Tuesday, January 6, 2009
Casey's Name Transcends Generations
I met Casey while passing through Penn Station. He was waiting for the Amtrak to his home in Rhode Island. I spotted his neck tattoo and asked him about it because it was not your typical neck piece. He was very enthusiastic about sharing it with Tattoosday,
Simply, the ink, which begins on the left side of his neck and curves in a semi-circle to the right side of his neck, is his name (first, middle, and last) in Armenian.
I normally don't spout opinions about people's choice of ink, but I have never understood why people tattoo their own names on their bodies. I work with many people who possess cursive renditions of their names in ink, and these tattoos don't appeal to my artistic sensibility.
However, after speaking with Casey about his tattoo, I fully appreciate the design and meaning of the piece.
One remarkable thing about the tattoo, in my opinion, is that it is inked in a language that is not commonly seen on skin, in this country at least. I have featured kanji, Hebrew, and Arabic, but never Armenian. The name inscribed in another language, especially when it honors one's family
heritage, elevates the art and carves deeper meaning into the flesh.
What makes this piece even more phenomenal is that the handwriting of Casey's name belongs to his grandfather. He went to him and asked for him to write the name out in the language of the Old Country, with the express desire to have it tattooed. And his grandfather not only gave his blessing, but loves the finished product.
In this way, Casey has created a tribute to his heritage, as well to as his grandfather, and is able to convey that respect for the past. It will also be a constant reminder for him to remember his grandfather and the roots from whence he came.
The piece was inked by his friend Jesus, who was not affiliated with a shop at the time he got the tattoo 2 1/2 years ago, but is now working at Wicked Ink Tattoo in Riverside, Rhode Island.
As a bonus, on two-for-Tattoosday, Casey showed me his other tattoo that is inked on his right bicep:
"So you're a Yankees fan?" I asked, smiling.
Casey corrected me, "It's a memorial piece for my cousin J.J. who was a devoted fan".
J.J. died at the too-young age of 26 and the tattoo was supposed to include the text "J.J. - Rest in Peace," but he didn't have time to finish it. There are plans to complete the memorial in the next month, and I hope to post the final version here in the future.
I must say that I have seen tattoos of the "NY" logo for the Yankees, but this piece is one of the best I've seen, just based on its size and sheer brightness of color. The deeper meaning as a memorial for a close relative makes the tattoo even better, in my opinion.
Thanks again to Casey for sharing both tattoos with us here at Tattoosday!