Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Literary Tattoos~~ Hawthorne

I'm a tattoo junkie. Well, not really a junkie. I just appreciate the art and love to be a part not only of the art but the culture. I'm not going to get into the history of tattooing. There are tons of websites, books and wiki entries for that. Let's just say it's a very old practice. Tattoos are becoming more accepted and more commonplace every day...and gone are the days of "mother" and anchors (although there are artists that do fabulous retro pieces...Jake Delbene of The Quillian is a prime example). More and more the trend is moving away from flash pieces (pre drawn designs you pick from a book) and toward custom work. All of my tattoos are custom. A good tattoo artist works with you and, if you develop a relationship, gets to know you. My tattoo artist, Steve Lemak from The Quillian knows about my "thing for rabbits." He also can see into my head a little bit. I design my tattoos and he draws them. I start with the idea and have Scott Golley (the head dude in charge of coordinating artists and customers) jot down what I want and do a little research. He gives the info to Steve and Steve draws it up. I like to give Scott the story behind a design so he can pass it on to Steve. Steve's never let me down. I was afraid he'd make the teacup in my Alice tattoo too narrow. Much to my surprise it was a wide brimmed cup. He knew.

So...what's this have to do with literature. My tattoos are all literary. I'm a nerd. I've been researching it and I'm not alone. A lot of people are honoring their favorite authors with quotes, tidbits and illustrations. People even get signatures of the authors tattooed.

I'll start with my latest tattoo. It's an homage to Nathaniel of my favorite American writers. The typical association is a scarlet "A" within a wood carving or Puritan style embroidery. I wasn't keen on having the mark of an adulteress on my body permanently. I'm no adulteress (yes, yes, yes...I get the symbolism of the "A"). I wanted to find something unique. Toward the end of Hawthorne's life he began to become a bit unhinged. He took to obsessively scribbling the number "64" on scraps of paper. No one knows why. He died in 1864 but he started doing this years before he died. Well, how's that for a unique idea. I love Steve. My idea. My concept. His design.

Coming up next...Alice in Wonderland...Stay tuned.

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