Friday, August 6, 2010

In a city of 8 Million...

Three days in a row I ran into previous Tattoosday contributors in different locales.

On Wednesday, I ran into Leyna at the Barnes & Noble in Union Square. I had first encountered her ink back in June fifteen blocks uptown coming out of Borders. I spotted her hot air balloon tattoo and had to say hi.

Yesterday, after a Trader Joe's run for salsa, I saw Kat getting on the F train, seven blocks from where I first spotted her.

I know, I know, it's all in pretty close proximity. However, today I approached Mike at the Penn Plaza Borders and knew, once the flicker of recognition crossed his face, that he was the same guy I had met in Brooklyn on 86th Street on April 4.

If you don't recall their ink, click their names which will magically transport you to their original posts.

Shaina's Back Piece Blooms

A post-work errand had me walking down 6th Avenue to 23rd Street where, to my delight, I ran into Shaina, whose large back piece stopped me dead in my tracks. Lucky for me, and all of our Tattoosday readers, she had no problem sharing it with us here:

This piece is a cover-up (more on that later) and initially was born out of a desire for a large bunch of purple flowers. Shaina explained that, at six feet tall, her size can sometimes take the edge off of her feminine side. "I try as hard as I can to be girl-y," she said, and she embraced her floral design as "a sign of girliness".

As time passed, the whole tattoo, which Shaina estimates was composed in five four-hour sessions totaling twenty hours, took on additional elements. When her grandmother passed away, she added a memorial line for her ("In Loving Memory of Eleanor Vespie) along with the red carnations, which were her favorite flowers.

She later added the additional memorial on her neck, for her cousin Tasha.

The tattoo was created by Cliff Evans at Fuzion Ink in Norfolk, Virginia.

Of course, I had to ask about the tattoo she covered up. Shaina looked at me, and I'll give her points for honesty, she confessed, the original tattoo had been a portrait of the Icelandic singer Björk.

She looked at me. I looked at her. "Don't take this the wrong way," I cautioned her, but what would possess you to do that?" Shaina had good humor about it. Like a lot of eighteen-year olds, what seemed cool at the time, in retrospect seemed ill-chosen. But there are many amazing tattoos out there that might not exist had they not been needed to cover up an earlier, less memorable piece.

Thanks kindly to Shaina for not only sharing her lovely back tattoo with us here at Tattoosday, but for taking the time to chat so candidly about her body art.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Two Rocking Tattoos from Joe

I met Joe last month outside of Penn Station and he shared two tattoos with us.

First is this hellcat:

Why this cat? It's a design, Joe says, inspired by the band Rancid, whose music appears on Hellcat Records.

Not to mention, he likes cats. Need he have more reasons? That's on his upper left arm.

I'm more excited to share this photo, which actually is a rare Tattoosday shot in which one can see the contributor's face. I could have cropped it out, but I think it's a cool shot.

This tattoo arose out of Joe's desire to have some body art made with red ink. The design is based on the album art for a disbanded musical act out of Washington called Isa.

The two tattoos are among five Joe has in total and were done by Milton Sillas at Tattoo Royale in the Pacific Beach section of  San Diego, California.

Thanks to Joe for sharing his ink with us here on Tattoosday and for waiting so patiently for me to get to his tattoos. The summer backlog is both a bane and a blessing.

As a postscript, readers familiar with the site will notice that I've watermarked these photos. I've grown tired of seeing Tattoosday content appropriated elsewhere on the web, without attribution. This is an attempt to maintain credit of our content here at Tattoosday.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Kristina's Rooster Crows in Honor of Her Son

It was funny, now that you think of it, the way everything came full circle.

I was picking my younger daughter, Shayna, up from camp, when I spotted a woman approaching from the opposite direction.

It was after six, on a weekday, and she had a small boy in tow, wearing a t-shirt indicating that he was in the same camp, albeit a younger group, as my child.

She was displaying an amazing rooster tattoo, covering her upper left arm.

Initially, Kristina seemed hesitant to let me take a photo, but as we talked, she changed her mind, and let me snap away.

This was inked by the incomparable Virginia Elwood, who does incredible work, especially with bird tattoos. Work from Virginia, at New York Adorned, has appeared previously here on Tattoosday.

In all fairness, the right side of the tattoo is compromised in the photo above by the sun (and the bane of a borrowed camera), so the best view is the front part of the rooster:

Kristina explained that she chose the Rooster because that was the year in the Chinese Zodiac in which her son was born. It certainly is a wonderful way to commemorate her child.

Almost as an afterthought, Kristina mentioned that a couple years back, on a subway platform, someone had asked her if he could take a picture of her tattoo, still in progress, for his blog, but she politely declined.

I thought about it for about a second when I smiled and exclaimed "That was me!"

In three years, I've approached a lot of people about their tattoos, and they all blur together.

But I still recall the disappointment I felt at 34th Street, when the woman with the unfinished rooster tattoo from Adorned politely declined my request.

Lucky me, time solved that missed opportunity, and I got to see the finished product, in the bright afternoon soon, years after I had asked.

And it was certainly worth the wait.

Thanks kindly to Kristina for sharing her incredible rooster tattoo with us here on Tattoosday!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Sam's Sleeve Revels in Her Heritage

Last month I had the pleasure of running into Sam on the subway platform at West 4th Street. She had this amazing work on her left arm:

Sam's half sleeve is autobiographical in that it celebrates her heritage and her family in the South.

Her ancestry is one-half Koren and one-half Scotch-Irish, which explains my favorite part of the tattoo, the pigs holding the fans emblazoned with the flag of South Korea:

Her home state is acknowledged by the pig with the gold necklace in the shape of Virginia:

And the one pig drinking from the distinctively-shaped bottle is a nod to her affinity for Jack Daniels.

Many may ask, why pigs? Sam explained that many of her family gatherings and reunions are lavish pig roasts. As a chef, Kim, who blogs here, embraces the cultural aspects of her upbringing through food and, as one can see, in this tattoo.

The work done is by Willie Kirby at Classic Tattoo in Richmond, Virginia.

Thanks to Sam for sharing her awesome tattoo with us here on Tattoosday!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

& (Melissa)

I love typographical tattoos.

You've read about them here before in this post, among others.

Last month I met Melissa, in Borders at 2 Penn Plaza, and she shared this tattoo, right below her left collar bone:

This was Melissa's first tattoo (she now has three) and she got it because it is her favorite punctuation mark.

She couldn't recall the exact font, but it resembles old English.

This tattoo was done in Babylon Tattoo & Body Piercing in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Thanks to Melissa for sharing her ampersand with us here on Tattoosday!

Butterfly Art Tattoo Sponsored by Mansur Caem