As I approach a year of writing Tattoosday, I like to think that, within the first fifteen seconds of talking to an inked person, I can tell whether they are going to be interested in sharing, or are going to politely (or impolitely) decline.
When I first stopped Heather last week, on Seventh Avenue near Macys, I guessed it was a futile attempt. Her tattoo spread from her back over to her shoulder and down her right arm. There was a layer of clothing covering parts of the piece. Generally, these tattoos are tough to capture on film, and subsequently, I end up disappointed.
Heather is proof, however, that it doesn't hurt to ask, and that my instincts can be wrong. Not only was she accomodating (she untied the outer shirt to unobstruct the piece), but she was friendly and talked freely about her work,
So, here it is, from back to front:
Heather is a wildlife biologist, born and raised in North Carolina, and she has a themed sequence of tattoos going, that she hopes to build some day into a full sleeve. All of the elements are species native to her home state of North Carolina.
Beginning with the back, and detailed in close-up at the top of this post, is a ruby-throated hummingbird.
The bird is fluttering about a flowering plant of coral honeysuckle. This plant wraps from her back onto her upper right arm. There it mingles with some sourwood.
Heather was clear to point out that it was an artist's representation of sourwood (aka the Sorel Tree), and not true to the actual species.
All of her amazing ink was done at Blue Flame Tattoo, in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Two artists there were responsible for her work, Mark and Christy.
Later, when I was looking back at the photos, I noticed a black star in the middle of the sourwood. I hadn't seen it initially, and I was curious about it so I e-mailed Heather for some more details. Her response is below:
Thanks to Heather for sharing her beautiful tattoo(s) with us here at Tattoosday!
The star is actually my first tattoo. I got it on my 18th birthday, June 13th 2000. I thought I was really tough. Ha ha it's funny to think about now. The tattoo only took 40 minutes, but I passed out. Word to the wise: always eat before a tattoo. So that is that.