Sal Shares His Illusion-ary Tattoo

On Tuesday I was in Brooklyn Heights, walking toward Cadman Plaza on Clark Street. As I passed a local video store, Mr. Video III, I spotted some ink on one of the employees and decided to head in and introduce myself.

Sal has seven tattoos, but he chose to share the one above, from his left bicep.

This is, of course, recognizable to anyone who is a rock fan, as the artwork gracing the cover of the 1991 Guns N' Roses album Use Your Illusion I. A G n' R tattoo appeared on Tattoosday previously here.

Sal had this inked because the album was released at a point in his life, when he was a senior in high school, when most people are most impressionable and affected by massive displays of musical force. The album, and by extension, the tattoo, was something he could cling to, a great avenue by which he could "express his rage".

With G n' R classics like "Right Next Door to Hell," "Don't Cry," "Back Off Bitch," and the Wings cover "Live and Let Die," the album is a tour de force of hard rock angst.

Sal also acknowledges that he, like many others who were fans of the band, developed a greater appreciation of classical art, as the image form the record (and its companion, Use Your Illusion II) are based on a detail in the Italian Renaissance painter Raphael's , The School of Athens:

Or, the detail used:

Sal says that this piece was inked around 1994 by an artist named Jason, who worked with the studio of the late great Huggy-Bear Ferris in Park Slope. Work from Huggy-Bear has appeared here previously on Tattoosday.

Thanks to Sal for sharing his tattoo here on Tattoosday. As I will be passing by Mr. Video III on a more regular basis in the future, I hope that Sal would share more of his tattoos with us in the future!
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Melissa's Biblical Footnote

Strange as it may seem to have back-to-back foot posts, this may be a trend as the weather cools and sleeves grow longer.

I interrupted a conversation Melissa was having with someone else in front of Borders on Penn Plaza to ask her about her inked right foot.

The words are based on a passage from the Bible, from the Book of Matthew, Chapter 22, Verse 37, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your mind and all your soul." It's a slightly edited version, but the message is the same.

Melissa explained that these words have even more meaning for her as they are engraved on her father's headstone. He passed away several years back.

This passage was inked by Craig Messina at Lone Wolf Tattoo in Bellmore, New York.

Thanks to Melissa for sharing this tattoo that means so much to her, here at Tattoosday.
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Mesa Contemporary Arts/ OPENING

Photos: Estevan Oriol, Hunter, Fisheye, Carlos Valencia
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Jackie Wears Words of Wisdom

Last week I had just left the house when a woman passed me on the street. She had the words "live & learn" tattooed on her left right foot. I caught up to her and introduced myself. Jackie had just moved into the building on the corner two days earlier, and I wished her a Tattoosday welcome to the neighborhood.

She explained her tattoo by acknowledging that, like most people, she makes mistakes in life and that the motto "live and learn" are words to help guide her through life. Being on her foot is significant, as she believes that the lessons she has learned have helped her understand the importance of taking life "one step at a time".

Jackie, in fact, has five tattoos, including one on her waistline and on her inner right arm, but she has this pair on the back of her neck:

The kanji is the word for beauty and, unlike many unfortunate folks who don't research their tattoos properly, it is correct.

The popular proverb "All is fair in Love and War" dates back to John Lyly's 'Euphues' (1578). The original quote was "The rules of fair play do not apply in love and war. " John Lyly was a Renaissance English poet and playwright.

Jackie likes this quote because, as she said, "I'm a very passionate about things and if I believe in it, I will fight until the end".

All of Jackie's tattoos were inked at Bodytech Tattoo & Piercing in Gainesville, Florida. Jackie went to college at the University of Florida.

Thanks to Jackie for sharing her tattoos here with us on Tattoosday!
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A Portrait of Marilyn

Tom Doherty gave me the best answer I have heard to the question "How many tattoos do you have?"

He looked me in the eye and said, matter-of-factly, "Not enough."

Tom has a ton of ink, and is one of the artists in residence at Another Tattoo Shop in Bound Brook, New Jersey.

It's always like winning the lottery when I chance upon a tattoo artist, because they seem to have a greater appreciation for the idea of Tattoosday and, more importantly, they have siginifantly better work, and more of it to choose from.

