Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Tattoosday #6: Going Mobile

Sorry for the delay in posting, I was worried I would have to improvise, but found two participants today. Last Friday I had my first rejection: a guy at 53rd and 6th Avenue sitting on a bench was the first person to decline. He had many colorful tats on both arms and seemed open at first, but was adverse to my taking any photographs.

On Tattoosday Eve, Labor Day, I still had nothing for the post. I stopped someone in front of my building yesterday with a really cool Hellboy tattoo. He seemed receptive but wanted to check out the blog first.

I found myself with many opportunities but passed, not necessarily out of lack of nerve, but because the tattoos were not so nice, old, faded, or blurred by too much sun. I
have seen a handful of dolphin tattoos like the one the Ancient One sent me.

Today was the kids' first day of school, so I took off from work. Around 11 AM, I decided to ride my bike, eventually making it to Coney Island, where I guessed I could find some good ink. Yet it was still sparse, I had ridden down the Boardwalk and had circled back when I found my first subject.

I approached two young ladies who were taking pictures. One of them had a tattoo on the back of her neck:

The Japanese characters spell out the woman's name, Fernanda. Unlike on the recently-aired episode of VH1's "Rock of Love," in which one of the contestant's gets Bret Michaels' name tattooed on the back of her neck, as a show of devotion, Fernanda has inked her own name. I see a lot of people that do their own names on their arms or legs (I work with many who have done so), and have never really understood the phenomenon.

But in Fernanda's case, I get the artistic expression a little more. These are Japanese letters that have a greater aesthetic impact than Roman letters. When I asked Fernanda why she tattooed her name, she merely expressed that she loved Japanese letters and Japanese culture. She was born and raised in Brazil and has only been living in New York for a year. She did not remember the name of the shop where she had the tattoo done, but narrowed it down to the Astoria section of Queens for me.

I have to agree, it's a pretty cool tattoo.

I made another pass and headed back home. Once I made my way to the Shore Road promenade, where I do the majority of my cycling. I have several spots along the several-mile route from which I can head home. I decided to go down to the 92nd Street footbridge. Standing on the bridge was a gentleman who seemed to be cooling off from running. He had earbuds in and a large biceps piece. He also had an ankle piece and another tattoo on his triceps.

I passed him while walking my bike and then headed back and said loudly, "Excuse me!" He removed his earbuds and I explained my mission. He was game. His name was Mike and he had 6 tattoos in all and didn't mind which one I photographed. I asked him which one was the most special and he held up his arm and pointed to the piece on his triceps. This one:

He explained it a tribal Native American designed mixed with the American flag which he got as a tribute after 9/11. The piece was done by Craig Cooley at Abstract Tribal Tattooing in Brooklyn. I asked him if he was a fireman, and he said, "No, a police officer." I thought, with the 6th anniversary of September 11 just a week away, it was a perfect punctuation mark to end a week of tattoo-spotting, and begin a week of reflection on this somber anniversary.

Thanks to Fernanda and Mike for their participation in this edition of Tattoosday!

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