This one, this beautiful new piece of artwork on my right ribs, this tattoo, this pain, this passion. This one is here to represent my love for the written word. This is here for the person that drove me to these words, the people in my life that know the value of the story. My passion in life is that of the story. I may spend (too much of) my time at work, climbing stairs, rigging ropes, driving around, sitting, waiting. But I’m here for the word. My passion is the story, the art, the quest.
Each tattoo is here on my flesh to remind me of something. To be a talisman of a feeling, a want, a desire. For those who have left us behind, for my love of the theatre, for my love of love itself, for my love of travel, and for my love of the art of the story. They appear on me like a mismatched and confused collage, the point perhaps lost on most. They seem random, confused, and the true meaning of absurd. But they, like my own life, require a much deeper delve into my own workings. Muddled, random, having no order, just like my life has been.
If you were to take a slice of my past and compare it with another slice of my same life, you would be confused as to how they make up the same person. Living in China working for the circus. Living in a hotel in Texas climbing wind turbines. Living in Tennessee attending college for theatre. Living in New Orleans supervising NDT ropes technicians. Working as a dishwasher at a Thai restaurant. Walking on I-beams in concert arenas. Traveling across Morocco. Walking down a beautiful piece of property. Unemployed sleeping on couches. I could go on. But we all know the story. The story of where I am, where I’ve come from. We only don’t know where I’m going.
And when I found the person that would complete this new artwork, I was relieved. My other tattoos came quickly as ideas and just as quickly ended up on my body. But this one was different. My homage to a masterwork. It had to be right. Not only right, but perfect. Finding the right artist was difficult, challenging frustrating. I went through many people looking for a proper match. But when it happened, it clicked and the collaboration was perfect. Jennifer Edge at Mainline Ink in Chattanooga, Tennessee. What better place to take the journey than my home?
The headspace that you develop during a tattoo of this scale and in this location is meditative and even spiritual. The pain, seeming like a distant memory right before you start, becomes very real very quickly. Harnessing our inner Buddha is all but necessary. It becomes a rewarding exercise of localizing the pain, putting yourself in a state of total concentration and focus and simply existing and accepting the pain. This collaboration is just as much about you receiving the work properly as it is about the artist performing the skill properly. The design, the consultations, the preparation, nothing can prepare you for the experience of being a living canvas for an amazing artist. Nothing has been art until now. Preparation has set us up for success, but the art comes when the needle touches. And now, there is no turning back. The pain is agonizing, but every time, it is surprisingly rewarding. You aren’t only purchasing a piece of art, you’re earning it. And if you’ve done it right, it’s for you and you alone. It’s custom in the truest sense of the word. Some people say tattoos don’t hurt. Good for those people. Lucky them. Not me. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
We have more to go. This art is not complete. The story will continue.