I really hit my stride on Sunday when I approached a group of young guys hanging out at the street fair in front of the Rite Aid at 93rd and 3rd.
No offense guys, if you're reading this, but I most likely would have passed you up as possible Tattoosday subjects had it been any other setting. These guys were young, in the early twenties, and looked pretty tough. The mass of ink added to their hard edges.
I approached one of them and started explaining myself, but he seemed very reluctant. However, his friends joined in the discussion and, before I knew it, two of them had allowed me take some pictures and post them here.
I will start with John Candela. He was totally into participating. He first had a young lady lift up the back of his shirt to reveal a huge back piece:
The large cross is a tribute to his friends Rob and Frank.
He then showed me the tattoo on his left arm which was a tribute to the same guys and to a third friend, Smokey, who he called his guardian angels. It's hard to tell from the picture, but there are three angels are around the edge of the piece (only the one at the top is visible).
Lastly, he showed me this free-hand graffiti-like piece, which spells out his last name, Candela, which is the Spanish word for candle, which represents flames, and merged with the fiery border design produces a nice effect.
John credited the work to an artist named "Steve the Butcher," who free-lances out of his house, and is not affiliated with any shop.
I did not ask, as he did not offer, what happened to Smokey, Rob and Frank that caused them to die at such an early age. Had he wanted me to know, I'm sure he would have told me.
The other tattoo I captured belonged to Jaimie, who I think had one of the coolest pieces of the day.
It's actually one piece that wrapped around his left forearm. I generally avoid tattoos that wrap around because it is hard to capture the essence of the piece in photographs.
But it's worth a try, so check these out:
The message is "Brooklyn, born and raised." The Brooklyn Bridge is represented, along with the Statue of Liberty. The best part of the piece, however, is the "and" represented by the letter N of the N train (on wich I am currently riding as I type this up). The N express services a big chunk of Brooklyn (as well as Manhattan and Queens). The "raised" is inked like graffiti on the N train, completing a sweet Brooklyn-themed tribute to the borough in which Tattoosday is based.
Jaimie credited this awesome tattoo to Angel at Hypnotic Designs in Sunset Park.
A hearty thanks to Jaimie and John for their participation in Tattoosday!