To all of our clients...

Sarah's Seashell by the Seashore

    Let's face it, after inkspotting in New York City for over four years, things can often get repetitive. That's why I don't share a lot of koi, kanji, skulls and, of late, flowers. The point is, I'm always hoping to find something new and unusual.

    That's why, when I spotted Sarah last week, I was excited to talk to her about this, her first tattoo:

    When I asked her about it, she explained that it was only two weeks old and it is an "alphabet cone" seashell.

    She elaborated on why she got this particular tattoo:
    "I got this because I found this exact shell when I was ten in Florida with my mom ... it's [her] favorite shell and so it is my tribute to her .... it even has the crack that the shell has."

    Sarah credits Ren Sakurai at Albatross Tattoo in Portland, Oregon, for creating this Conus spurius on her back.Source URL:
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Marisa Shares Some Vonnegut

    I love a good literary tattoo, especially when I recognize the text and the author.

    I met Marisa after I spotted these six familiar words below her neck:

     The quote "Everything was beautiful, and nothing hurt" refers to an epitaph inscribed on a tombstone in Vonnegut's classic novel, Slaughterhouse-Five.

    This is Marisa's one and only tattoo and she explained why she chose this particular quote:
    "I was going through a hard time and it helped me out a lot - it's just one of those quotes, so meaningful ... that I just needed to have it on me."
    Marisa and I share a mutual appreciation of Vonnegut's work and, despite the greatness of Slaughterhouse-Five, we both liked Cat's Cradle better.

    The word were inked at High Roller Tattoo in Hicksville, New York.

    Thanks to Marisa for sharing this classic literary tattoo with us here on Tattoosday!Source URL:
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Michael and his Misfits Ink

    I met Michael in Bay Ridge, at 92nd and 3rd Avenue, and he offered up these two tattoos on his forearm:

    I recognized the top piece as a Misfits tattoo and asked why he chose it.

    He responded:

    "They are my favorite band of all time and when I say the Misfits, I mean the 1977-1983 Misfits. That to me is one of the greatest bands of all time and Glenn Danzig is my favorite singer of all time."

    He credited Mark Harada, currently at East Side Ink, with tattooing this back in 2002.

    The Danzig skull below the Misfits piece was done, he told me, by Chris Torres at Inborn Tattoo NYC in 2010.

    Here's a little classic Misfits to get you going today:Source URL:
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Alex Shares Three Elements of an Amazing Sleeve

    I'm not sure why it has taken so long to post Alex's tattoos - when I met him at the end of May in K-Mart @ Penn Station, I was totally stoked by his ink. Perhaps I was just letting the photos simmer as I waited for the right time to share them. Nevertheless, here they are, finally.

    What we're seeing are three portions of Alex's left arm sleeve, beginning with this segment which is the most impressive part of the work:

    As Alex explains, this tattoo is
    "inspired by the carvings in Cambodia in Siem Reap ... it's one of the temples of Indra, Indian god of thunder ... he's also the god of change and progress ... 

     ... He's very human-like because he messes up a lot ... he's somewhat of a womanized, so it makes him very original from the rest of the Indian gods..."
    At the top of Alex's arm is this symbol:

    He told me that this is the logo of a hard rock group from Brooklyn called Life of Agony.

    You can check out their website here or peruse their Amazon catalog here.

    In the photo above, you get a glimpse of the third and final segment of Alex's sleeve which we're seeing today, which features this familiar face:

    That's the symbolic face of  Steeplechase Park on Coney Island.

    Compare to this tattoo, which appeared here last year.

    Alex explained about his connection to Coney Island:
    "...Basically, I grew up there ... I grew up in Bensonhurst, but [Coney Island] is kind of where I became myself, adolescence and all that stuff - that's the old Coney Island..."
    Alex credited all of his work to a tattoo artist named Seth Wood who is currently working out of Saved Tattoo in Brooklyn.

