I got my first tattoo. I say "first" because I like the idea of considering my body as a lifelong work of art. Not just for tattoos, but other modifications, including exercising specific muscles, piercings and potentially one (or more) artwork(s) I'm considering that delve(s) into the realm of cybernetics.
Those who know my previous work may recognize this from my gallery. It was originally a piece I did for a dear friend of mine a few years ago. Unfortunately she didn't have the money to get it done and eventually grew out of it. I really enjoyed the theme she had presented me with and when I drew it felt a strong connection with it, so when I was considering getting a tattoo and beginning this lifelong journey of my "body as an artwork" I figured I would ask her if I could use it. She graciously allowed me to, saying that it would be a shame to let it go to waste.
It's an important piece to me because it reminds me of Africa (where I spent over half my childhood, growing up) and my connection with the natural world. I've always felt particularly comfortable in the outdoors, under the elements, and in particular in the woods. When my friend asked me for a baobab with its roots wrapping around the earth, it really struck a chord with me and I really enjoyed putting it together, regardless of where she was coming from as she requested it (though I suspect the reasons for which she requested it were similar to those for which I enjoyed drawing it).
I made some slight technical modifications to the line art before getting it done, but they probably don't really register in the final work.
Overall, I loved the experience. Getting tattooed was amongst the most relaxing things I have ever done. I actually almost fell asleep twice during the process. The constancy of the needles pressing into my skin was very relaxing, and the thought of my own artwork being permanently imprinted on my skin felt great. The artist who did it for me was Matt Pike of Moose Tattoos in Burlington, Vermont, USA. He did a great job of getting me in a positive state of mind (I was stressing out before we started) and I'm glad he was the one to do it, as I love the result and I've had a few friends comment on how "clean" it looks, which was very important to me.
This piece is a starting point. I want to build off of it, not just in terms of life experiences, but also simply as a visual piece. I asked to have this piece follow the contours of my back muscles and would like to continue working with my body along those lines. My tattoos will be a representation of myself as a person, as well as an artist and a medium.
Thanks for reading!