattoosday, and she was accommodating.

The first piece was the one that caught my eye initially, a snake on her left bicep that actually represents an "astrology marriage," in her words between Eastern and Western astrology.

The tattoo represents that she was born in the Year of the Snake and, it is positioned to mimic the sign for Leo (July 23 - August 22). It was inked at a shop called Camden Chameleon in Bellingham, Washington. The shop is now known as Chameleon Ink & Body Piercing.

Her other piece that I liked was on her inner right forearm:

The phrase ("Be the wind, not the cloud") is her own interpretation of a passage in the I Ching, or book of changes. Tawni used to do castings and this phrase resonates with her so she carries it with her on her skin. This was inked by Andre Ortego at the House of Tattoo in Tacoma, Washington.

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