    Source URL:
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Liberty and Justice, Courtesy of Alex

    I met Alex a few weeks back in Penn Station. I spotted this familiar face on his right calf:

    I say a familiar face, because it is clearly the profile of the Statue of Liberty, but something looks slightly different. Alex explained why:
    "It's the right side of the face, [which] is really hard to find because the arm for the torch is in the way ... I had to research forever and then I found two photos which I matched up ... one was when it was under construction, someone got the right side ... the crown part we had to reverse and put onto the picture ... I'm pretty particular - it actually  took two weeks to come up with a good design..."
    Alex says he got this tattoo a few years back "to commemorate President Bush leaving office." He was living in Portland, Oregon, at the time and is originally from Albany, New York. The collaboration on the tattoo was with an artist named Ron at a shop whose name he doesn't recall.

    As happy as I was to take this photo, Alex was more keen on showing off a newer piece, done by Chris Reynolds at Albany Modern Body Art. He raised his shirt up to show me this tattoo on his right side:

    Alex explained that his ink had a very Northeastern slant to it. This tattoo fits in with the general feel of that theme.

    He wanted to be sure to praise the guys at Modern Body Art and was really very proud of this work.

    Source URL:
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Jacqueline's Blood Rose

    Two weeks ago I spotted Jacqueline and knew I had to ask her about this large tattoo in the center of her back:

    Jacqueline explained that she and her older brother got this same tattoo in the same spot. "We just wanted to get a matching tattoo," she told me, "and, you know, we're both blood relatives". It's as simple as that.

    She credits Seth Wood with this tattoo. Seth currently works out of Saved Tattoo in Brooklyn. Work by Seth appeared previously on Tattoosday just last month here.Source URL:
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Andrea Shares a Gil Elvgren Pinup by Shane O'Neill

    Earlier this month, I met Andrea while waiting for the A train.

    Andrea is covered with tattoos, estimating she has over 50% of her body inked. I always feel privileged when someone so dedicated to the art of tattoo agrees to share their work. Andrea offered up this amazing pin-up on her right forearm:

    This amazing tattoo is based on the work of  legendary pin-up artist Gil Elvgren. The tattoo artist responsible for this incredible work is Shane O'Neill, who is based in Middletown, Delaware. The detail in this piece is incredible.

    Work by Shane has appeared previously on our site here.

    Thanks to Andrea for sharing her amazing work with us here on Tattoosday!

    Source URL:
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Natalie's Geisha Butterfly

    Last month, I ran into Natalie on Seventh Avenue and 24th Street. She had several tattoos, but shared this geisha, with butterfly wings, floating on the top of her back:

    She got this about six years ago in the city of Leeds from an artist named Diego.

    When I asked why she got this particular tattoo, she replied, "I kind of just wanted something that was quite girly, yet strong at the same time."

    Natalie is a professional photographer whose work can be seen on her website here.Source URL:
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Nick's Street Sign is Self-Explanatory

    Earlier this week, up in Columbus Circle (see, I don't spend ALL my time in Penn Station!), I ran into Nick, a much-inked individual who kindly allowed me to photograph this tattoo on his left shin:

    Nick explained that his friend James tattooed this Pedestrian Crossing sign on him. When I asked him why he chose to get this iconic street sign on his leg, he replied, simply, "We were just bored, and I walk everywhere".

    Thanks to Nick for sharing this cool tattoo with us here on Tattoosday!
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Kristen's Anchor - Dedicated to Daddy

    "This tattoo is for my father," Kristen told me, as we sat talking at the laundromat earlier this month, "because he's my anchor and he's the only man that could ever hold me down and take care of me."

    She credits an artist named Twace who works in Brooklyn. [On October 4, 2011, I learned Twace is working at Citizen Ink.] Twace does all her work and is working with Kristen on her sleeve, which is based on family and inspired by Sailor Jerry flash.

    When I asked her about coming up with the design, she praised Twace, her artist:

    "What I love about him is that we designed the entire piece together ... I paint and do artistic things, as well, which you find [can be] very difficult with tattoo artists to put your inspiration in ... The heart rope was my idea, the color scheme, we basically worked together, bounced ideas off each other, which makes it even more like a special event."

    Source URL:
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Colleen Returns to Share Some Lovely Ink

    I spotted a woman with some really great tattoos out on Penn Plaza and, after talking to her a brief moment, realized it was Colleen, who appeared on Tattoosday once before, back in 2009, as chronicled here.

