Friday, December 30, 2016

A Sugar Skull for Beth

Yesterday we shared our late cousin Beth's tattoo (here).

After her funeral, my wife Melanie was talking with her tattoo artist Thomas "Thomi Hawk" Hickey, and she knew she wanted a new tattoo paying tribute to her cousin.

Although she would have loved to have something from Thomi, it was logistically challenging, as we do not have a car and Thomi works out of New Jersey. The idea for a tribute evolved to include several ideas and, eventually, Melanie knew what she wanted. The question was, who would be the best artist for the job?

In the end, the answer was simple, and we headed back to Three Kings Tattoo in the East Village to meet with Alex McWatt, the artist who did Melanie's previous tattoo,

She consulted with him first to come up with a basic concept and talk about the elements she wanted incorporated into the piece, and then a few weeks later, she was back in the shop, with that old familiar sound of a tattoo machine buzzing in her ear.

Alex McWatt in Action

And when she first saw it, she was pleased:

This is the tattoo, as it was first completed:

And a healed version, from a different angle:

Melanie wanted a Sugar Skull to honor Beth. Beth's favorite holiday was Halloween, and the sugar skull is associated with the Mexican celebration of Día de los Muertos, which coincides with Halloween,and All Saints' Day in early November, when people gather together to remember, honor and celebrate friends and family members who have died.

Because we are Jewish, Alex replaced the cross often found in sugar skulls with a Star of David. The paw print in the middle of the star is an homage to Beth and her wrist tattoo, shared yesterday, which Alex used as a reference to add to the design.

Melanie also asked for the spider, perched on top of the rose, also as a nod to Beth and her love of Halloween. One of Beth's sisters told us that, when they went to Beth's house after the funeral, there were a lot of spiders around the house, and that they had never noticed spiders there before.

Melanie loves her new tattoo and wears it proudly as a fitting tribute to Beth.

Thanks to Alex at Three Kings, who we cannot praise enough, for his fine work.

We miss you Beth, but Melanie's sugar skull makes us smile and think of you. We know you'd love it too.

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