Nina had offered up so many tattoos I had to split up the post, and then, well, she sort of got lost in the inkshuffle. Best to reacquaint yourself with her through the post above and then resume here.
Nina told me she was the product of Quaker and Jewish parents, and was raised in the Quaker tradition. The core values instilled in her upbringing were virtue and the importance of leading a simple life, known as the Testimony of Simplicity. She recalls the silence that is so prevalent in Quaker meetings. These values translated to the tattoo on her right forearm:
She says this is a reminder, based on her upbringing, that she can "find simplicity through silence".
The saying is punctuated by the recognizable symbol of the fleur de lis, which has been recognized as a royal French symbol for purity.
The fleur de lis is also a significant element in this tattoo, which is on the back of Nina's neck:
A closer look:
This piece has roots in her family. Along with the decorative aspects of the design, the letters N and T represent her name and the name of her brother Tom. The name Rita belongs to her mother. The crown represents her mother being the queen of her family.
The final piece Nina showed me was only partially visible the day I met her, only because modesty and a public setting prevented her from letting me photograph the whole tattoo:
The general design and the phrase "this will linger" is from a skateboard deck. Nina is avid longboarder and the design appealed to her. Not to mention that "this will linger" can be interpreted in so many ways, and can even speak to the idea of tattoos themselves. This could also be a reference to the final line in the song "Beside You Now" by the band, The Fold:
I've no regrets of yesterday, though these tears are falling
I will look to you, I will still remember (God help me now)
This will linger on, your memory deeper than the oceans
Note the fleur de lis just below the navel.
Added to this design, on either side, are two calla lilies, a la Georgia O'Keefe. They, to her, represent "the realm of possibility". Nina told me that she and the tattooer discussed adding white ink to the flowers to make them more "realistic". They decided against that, however, as the tattoo may have suffered due to what likely would have been an aesthetic issue with the ink and Nina's much darker skin tone. I would tend to agree that they made the right choice.
Nina credits most of her work to Dan at Amazing Grace Tattoo in Geneva, New York. She did however indicate that the lower abdominal piece was done by Noah at Extreme Graphix in Geneva, NY.
I would like to thank Nina for spending so much time talking to me about her ink. She showed me her whole catalog of tattoos, and I feel bad for neglecting "part two" of her post for these past couple of months.
Considering that she had all this work done in her eighteenth year, I can only wonder how much more has been added to her canvas since.
Thanks, Nina, for sharing your body art here with us on Tattoosday!