    Colleen shared two tattoos that grace her upper arms:

    Colleen loves this tattoo and I can't say I blame her. As a Buddhist, she appreciates the symbolism of the lotus and the om on the skull. She explained:
    "the lotus comes out of the mud at the bottom of the water and blooms out of that and that's ... birth. And the skull [represents] death."
    The piece encompasses the cycle of life and death. She credits this wonderful work to Patrick Conlon at Graceland Brooklyn.

    Colleen also has this work on her right arm:

    Colleen explained that the dragon was there first, and then Patrick added the fire and pansies, to make it a much more beautiful tattoo.

    Source URL:
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It's a Blog World, After All

    It's not unusual to occasionally run into someone who's been featured on the blog before, especially in my neighborhood, but this morning I ran into four former Tattoosday subjects. So, out of sheer laziness and the desire to share these encounters, we'll be revisiting these old posts.

    First, I ran into Melanie, whose Marilyn Monroe tattoo appeared earlier this year here.

    I spotted her where I first met her, in the laundromat. We were chatting when Sandra walked by and said hi. I also met Sandra in the laundromat back in 2009. Her tattoo was featured here.

    Then, I ran into James and . James was also a laundromat encounter, although his son went to school with my youngest daughter, so we had seen each other around the neighborhood a lot. Today I ran into him about a block from the laundromat. James was here on Tattoosday in our second post, back in 2007! It's worth checking out here, just to get a perspective of what the site was like "back in the day."

    James was walking with his girlfriend, Jeanette, who I met on the subway in 2009, and featured here. What's remarkable is that, at the time, James and Jeanette were not a couple, and I only learned they were together almost a year later, when I ran into James and he told me that his girlfriend had been featured on the site as well.Source URL:
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Erin's Tribute to Thomas, Her Grandfather

    Back in June, I met Erin on the subway, and she shared this section of her inner forearm:

    This tattoo is a tribute to her grandfather, Thomas, who served in the U.S. Navy.

    The work was done at High Street Tattoo in Columbus, Ohio.

    Erin explained: 
    "I just told [the artist] that I wanted something that would relate to the Navy, I guess, so that's the anchor. I like Old School tattoos, I like Sailor Jerry classic-style."

     Erin also has a Friday the 13th tattoo below this, on her wrist:

    This was done at Only You Tattoo in Atlanta.Source URL:
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A Beacon for Marci on Buddy's Arm

    I met Buddy a while back while riding the subway. He had 13 or 14 tattoos and shared this piece, from his left forearm:

    Buddy explained that this old gas-lit street light serves a memorial piece for Marci, his French bulldog, who passed away at the age of 14. Marci was his "light in the dark" for a dozen years,

    The tattoo was inked at The End is Near in Brooklyn. He couldn't remember the artist's name, but based on his description (and my rudimentary knowledge of the artists there), I believe the tattooist was Joey Wilson, who has moved on to Asylum Studios in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.Source URL:
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Ashley's Scarabs

    I met Ashley a couple months ago, over the summer, on a Friday afternoon at the Broadway-Lafayette subway station.

    She had two tattoos on her upper left arm that jumped out at me:

    These two scarabs were tattooed by Jason June, from Three Kings Tattoo, in Brooklyn.  Why scarabs? Ashley explained that they have "a family significance from the scarab bracelet that I have." She showed me the bracelet and two of the stones matched the colors in the tattoos. Pretty neat.

    Check out posts tagged Three Kings here to see the work we've featured from the shop on Tattoosday.Source URL:
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Good Time Sam and the Mad Hatter

    Last month I ran into a young lady who called herself "Good Time Sam" in Penn Station. She was very enthusiastic about sharing one of her tattoos. She has "at least twenty". She offered up this memorable character:

    That is, of course, the Mad Hatter, from Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

    Sam credited this piece to her friend Justin from Pigment Custom Tattoo and Piercing in New Orleans.

    She chose this for a tattoo because she likes the character, Hatter, from the book, and she always wears a hat.

