Tattoos and tattooing has become a complex idea to me. I studied for a while as a tattoo artist before I realized the field was not for me; I was happy building my own collection, but didn’t have a strong need to share them with others. Tattoos became a way for me to express myself, more than paintings or poetry or novelization as I carried it with me. And it didn’t start as a way to rebel, or go against society like most of my relatives believed.
I saw tattoos when I was about 12 or 13 as a form of art and expression. That’s what I believed at the time, and in a way that belief has carried through to my perceptions of it now. I always wanted one of my own. I wanted something outward and colourful to represent the art inside of me. And so many things in my teen years gave me a reason to create one of my own.
That’s where my first came from: a budgie in flight, about to land, with the phrase “In the Presence of Angels” held in his feet. It was kind of an homage to my first true pet, Angel, but also to show I did care about those around me and their opinions. They were my angels, and I never wanted that to change.
It sounds so sappy now, but it still resonates true. Since then, I’ve inked impulse tattoos on my legs, ones that immortalize quotes that refer to an event, and memorial tattoos. My last memorial one, a candle and rose on my foot that started as a random image, probably relates the most to my feelings about being a tattoo artist. It was a fleeting idea, one that I attempted and left to pursue bigger things, things that I felt needed my attention more than something I was only half-passionate about. That doesn’t mean I’m not planning another tattoo as I write this post as I can’t stand stopping because of one little bump in the road.
Tattooing is an art form to me, and because of my tattoos I feel so much more comfortable in my own skin. I feel I don’t need to hide anymore as my ideals are out for all to see. If they analyze the images, go for it. The little skull on my ankle? I thought he was cute. The swallow on my shoulder blade? A permanent reminder to keep moving forward and to keep exploring. They may not be the best of tattoos out there, but they’re mine. What I can’t stand is people overcompensating their positive feelings on tattoos; I get it, you kind of don’t like them, but feel the need to compliment every one you see to show you approve of their existence. Whatever.
My skin feels bare when it doesn’t have colour on it. It’s a blank canvas, just waiting to be covered. My parents probably don’t feel the best from that idea, and I most likely won’t cover a lot of my skin, but it’s still an open. If I want to have a permanent reminder in the future, I have no qualms against inking it in my skin. My tattoos show events and things that are a part of me, and though my tastes may change over time, I can’t and don’t want to change who I was at any point.
Maybe tattoos play a bigger role in my life than I thought…