So Tom was not only kind enough to agree to participate, but he didn't offer up any of his visible tattoos, but instead lifted his shirt to reveal Marilyn Monroe, smiling from the left side of his torso.

Why does he choose to have Ms. Monroe inked there? He wanted a famous face, a "show-off piece," as he called it. The tattoo was done by his boss at the shop, Matt Pope.

Thanks to Tom for sharing this awesome portrait with us here at Tattoosday!
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A Grandmother's Vision, Inked in China

Last winter, the cold weather drove me inside, into the nearby Manhattan Mall food court, when I had time at lunch to go inkspotting. The food court has since closed and the mall is undergoing a massive J.C.Pennification, rendering it near useless for people-watching. I bring this up in the
waning days of summer, as last week I had some lunch time to spare and it was raining.

So I plodded off into nearby Penn Station to see if any commuters were in the ink-sharing mood. Near the Amtrak portion of the subterranean hub, I spotted the tattoo above and approached its owner to see what it was all about.

Eva, to whom this piece belongs, explained that it is a variation on the symbol for infinity. The arrows pointing off it represent directions moving off of the symbol.

The design originated, according to Eva, in a vision that her grandmother had. Her grandmother was a fortune-teller and the significance of the symbol carried great weight in her family.

Eva had this inked about two years ago, while visiting China. The tattoo was done by a local artist in Xinjiang Province.

Thanks to Eva for sharing this cool tattoo with us here at Tattoosday!
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A Spider from Across the Sea

Last week outside of Penn Station, I spotted this not-so-itsy-bitsy spider crawling across the left side of Alexandra's back.

Turns out the spider, along with Alexandra, were visiting New York from Switzerland. Alexandra had limited English, but did impart to me that she "had always wanted something like that" as a tattoo, and that she doesn't regret it one bit.

The tattoo artist was named Stephan, who worked in a shop whose name she can't recall in Neuch√Ętel, Switzerland.

Thanks to Alexandra for sharing her spidery tattoo with us here and giving us our first Swiss-inked contribution to Tattoosday!
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Introducing Nina's Ink, Part 1

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Last Saturday I posted an amazing tattoo the day after I spotted it and alluded to some posts that take longer than others. This is one of those examples.

I met Nina about a minute after meeting Mike and spotted the tattoo above. It's a tiny piece based on the graffiti art of one of my favorite artists, Keith Haring.

I asked Nina about it and she went on to catalog all eleven of her tattoos, most of which I photographed.

Whereas I appreciate someone taking the time to show me all of their ink, to do the subject justice in one post can be a daunting task.

Therefore, I'll be spreading Nina's tattoos across two posts.

As displayed above, Nina had at least one Haring tattoo. This first post will be dedicated to Nina's left arm, which boasts 7 of her 11 tattoos.

She actually has three Haring pieces, including the barking dog:

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I've always been a fan of Haring, and it was a phenomenal Haring chest piece, spotted at the 2007 Siren Festival on Coney Island, that inspired me, in part, to start blogging about ink. Here's the third of her Haring pieces:

based on:

Haring was prolific in his short life, often repeating elements in his work. I have included in this post the works that are most likely used as the basis for these tattoos.

Nina is a big fan of the work of Andy Warhol, as well. She credits her love of his and Haring's work to a relative - her aunt worked at Warhol's Pop Shop in the 1980s, and it was always part of the family discussion.

She has a relatively obscure Warhol piece on the inner part of her bicep:

I should say, it is obscure in the sense that I am unfamiliar with it. It is based on his silk-screened Knives:

Most stunning among the Warhol and Haring tattoos is her Marilyn Monroe piece, which is based on an iconic Warhol work:

On her inner forearm, Nina sports a sweet pin-up piece that she believes is based on a piece of German art, circa World War I:

She loves pin-up art and this was one of the first pieces she had inked.

Not pictured is the word "Say" tattooed on her inner wrist.

All her ink was tattooed by Dan at Amazing Grace Tattoo in Geneva, New York. She's kept him busy in the past year, having just turned eighteen, and he is responsible for all of her body art, all done within the past twelve months.

Thanks to Nina for sharing her passion for tattoos here on Tattoosday. Be sure to check back for more from Nina in the future.
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