On wednesday evening Brian and I met at Fyre body arts in Perkasise, PA (only a few miles from our house) to meet with this amazing artist named Karel. I had scheduled an appointment with him almost a month in advance to have him design and apply a memory tatto for my grandmother, brian's grandfather and sort of representing all of the changes that happened in the past year. (Primarily our wedding - the ending of our single lives and the rebirth of our lives as a couple, new jobs, new places, new experiences.) I looked up some symbols for the things I wanted to represent and brought them to Karel who got really excited and spent quite a bit of time sketching and researching before coming back with sketches for me. The drawing evolved a little over time, but the end result was a lovely happy sea turtle representing mother earth and wisdom, the ability to provide for others with water surrounding her (a symbol of generosity) and a phoenix representing rebirth (the legend of the phoenix that this bird has many mythical powers but will also die by bursting into flames and then be reborn again from the ashes). There is also a pair of spectral hands reaching down from the clouds representing my grandmother reaching down from heaven in this enternal cycle of give and recieve and revive. Knowing that detail is very important and due to the personal nature of the piece, I told the artist that it could be as large as it needed to be for the detail he wanted to achieve. (In retrospect, Karel designs full asian back pieces, might have wanted to consider that fact before making no size restraints!) Wednesday Karel finished the sketch and applied the stencil to my back. Perhaps back is a misnomer, the tattoo covers my entire left butt cheek all the way up my back, grazing my shoulder blade and just crossing my back bone (now THAT was an interesting feeling!). I was a little surprised by the scale, but I felt (and do feel) very strongly about the imagery that I decided to go ahead with it. We only did line work for the first session, which took about three hours (or half a season of the family guy and all of Hellboy). Karel still needs to line in the pattern on the turtle's shell and add in the hands, plus color. Brian anticipates another 6 hours which we may or may not do all at once. The evening was an interesting set of positions and I didn't get to wear a lot. Below are some quick shots Brian took the morning after. I am still in the healing phase and generally feel like some one just punched my ribs a few hundred times, but the imagery is GORGEOUS and the detail so perfect. I love it so much. And I love that I can carry these amazing good symbols with me all the time to remind me to give back and to share just like others have around us.
On August 23rd, 2006 11:51 am (UTC), (Anonymous) commented:
This is your mom, I am as always amazed by the thought you give to ANY project, the symbolism and research. In all honesty, you know how I continue to feel about tattoos, I guess it could be a generational thing? I continue to wonder why one would intentional mar and scar a perfect body? But hey, that is your decision and I respect that. The work is certainly detailed and beautiful in its own right, but then the in my opinion, the canvas itself was beautiful.