Tattoo Musings

My thanks for the discovery that the artist I was after was Glen Rabena. We crashed his bandwidth, unfortunately (and now I feel guilty!) but he’s really cool and you should check him out. Just not, err, right now.

The reason I’ve been looking for Haida artists is because I’m planning on getting another tattoo. I’m getting that itch. It’s been ten years since the last one, I’ve never regretted it in the slightest (in fact, I am very glad of it lately, since I keep getting all these compliments on it…)

Now, a buddy of mine urged me, in no uncertain terms, to wait one year from the time of my separation before doing anything permanent. Having just learned the price of doing too much too fast, I am grudging forced to admit that this is wise advice and will therefore wait until at least February before gettin’ more ink. Still, I can at least start looking (and you should always let a tattoo design sit for a few months anyway, just to make sure you still love it, and that’ll give me time to find a good local artist, anyhow.)

My philosophy of tattoos is large, bold, stylized, and monochromatic. They hold up better to the ineveitable fading and blurring. And I’m pretty sure what I want is a kingfisher across my right shoulder, probably in the Haida style. (Okay, okay, every now and again I get this mad urge to get a full color Ganesh, like in one of those classic vaguely-tacky-but-sort-of-cool Indian paintings, emblazoned across my back. Unfortunately there’s only one tattoo artist I’d trust to put color on me, and he lives in Minnesota. Also, I hope to have sex again some day, and it’s a rare partner who can look down at Ganesh and go “Ohhhh, baby…”*) 

So, kingfisher. Since I took up birding regularly, they’re the birds that I find I am always glad to see, no matter how many times I see them. When I see one, there’s a weird sense of…not friendship, exactly (I would not so presume!) but a kind of hail-fellow-traveller, at the risk of sounding really hippie. They’re fierce, comical, shy, a combination of awkward flight and unexpected grace, beautiful in a peculiarly prickly  and highly individual fashion…all of which are things that I can I identify with. And they have big noses. And, were one inclined to totemism, they are supposed to represent going into the unknown fearlessly, which is nothing to sneeze at, even if one’s a skeptic at heart.

I haven’t found THE design yet, and may wind up cobbling one together myself, but finding examples in the Haida style helps a lot. (I wanted Haida because it’s a lovely style that preserves the essential angularity of the bird, which Celtic knotwork isn’t so great at. Also, I grew up in large part in the Pacific Northwest, and there’s a familiarity there that’s comfortable.)

*I had a friend who got the head of Princess Leia tattooed between her shoulderblades. Just the head. I have always wondered what went through her boyfriends’ minds at the critical juncture, but was never willing to ask.

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