Occupation: Communications & Marketing Student in Paris
Age of first tattoo: 16
Favorite tattoo: Leg sleeve (still in process)
Featured tattoo/location: Bouquet/paisley leg sleeve. Left lower leg from ankle upward. Eventually I would like this piece to go up to my knee, but my trips back to the states are once every year, and I don’t have the heart to let another artist work on it quite yet! I’m taking it slow, but it will be done someday!
Artist/shop/location of feature tattoo: Asa Rogers at Under Your Skin in Aurora, Colorado.
1) Tell us about your featured tattoo- is there a background story or special meaning? Why did you choose this particular piece of art?
The leg sleeve started with one of those rushed tattoos- the tree on my inner ankle that my sister and I did together. I had always been fascinated by sleeves and thought I would like one even more on my leg. I spent a lot of time contemplating what exactly I would put when I came across the two most simple things that I adore: flowers and paisley. I like flowers because everyone can make them their own and add their own spunk to them. Along with the flower idea I wanted to have another “main part” as the tree took up the whole inner ankle, which was when I decided I wanted a dia de los muertos head. My mother has always been obsessed; pulling out her dolls every year (even though we have no Mexican roots) but the beauty of the dolls always fascinated me. Nowadays it has become more cliché, but I stick by my mother’s collection and think of how I always found them to be so stoic and stunning. Thus, since I am not a rose person, I decided to put two zinnias on the sides of the head, making it blend more with the surroundings. My mother is an artist (and tattooed a bit also to say the least!) so in that sense it links back to her, but in general it is about the beauty of the objects themselves as well. The paisley I just find to be simply pretty. I am a gal who likes patterns and shapes, and paisley is just a field day for me. I think my artist, Asa, has become pretty good at free-handing paisley by now. As for now I want to incorporate more flowers and paisley, having the paisley blend into a full bouquet by the time I get to right below the knee. I don’t plan on doing color- I dig the simple black ink. So to sum up the blabbering: a random collection of things I find pretty.
2) Do you have any other tattoos? If so, what do you have and where?
Yes, I have a small sentence in Arabic (kind of cliché, but as a hydrologist, my dad lives in the Middle East) on the back of my neck. I also have some doodles on my right foot, with a sketched simple globe on the top of my right foot (which I did when I was 16). The doodles I added when I was 18, going to the bottom of my anklebone. These were originally inspired by Arabic henna, having spent time in the Middle East throughout my childhood.
3) Do you plan on getting more?
Yes, I plan on continuing the bouquet on my leg sleeve up to my knee. I fancy sleeves and especially ¾ sleeves, but not sure if I would actually pursue one on my own body. Shoulder pieces I find also to be stunning. We will see where the wind blows me. I am not sure, however, if I would ever get a color tattoo. For now black ink does it for me, and I feel that it fits me more. But on verra en tous cas.
4) How do your family and friends feel about your tattoo(s)? Have you run into any adversity or negativity because of them? Do you have a significant other? Does he/she have tattoos?
What’s funny is that most people would never guess I have a tattoo until I put on a pear of shorts or a skirt- it oftentimes brings about interesting yet amusing responses. My close family doesn’t think anything of it. I have a twin sister, and both of us are pretty into tattoos- different styles, but same ole ink. My brother does not have any and I’m pretty sure my dad rolls his eyes, although he is pretty young at heart and isn’t against them. My mom has a few- a small ankle one and also a smaller one more on her foot (the arrow). I do not remember initially asking my mom to go with me to sign the papers as I was a minor, but I’d be anxious to know what went through her head when I asked because I definitely got what I wanted! The sentence in Arabic was my first one, nothing with bad taste or silly connotations, which could be the reason for which she gave it a go. It is to this day a tattoo I get complimented on- especially by those who speak Arabic, which I also study (in response to the question: “Do you know what it means???”).
My friends are hard to put into one grouping. I have many friends who also have many stunning tattoos and also many friends who do not have any, who question my initial motives and probably think I will regret it later in life. But regardless, this would never affect the relationships I have with my friends. They may think I’m a bit crazy, but that’s not a first! They love me for who I am [and like my tattoos] no matter what their views are, which is why I’m lucky to have such a diverse group of friends.
