Wednesday, March 30, 2011

My New Tattoo... and it's meanings...

Tattoo's. You either like them or hate them. Reasons for people getting them are as unique as the tattoo's themselves. If you've only met or seen people who have gotten one because "it seemed cool at the time"... or because "I like to see people's faces", then you have only been exposed to a small cast of the tattoo world. My approach and take on tattoos is MUCH different. Maybe it's because I'm truly unique ... or because I'm such an artsy person, I read into creativity more than most.
I currently have 2. I'd like to get one more.... but that is a few years away as I'm still really developing it in my head.
My first tattoo I got in 1994 when I was 18 and came out to Utah to visit my brother. When I came back to his house, he called my parents scared to death that they would be mad at him and disown him for not taking care of their baby girl. I'd actually planned it for 8 months or so I just didn't know where or when to go. The opportunity presented itself, so I went. And I haven't regretted the decision.

Tigger is located slightly above my right shoulder blade. I loved him growing up and then got the nickname my freshman year in high school as the only Freshman on the cheer squad who was equally as loud and bouncy as the seniors.
My second tattoo is an arm bad on my right arm. This is the one that I just had redone. This is a picture of the original. Do you know how hard it was to find?? I'm 98% of the time the photographer not the subject! But I was smart enough to take one before I got it fixed.

This is a little hard to see clearly. As you can tell it was small. It was supposed to be ribbons... one green for me, one blue for my oldest son and one red for my oldest daughter. I got this for a couple reasons. Some too personal to share but the others were 1- a constant way to have my kids with me while I worked. and 2- a representation of how we are each individuals but our lives are intertwining and stronger as we support one another.
I warned you! I over think and try to come up with many meanings for the art I create. Yes I designed the tattoo. But NO(!!!!) the artist didn't do it right.

Actually, I have to correct myself on another point. I said I was smart enough to take a picture before I got it fixed but honestly I did it to "design" on it.

Since I got this tattoo in 1997 and since then I've been blessed enough to gain a hard working, handsome and supportive husband as well as 2 more beautiful children. I wanted to "update" and fix this armband. I've been playing with different options for a few years. But money always needed to be spent elsewhere. This year... with my job and some other things that have happened... I really wanted to get it done. And things worked out for it to happen.
I started researching tattoo studios in the area. I emailed many artists with 3.5 stars or better on google and yahoo search engines rating scales to get their opinion's as well as stopped into 6 places. 4 of which were VERY smelly and just gross dirty places. But everyone who looked at it and responded to my emails unanimously agreed.... the "ribbons" were too small to add to. But all their prices were about the same to get it covered up.
Yes - I did look into removal. It was about $800-$1000. Wwwwaaaaayyyyy outta my price range. I couldn't believe it was more to get it removed than to cover up. Dumb. And since I am not in jail or leaving my "gang", I don't qualify for the free tattoo removal. And - strange as it may seem - I'm TOtally OK with that!
Anyway, research... I called one place that I could see into but they were closed the day I ran by. It was SUPER clean looking in. So I called the next day - and I think the guy had forgotten that he made his living by CUSTOMERS.... holey crap... so rude. So I stopped by the studio that was the highest ranking on my way home from work.
CHRISTINA at LUCKY BAMBOO greeted me when I walked in. This place is BEAUTIFUL and smelled clean. This was seriously unlike any studio I had ever been in. Just looking in their window you'd think it was some sort of Dr. office instead of a studio. Anyway, she was knowledgeable and made me feel comfortable as I was babbling through my trouble and ideas. She showed me each tattoo artists book before she told me which was hers. She shared some thoughts, took a pix of my arm and we swapped contact info. We then emailed and/ or talked on the phone for about 3 weeks playing with ideas trying color combos etc. She was so patient and amazing.
The shop owner & tattoo artist ended up responding to an email a day after I went in that I forgot I sent. He talked with her and gave me some of his thoughts. I was impressed with him as well.
So we designed and played ... tweaked and colored... My girls sat at the kitchen tabled and colored with me.... I had decided to run butterflies along the ribbons and make it a little bigger. But then Christina pointed out that the butterflies would have to be super small and not holding any detail. Then my hubby decided that a BUTTERFLY did not represent him & his manly-ness (no he didn't put it in those exact words).
Here are some of the other "top" ideas...
1- Tattooing "ZOO" and Zebra striping it in different colors over the ribbons (however true it just seems wrong.)
2- Everyone choosing their favorite animal and tattooing them down my entire arm. (Tiger, Lion, Donkey, Cow, Dog, panda bear.... And why didn't I choose this option?)
3- Tattooing "The Fallen" on my chest with his eyes my nipples... (T thought this was the best Idea ever!!)
There were some others "helpful" suggestions of dragons, princesses, unicorns and fairies but this is what I executive decision-ed.

