Monday, August 12, 2019

Tradition and Tattoos

Since my very first tattoo, at age 18, I've been going to the same tattoo parlor and the same artist. At a point, it just became tradition to be tattooed by the same man and I never considered going elsewhere. Each time, however, I was always just a little bit dissatisfied. It wasn't until recently, when my 4th tattoo became my 7th, is when I decided to change things up.  

When I was 23 I got the words "in God I trust" tattooed under my right arm. At that point in my life it was the right choice for me. Several years, and after much evolution in thought, I decided I wanted it covered. I always knew I wanted the tattoo covered, not removed. I wasn't wanting to remove something I once thought, just change it as my beliefs had changed. 

Two years ago is when I began thinking seriously that I wanted to cover it. I inquired about it with my tattoo artist during a separate tattoo session. However, I was torn because I knew that if I wanted to spend the pain, money, and body space on a new tattoo I wanted it to be something brand new. So I didn't think much about covering in God I trust. Not until about six weeks ago when I began asking a couple friends if they wanted to help me create something to put over this old tattoo. These couple of friends have artistic ability and I am close with them, so would have been happy to have their creation on my body. But, I guess I was more serious than I realized about changing this tattoo and before I even got to work with these friends I was already looking for recommendations for different tattoo artists. 

I knew it was time to finally break tradition and go to a new tattoo artist. I specifically asked for recommendations on someone who worked on cover-ups. I got a few recommendations and landed on a local woman named Tricia Santana. I quickly and easily scheduled a consultation with her. 

During our consultation, I realized how much I was needed a feminine touch for this tattoo. I realized how personal this cover-up was. It wasn't me going to an artist with a specific image I planned to have them put on my body. No, this had to be created from the ground up. I wasn't exactly sure what was going to be possible, so I had to start working with her to see what could take shape to cover something already existing on my body. 

I feel like I was full of ideas. I knew I wanted something beautiful on my body, when all my other tattoos were symbols and words of meaningful things to me. Since I wasn't quite sure what we would have to do to cover it, I went to her with three main themes of important things to me. Nature, Universe, and adventure. Soon after connecting with and chatting with Tricia we stuck on the nature theme and a tree took shape. She sketched out my tattoo on paper then began sketching a pine tree over top of it, one of my favorite trees. Then she came up with putting a night sky behind it with some stars popping out. I got so excited to have this on my body! After spending one hour with me, planning, we made an appointment for two weeks out. It would give me some time to think a few more details through. I'm a person who is deeply concerned with symbols and representation so I wanted everything to symbolize what is important to me. 

The day before I decided to have the female symbol hanging off one of the tree's roots. Early on, one of my many ideas was to have some type of feminist tattoo, so I thought representing femaleness in this subtle symbol would check that box. 

This is the first time I ever got a tattoo that was not an image I had already landed on before.  Instead Tricia and I worked together to create something from nothing and she put it on my body. It's the largest tattoo I have, and took the longest and is the only one I have with color other than black. It's also taking the most getting used to because it feels the most foreign on my body as I wasn't sure what it was going to end up looking like beforehand. To me, it represents my love for nature, the outdoors, wonder, the universe, and the beauty of the night sky. Before recently, I may have not considered putting this on my body, but as I've grown this summer I thought it was definitely for me.