It’s been just about six months since my aortic dissection surgery (I know, I still owe that story, it’s coming, it’s coming) which means I was finally cleared to get a couple of new tattoos. I already have two good sized ones. These two are much smaller. The first is a cat silhouette that Kegan drew when they were in high school. The second is a quote from Shakespeare‘s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which is on my right forearm and is my first visible tattoo. (When my kids were younger they spent their summers in a wonderful program called Rebel Shakespeare – we are huge fans of the bard in this house.)
Many people ask why I get tattoos, after all, I am a 55 year old woman who started down this path just 3 years ago. The short answer is – I like them. I’ve wanted a tattoo since I was in my early 20s but could never figure out what I wanted or where I wanted to put it. Also, seeing women with tattoos was unusual back in the early 1980s; and while I was always “different” than most, I wasn’t ready to standout that much (at least not in that way). But the world evolves and tattoos have changed over the years. The days of walking (or maybe stumbling drunk) into a tattoo parlor, choosing something off the wall (flash art), and having someone slap it on your skin are over.
Tattoo artists are just that – artists. They take their craft seriously.
So here I was, 51 years old, watching the world get tattooed and then my first idea hit me. When my kids were little, my (now former) husband and I bought a little Japanese red maple tree and planted it in the front yard. We loved that tree and always photographed the kids in front of it. First days of school, holidays, spring, summer, fall and winter – that tree served as the backdrop for our memories. The kids and the tree grew. That tree has symbolized my life in this house with my kids – I wanted to memorialize the tree.
Once I made the decision on style, object and placement, I did a lot of research to find an artist who could execute my vision. I had decided to have a watercolor version of a branch of the tree tattooed on my right hip. I spoke to a couple of artists before I selected one and then we had two consultations before she tattooed me. She spent about 4 hours creating that first tattoo. I loved watching it blossom under her machine and I loved the result.
– and once I started, the ideas kept coming.
It’s been 3 years since I got that first tattoo, and I haven’t regretted it for a moment. I changed artists for my second tattoo (a beautiful watercolor butterfly on my left shoulder) and it was that artist who did my work today.
I have more ideas in store, possibly including something to cover my open heart surgery scar, but that’s still a story for a different day.