    The image is based on the original John Tenniel illustration 

    although it seems that the tattoo artist added some additional detail, along with the phrase "live the madness"

    Source URL:
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Holy Ship! Isaac's Vessel and a Biblical Quote

    There are a few tattoo artists whose work is so good that, when I'm lucky enough to stumble upon one of their clients, I consider it a great day.

    Such was the case on a Monday in August on the Upper West Side, when I stopped Isaac in Trader Joe's as he walked past me. I knew, even before he told me who the artist was, that this piece was special:

    Isaac explained that this ship was inked by the amazing Amanda Wachob of Dare Devil Tattoo in Manhattan. Amanda was featured in a small post in the New York Times earlier this year here. I have been fortunate enough to stumble across her work personally once before, as documented in this post from last October.

    Isaac explained that this ship was inspired by The Flying Dutchman, a painting by Albert Pinkham Ryder.

    One of the amazing things about Amanda Wachob's work is how her tattoos look like they are painted onto the skin. Check out the front of Isaac's ship:

    "I used to write 'I'm a Son' on my arm all the time," Isaac told me, "as in a son of God," so he refers to this as his sonship.

    He also shared this piece on his left biceps:

    This is a Biblical reference, from 1 Corinthians 13, Verses 4-8. The passage is
    "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away."
    Isaac and his wife have the same piece, with hers being on her right arm. I love the font that the artist used. He attributed it to Kelly at East Side Ink. Kelly is absent from the shop website, so must have been a former or visiting artist.Source URL:
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Re-Post: Paul's 9/11 Memorial

    This post originally appeared in 2008 and again in 2009. It seems appropriate to re-run it again today:

    Earlier this month, I mentioned meeting Paul here, on the bike path that runs along the southern tip of Brooklyn.

    I saved the other tattoo photo I took of Paul's work for today, the seventh anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

    What I didn't mention in the previous post is that Paul is a federal agent who grew up in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

    From his vantage point there, he watched the World Trade Center being built in the late 1960's. He was working in 6 World Trade seven years ago for the U.S. Customs Department when the towers came down, and he spent four months at Ground Zero and the Fresh Kills Landfill on Staten Island, searching for remains.

    The tattoo is a poignant piece, with the sun shining between the towers. Below is Paul's badge from the Department of Homeland Security, which has evolved into U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Particulatly unusual is the depiction of 9/11 in Roman numerals:

    IX XI.

    I don't believe I had ever seen it represented that way before.

    Like the tattoo in the earlier post, this piece was inked by Joe at Brooklyn Ink.

    Thanks to Paul for sharing this WTC memorial piece with us here on Tattoosday.

    ~ ~ ~

    We here at Tattoosday send our thoughts and prayers to all the families of  people who died on 9/11, and to the families of all of the men and women who have died since then, serving our country.

    Source URL:
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Lola Loves Shoes. Here's One.

    In late spring, I met a young lady down the block from me and, after noticing a tattoo of scissors on her foot, talked to her about her ink. She was walking her dog at the time, so she took a Tattoosday card and said she might be interested in sharing some of her work at a later time.

    Fast forward a couple of months to late June, and I ran into her again, down the block, and she shared this tattoo:

    Lola loves shoes, and she had this done by Eddie Carrero at Inkstop Tattoo NYC. Work by Eddie has appeared previously on Tattoosday here.Source URL:
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Patti Shares a Stunning Floral Sleeve

    Today we have some work submitted by a reader, who patiently waited a month and a half for me to post her sleeve work. Although I do post submissions, they generally take a back seat to tattoos I encounter in the streets.

    Patti sent in these photos of her stunningly beautiful floral tattoos running down her arm:

    Patti credits the talented Mike Shea at Redemption Tattoo in Cambridge, Massachusetts, for these gorgeous flowers.

    She said she had started with a half sleeve, but "really loved it," so they turned it into a full sleeve. Can you blame her? She elaborated:
    "The original idea came from a quote, 'Where does one find the flowers? You must learn to follow butterflies, she replied.' (author unknown).  I chose lilies because they have always caught my eye…vibrant, vivid, strong…and there are endless variations of them.  

