Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas House Cleaning

Regular readers of Tattoosday will notice that, although I generally follow a chronological order when I share tattoos I have encountered.

However, certain pieces, for various and sundry reasons, have been bypassed, and haven't made it to the blog, until now.

I was originally going to post a dozen to represent the Twelve Days of Christmas, but I settled for eight. For the nights of Chanukah, perhaps?

Without intending to offend anyone for not receiving a post all to themselves, I have lumped these tattoos, spanning from late August to late October, in one post.

These are the neglected tattoo pictures that are just a little off, some not through the fault of the contributor, but for reasons beyond their control.

The quality of the photo may not be ideal, or the host and I faced a language barrier that prevented a good back story from emerging, or I didn't find the story behind the tattoo especially compelling. And then
there's what is likely one of the poorest tattoos I have seen, but the story behind it is somewhat compelling.

So, without further ado, here is a Christmas cleaning, eight posts rolled together into one gigantic one.


First up, we have Esteban, who shared his sleeve when I met him in September, at Fairway in Red Hook:

Alas, I was still using a borrowed camera, and several shots were over-exposed and/or blurry, but I was able to salvage this one:

The artwork is pre-Colombian in its inspiration, and is part of a larger tropical motif.

Next up we have Dave, who I met in Penn Station. He has over 25 tattoos and selected this one to share:

The phrase "Uniting the Strong" is the title of a song from Victim in Pain, the second album from the band Agnostic Front. This is a friendship tattoo that stresses unity and the host's nod to the hardcore punk scene.

Dave credits Jelena at Lone Wolf Tattoo in Bellmore, New York with this piece.


Next we have Orlando, a Fine Arts student at FIT, where I met him outside while walking toward 23rd Street on my lunch break, also in September.

This ship tattoo is an homage to his father, who served in the navy for thirty years. He wanted a "classic look" in the Sailor Jerry style.

Orlando confirmed for me that his dad loves the tattoo.

It was inked at Crazy Fantasy Tattoo in Manhattan by an artist named Antonio.

[Update: I got a better, crisper picture from Orlando of the ship tattoo in May 2011:]

Orlando has seven tattoos in all [in May 2011, he updated this number to ten], and shared this one, as well, inked at Dare Devil Tattoo on the Lower East Side.

The quote, "This my excavation and today is Kumran" is from a song called "re: Stacks" by Bon Iver.

Orlando explained that he interprets this quote as a reminder that "every day has the ability to make you or break you. It just depends on what you do with it." Other interpretations are here.

For the record, I did email Orlando to ask for an opportunity to get clearer pictures, but I did not hear back from him.


I met Farkas in Union Square back in October. He had this wolf on his right arm:

He explained that his name means "wolf" in Hungarian, and that one of his friends in Hungary did this tattoo for him.


A couple days after meeting Farkas, I met an Israeli named Ran on 34th Street across from Macy*s. He shared this iguana on his right leg:

It's a pretty nice tattoo, but he hasn't sent me any further details about it.


A couple weeks later, I was in the West Village before a concert, and met Carlos, a manager at the Qdoba Mexican Grill where we were having a quick bite before the show. He shared this intricate tattoo on his right arm:

He and friend collaborated on this tattoo together. He told me that, when he was little, he did jigsaw puzzles with his mother a lot. The tattoo reminds him of those fun times growing up.


The following week, I ran into Iancu in Penn Station, and he shared this piece on his upper left arm:

Iancu told me he came to the artist, Rico, formerly of Rising Dragon in Manhattan, who was initially unwilling to do the tattoo. However, he convinced him to do it. It's basically a Guns N' Roses tribute although, he
noted, the guns were added about a year and a half after the original design was inked.


And finally, I must first say that  it is very rare that I ever criticize the quality of a tattoo.

Even if it is inferior to the work of much better artists, I always like to believe there are some redeeming qualities in a tattoo.

Which is why I struggled with this next tattoo, which I photographer back in August, and which I have included in this odds and ends post in December.

I approached a guy named Danny who had a lot of interestingly-tattooed words and such on his arms.

However, he offered to remove his shirt in Penn Station so I could photograph this:

Um, yeah.

If this was done by an experienced artist, I would likely not have posted it. Despite its obvious flaws, it is compelling, in my opinion, because Danny told me, like all his tattoos (15 or 16, he told me), this one was
self-inked. Now, I can see tattooing one's arm or leg, but I cannot even fathom how challenging it would be to self-tattoo your chest. He estimated this took one and a half hours to do.

The message is "Diamonds Aren't Forever," or, in  Danny's words, "don't take what you have for granted".


So there you have it, a Spring Cleaning for Christmas.

I do sincerely thank the individuals who shared their tattoos in this entry. Happy Holidays, y'all!

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