In terms of adversity or negativity, living in Paris, France there is a handful of that. I am originally from Denver, Colorado which is a moderately artsy town filled with inked up adults and creatives… already with more of a tattoo stigma existing already in urban and non-urban areas of the US. But in Paris, this fad hasn’t quite hit fully yet.
For negative reactions, I must say that the number of double takes I get tends to be exponential when the weather is nice and I whip out the shorts. I can’t help but wonder why people waste their time staring me down questioning my morals with a broken, rude or uneducated rhetoric. Yet, it is just one more reason to hold my head high as I defend the fact that I am a bilingual independent woman with an outstanding education and big plans for life. This kind of negative reaction is also something I knew I would get going into this whole “having tattoos thing” which makes it less and less bothersome to me.
BUT! The board goes both ways: in this city of lights I also get numerous compliments from an artistic standpoint- people asking me where I got the tattoos done, or why I did them, or simply just a compliment about them aesthetically. It is heartwarming when people recognize the artistic value in tattoos.
I firmly believe there are many reasons to be against tattoos and that there are a plethora of distasteful tattoos that are inked deeply into peoples skin layers that gives them a bad name and bad stigma- in addition to historical stories about tattoos in places like prisons or gangs- but above all, there is the artistic side that exists in modern society, that some people are too blind to see. Which is life, c’est la vie. I think they’re beautiful and can be a classy mode of expression or individuality, so getting over the negative reactions fades away. As we all know, it’s a permanent thing, but it certainly doesn’t affect a mentality or an intelligence level. There are crazy people everywhere, as well as impactful people who will change the world- and what is on their skin or what they’re wearing isn’t going to change their heart and mindset. This topic, however, leads to the question of working. My tattoos can be covered up completely without having to make major alterations to my wardrobe, but what I do hope for in future working environments is that I do not need to hide the fact that they exist. I have no problem with covering them up for what come refer to as ‘professional’ purposes, but why doubt that they exist? It’s a piece of my personality that could ultimately help me be better understood as a person in any context.
The question on the significant other: my boyfriend Louis is French, and wasn’t really used to the artistic side of tattoos as he claimed when he first met me a year and a half ago. He had only met someone with the random-type-of-tattoo without real reasoning or artistic value (i.e. a badly colored smurf or something on hipbone)- the kind when you pop into the shop you pick anything you like out of the plethora of images surrounding the entrance of the studio. I think the first time he saw my tattoos on my leg he may have been a bit surprised, but he assured me that it was a non-negative surprised reaction. I asked him bluntly about he topic for this questionnaire he just replied, "I love you and you have things that you love, so why wouldn't I love those things you love?" I don’t think he’ll ever get one of his own, but I can definitely see him observing them on others more and more now that he knows my views on tattoos as an art. All in all, he likes them!
5) Any advice for those interested in getting tattooed but hasn’t gotten one yet?
My advice to someone interested in getting tattooed but hasn’t done it yet would definitely be to not rush. Take your time and design something you really like that you think will be aesthetic, and also to not be afraid to go against the artist’s design or ideas. Sometimes they come up with ideas and you don’t want to be mean and change it but ultimately its YOU having this injected into your skin and making it a part of your body, so don’t be afraid to speak up or settle for anything less than what you imagine in your head. Secondly, do not be afraid of just other people. You’re living in this world to and can tattoo yourself if you want to! People are going to judge, but you know what, they’re wasting their time if you’ve got confidence for the choice you made even if it’s just a little design you happen to find pretty. People will ask you about it nonstop even if you try to avoid it, but don’t be shy. At first I found myself being apprehensive about telling people about it but really I’m proud to tell people about it now as it something visible. For all the negative reactions out there don’t forget that you’ll get positive and complimentary ones as well. Thirdly and lastly my advice is to be tasteful and unique. Even if an image is “cliché” you can always make it your own. Keep in mind that nothing is ACTUALLY new and everything’s been done before, so just always make it pertinent to YOU and YOUR individuality.