    To me, my tattoo symbolizes learning how to embrace life and live, surrounded by the love and friendship and support of others. It memorializes a sharp change in direction in my life’s path, and the end of a very dark and destructive time in my life.  It reminds me to keep on moving forward…to bloom, and to be myself.

    I chose Mike to do the tattoo because of his classic tattoo style, and Japanese influence."
    Work from Redemption appeared once before on Tattoosday here.

    Thanks to Patti for sending in these photos of her beautiful work!

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A Devilish Start for Anthony

    When I ran into Anthony last month in Penn Station, he was happy to share the beginning stage of what he envisions to be a full leg piece, that will run all the way up his limb:

    Anthony explained that this Japanese demon:
    "is by my good friend, Nate Osborne, of True Tattoo (3) in Ballston Spa, New York. Basically we were chatting one day and I said how I've always wanted something really traditional ...Japanese style and he hadn't done one lately and he said 'come on down to the shop' and so I did and he fit me right in ... this is all his design."
    Source URL:
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Joe is Armed with Words of Strength

    Last month on 86th Street in Brooklyn, I met Joe, who shared this cool tattoo on his right bicep:

    Joe credited Matt Van Cura, formerly of Lark Tattoo. Matt now works out of Da Vinci Tattoo in Watagh, New York. 

    Joe came in with an idea for this piece, armed only with the phrase "Increscunt animi virescit volnere virtus," and worked with Matt for a couple of hours as they pieced the art together. Be sure to click on the photo to get a larger view of the exceptional shading, line work and detail. 

    When I asked what the Latin translated to, Joe told me it meant "the spirit grows, strength is restored through wounding." A little research on my end revealed that the exact translation,"the spirits increase, vigor grows through a wound," is a quote attributed to the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche from Die Götzen-Dämmerung (Twilight of the Idols).
    Source URL:
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Leigh's Skull with a Mouthful of Blossoms

    Last month, I ran into Leigh, getting off the C train at 34th Street in Manhattan. She estimates she has 40% of her corporeal canvas covered, and she offered me this tattoo on her left forearm:

    We've had  a lot of sugar skulls here on Tattoosday, but everyone is different and unique. This one, inked by Myles Karr at Three Kings Tattoo in Brooklyn, stands out from the bow at the top of the skull, and the open jaw full of cherry blossoms, both items not generally associated with the traditional sugar skull design.

    "I'm always talking," Leigh told me, "and it's always positive, so I wanted something that would keep the mouth open." She collaborated with Myles on the piece, saying she wanted a skull, but didn't want a "cliche," and pointed out it's also "kind of a take on the Suicidal Tendencies skull."Source URL:
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Southpaw in the Subway

    A couple weeks ago, I met a woman on the West 4th Street subway platform after I noticed her last name inscribed on her back. This tattoo, however, I found particularly cool:

    I don't have a lot of information regarding this tattoo, as the young lady took my card as her train rolled in and never got back to me.

    Nonetheless, I wanted to share this "Southpaw" tattoo on her left arm. She is, as you might guess, a proud left-handed person.Source URL:
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Patricia Loves Summer

    The Borders book store in Penn Plaza is closing in less than two weeks, which is sad on so many different levels. When its doors finally shut for good, we here at Tattoosday will personally mourn the loss of one of our favorite spots to browse and, of course, spot ink. Over the years, this particular Borders has been a great location for meeting people and talking to them about their tattoos, as it is just a stone's throw from where I work.

    Patricia is among the last people I have met there, having spotted her a couple weeks ago, and interviewed her about this tattoo on the back of her right arm and shoulder:

    This tattoo was inked by Miss D'Jo at Lark Tattoo in Westbury, New York.

    The artwork for this piece is based on the work of Alphonse Mucha's series of decorative panels depicting the Four Seasons. This was based on "Summer, 1896".

    Miss D'Jo's work on this piece is extremely well done and true to this original artwork, which is Patricia's favorite of the four seasons.

    It should be noted that I find it remarkable how often I see Mucha's work translated into tattoos. Clicking here will display all the previous works by Mucha that have appeared on Tattoosday. Work from Lark Tattoo has appeared previously here, and this work showcases the last time work from Miss D'Jo blessed our site.

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