The Story of a Tattoo

So, by now I've let the cat out of the bag and you know about my new art.  Permanent art that is.  A tattoo.  I know.  You are thinking either A.I've lost my marbles; B.  I am having a mid-life crisis; or C.  I am a rock star.  Yep.  I say this because those have been the 3 reactions I've gotten.  And it is across the board age-wise these reactions.  At school my kids have cracked me up....Mrs. Horne!!!  Is that real????  Mom's have glanced and can't help but stare.  My daughter won't quit exploiting it to her class.  (I understand that during art while I was gone she yelled out to the entire class, "SHE"S getting a TATTOO TODAY!!!)  The whole class then gasped and giggled.  So why all the fuss? 

Well, let's see.  You have seen my photo above, right? I am a blond, blue-eyed, very naive, Southern girl that still does not wear white shoes after Labor Day.  It's out of character.  But you know, I have wanted a tattoo for years.  Seriously.  In college it would have probably been grounds for expulsion from Phi Mu.   As a young married woman it'd have been a rebellious act while away from my husband.  In other words, I have let society tell me that it was not okay for ME to have art on my body.  Oh yes, I can make art, sell art, but to have it permanently embedded on my skin would be shameful. 

Back to why did I choose now to do this.  I can best explain it like this.  I am finally very, very comfortable with me.  The whole person me.  It only took 39 years.  No big deal.  And I love the me I have found.  So one of the first steps to getting the cork out was to let the real me do some of the real stuff I've let lie dormant.  I have let fear take hold of my life way too long.  And I don't mean fear of heights and crap like that.  Like fear of looking stupid.  Like fear of failure...or the fear of disappointing others, or fear of not having friends, or better yet what friends are saying.  You get the picture right?   Like letting go and letting myself ENJOY this life.  This crazy imperfect...yet perfect life.  I've said it before, and I'm going to say it again....I think way too many bloggers paint wayyyyyy to pretty a picture in their postings.  Heck yeah, it's super fun to brag and show off the art we make and the share lives we lead.  But sometimes underneath all that mascara and lip gloss is fear.  So fear, you are now being faced by me.  Yep.  I am now a chapstick girl. 
This summer while meeting with my creative peeps we somehow got on the conversation of tattoos.  And 2 of the 4 had them.  And it ticked me off.  Really.   So I threw out to the group, "I think I'll get one while in Portland.  I didn't get the nose ring while their 5 years ago....not gonna leave this time without the tat."  Tiffin did her magic searching and found this amazing tattoo parlor.  One artist in particular had the "style" I wanted.  I called to make an appointment a few weeks before going to Portland.  And guess what?  She was booked until freaking April.  Crazy, right?  So the owner and I talked for a spell.  With my sweet southern twang I told him what I wanted and  he sent me to another of their artist's websites to view and get back to him.  Okey dokey.  And there she was:  Karina.  Man I knew she was the one.  Check her out.  You'll see why I was smitten. 

Thursday am Tiffin and I rented our super cute Ford Fusion and headed to Infinity.  This place was hopping.  People in and out.  One guy was getting a giant falcon across his chest, the lady beside me a giant hibiscus flower on her leg and foot and more were working on images.  Tiffin and I both agreed we could have hung out there all day and been totally fine! The owner and artists were just so nice and talkative.  We tweaked the art I sent her (yes I sent a nest painting of mine to her...I imagine an artist getting a tattoo is like a teacher being taught.) and made the stencil first.  Got the image just right, and the right size.  Of course it had to be stylized a bit.  But it was perfect.   So she set out with the tiny black outline.  Then the color.  Now the photo below was posed just for you guys.  It didn't hurt.  Nope.  (OK...I am SO PAINTING a Rosy story.  It hurt like hell.  But that photo was totally posed. True story.  I was however sweating bullets and trying to tourniquet my arm to help the pain.  It didn't work.)

Here it is after the outline was done.  Which was the worst part.  Man....

It took about an hour to finish.  I watched some, but to be honest, it was painful to watch.  It was gross actually.  And it turns out that the wrist is a "hot spot".  Of course she didn't tell me that prior, since I wanted it there.

Well, here it is.  It's perfect.  And so symbolic.  I am so glad I waited.  Because this image means more now than ever.  And if the sublimation press burn doesn't un-scar itself I may be back next year for a bird.  Yep.  Just letting you know now.


nacherluver said...

You go girl! I think it's great. By 39 you know what you want. I have two. Got them when I was 18. One I love, one I hate. I only got the second one to show I was tough enough to get two at once. Duh! Only something an 18 year old would do!

I can't BELIEVE you got it on the inside of your wrist! OUCH!!!!! Yup. Major hot spot. You are one tough cookie!!!

Congrats on your new art. Have fun and enjoy!

Felicia said...

Welcome to the world of ink!!! I got my tattoo when I turned 33 - and met the same reactions as you, but I LOVE it. But, be warned Jenni - within 4 months of getting the first one I had 3..... all small but it is addictive once you start!!!

Courtney said...

It's cute! You are right..that outline is the WORST. They did my first one, and I asked Trent "are they DONE?" He had to sadly tell me no. Ha! Anyway, good stuff. Now if we just get Molly and Emily C. to get one all the Lewis granddaughters would be set. (I'm sure Cathy would love me saying this...)

Angie Traunig said...

Good for you. And even better that it was your own work and not just some random thing. I don't know that I'll ever have something that I think is 'perfect' enough for a tattoo. My love for my work ebbs and flows. Maybe one day I'll know when I find something 'right'.

As for fears, yeah I hear ya. I can't do that 'rosy glow' sort of blog. It's just not the real me, or the reality. So I just write what I'm thinking. I think having like, 2 readers makes that easier! lol

We really do need to get a cup of tea some day. You know, when we're not both busy. LOL!

Dianne said...

I love it! And why shouldn't you have a tattoo? I'm 51 and I have a few... all of which I got after the age of forty! I also have a nose piercing, which I love! Most of my tatts are on my back, but I have a rather large one on my inner forearm, a memorial to my mom, from my daughter. It means so very much to me... and yes it hurt... much more than those on my back!

Suzanne said...

OMG. That's all I have to say. And, happy for you.

Kelley Sue said...

I LOVE it Jenni! Congrats!!

Teresa Young said...

Jenni, I have enjoyed reading your blog so much since the return of Art& Soul...and this story was great to hear since I saw you after you had gotten your tattoo. I love what you and Tiffen chose for your art. You are an incredible artist and inspiring teacher. Best wishes at the Country Living Show. Wishing you huge success, your Okie friend, Teresa

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