I love butterflies and dragonflies... flowers and beautiful gardens. So in talking with everyone they all picked something "garden-y" they loved. Yes it's much bigger... but it is also beautiful. As a family - and wanting to stick to true nature - we all picked what we liked in colors we liked. But with Christina's expertise she made it all flow n work together. I wanted to make sure we were all individuals but completing a circle of life, love and support. I also wanted a hear to represent the love. Can you see it? Here's the "bug" breakdown...

Jamie- Again - I love butterflies.

My favorite colors are green, blue, red and black. The teal is a mix of the blue and green... but this IS and ACTUAL Butterfly! Its a Coral Hairstreak Butterfly found all over North America. Did you know that Butterflies are as essential to pollinating as Bee's? Here are some more FACTS of butterflies :
The Aztecs saw them as a reincarnation of dead warriors. They are the top insect depicted in art. 2 butterflies in one artistic piece is consider a depiction of love. Japanese believer butterflies are a personification of a persons soul & rebirth.


He finally agreed to this. Especially after I threatened a dung beetle... What??? they are extremely hard working bugs... very masculine .. but always full of - well - dung! Hee hee hee. But in all honesty, Dragonflies are also very hard working. They help to keep the insect population under control! They eat flies, mosquitoes and bees but very VERY rarely Butterflies. They are also frequently found in works of art. Native Americans believe them to be symbols of swiftness and activity and the Japanese see dragonflies as courage, strength and happiness... all things my husband is or has brought to my life. Again - this is a "type" you can find in nature. This is a Blue Dasher Dragonfly.

Justice- He decided upon a wasp.

I wont go into all the details on why he made this decision... but to summarize; A wasp is social but is highly protective of its home. They can live just about anywhere and can make it's home out of discarded items of other insects or humans.They are extremely resourceful and hard working. But it's hive means everything. It's defends and then asks questions later! It helps to control overpopulation of other bugs especially spiders by eating them.

Cheyanne - her nicknames are "red" and "sunshine".

She rarely gets down in the dumps and can usually brighten a room with her smile. She wanted a butterfly because "they are friends and go visiting everywhere in a garden. everyone likes butterflies and everyone should like me." Well said! We decided on a Monarch pattern even though you can't find one in nature with this exact fading. It also resembles a California Sister Butterfly which is also fitting for her. The coloring is more like a magnificent sunrise which is her favorite time of day....

Tristin -

"I don't really care mom as long as I'm on there and it's green." The boy has been abscessed with green since he learned his colors. He hates crickets and grasshoppers and I figured a green aphid wasn't a good choice either. So I found this beautiful Green Pondhawk. And I thought it fit with the "hawk" included. He's thrilled. Baby Dragonflies are called nymphs.

Keriana - She spent HOURS looking in books and coloring with me trying to find what she wanted. We'd settled on a butterfly when one day I called her "ladybug". And she squealed and said "When I was a baby you always called me your little lady! Ladybug is perfect because I just llloooooovvvvveeeee red!".

And so it is. How she remembered what I called her more than her name before she could speak, I'll never know. But it works and its true! She is more "lady-ish" than anyone else in the house... She also loves and tends and weeds my garden than I do. That's probably why it lived last year! Anyway Ladybugs are the "GARDENERS" of the insect world. They eat the aphids, mealy bugs and other harmful garden eaters. In the art world they are considered symbols of LUCK. My 'Ana to a T...or rather an A ... but you get it!

As I said, this tattoo (or Fern Gully as my husband refers to it) was incredibly thought out. It has my 2 most lucky numbers intermixed. It has many hidden meanings, thoughts and loves displayed. And all very important. But most importantly, it is a SYMBOL and REMINDER to me of how lucky and blessed I am to have this circle of unending love. Like a garden, it is always growing, ever changing and all inclusive. And uniquely mine....