First tattoo (of many, I'm sure)
I have wanted a tattoo for as long as I can remember. Since childhood, I have been fascinated by the ability of people to record life events and important personal memories on the canvas of skin. Nobody in my family had tattoos and my parents were not very approving of them, so out of respect for my parents, I didn’t proceed with getting one although I certainly had opportunities along the way to do it. I grew to adulthood and made it to the age of 42 before finally going under the needle.
As a pastor, there was some apprehension as to how it would be received by the members of my church if they saw that their pastor had a tattoo. With the cultural changes and tattoos becoming more accepted by most people, I decided that I was no longer concerned with those issues. My main issue was to be sure the design was exactly right. I researched ideas on BME and other tattoo websites and even went through books of art to find just the right design. I wanted my tattoo to reflect my Scottish heritage as well as my Christian faith. So before long, I decided to design my own tattoo of a simple Celtic cross. I didn’t want it to be terribly complex as I wanted every aspect of the design to have significance. I decided that nothing that I found in any of my research completely reflected the ideas I wanted in my own tattoo. So I started drawing my own designs about 2 years ago. Finally, I got the design that I wanted completed and took it to Donnie at Evermore Tattoo Gallery in Edwardsville, Illinois. He approved of my work and added a few elements of his own to make it more complete. It amazes me the skill of the artists who can take a design and make it nearly perfect in a matter of minutes. Donnie did just that and I set my appointment to come back and see him two day after our first meeting.
On a Thursday evening, I showed up at Evermore and Donnie started to work bringing my image to life. Donnie did all of the usual preparation setting up his station, getting the ink cups filled, shaving my chest and getting the stencil placed. He took all the time necessary to make sure I was satisfied with the placement before he started to work. I got up on the table, the machine started to buzz and Donnie got down to work. The pain level was not nearly as bad as I had been anticipating except as he got close to my collar bone. It seems that other experiences I have read are accurate in that regard. With the collar bone being nearer the surface, it is a bit more painful than other areas, but not at all unbearable. Anyway, after a couple of hours in the chair, Donnie finished the job and cleaned off the ink and blood and sent me to a mirror to see it before he put the dressing on it. The feeling of finally seeing myself with the tattoo I had wanted for so long was pretty cool. I could have spent longer looking at it, but figured I would have the rest of my life to see it. Long story short, in just over 2 hours, Donnie turned my lifetime of planning into a beautiful and meaningful work of art.
It isn’t a complex design, but it means the world to me. It is, as I have stated, a Celtic cross in black and grey on my left chest. It is about 5 inches high and 3.5 inches wide with shading to make it appear 3D. Each morning as I look in the mirror and each evening before I go to bed, I see the tattoo and it reminds me of what is most important to me in the world.
Almost as soon as I got in the car on the way home. I began thinking about tattoo number 2. I want to do something to honor my children. Haven’t nailed it down quite yet, but I don’t want to wait another 42 years to do that one. I will say that I agree with others who have also said that tattoos are addictive. Once you’ve already gotten one, it seems like the desire is there to continue to demonstrate to the world what matters to you through tattoos. As for those who think that a pastor shouldn’t have a tattoo, I disagree entirely. Any arguments against them that I have heard simply do not hold water. And, in a way that is hard to explain, but can certainly be felt, it demonstrates a boldness to be willing to show the world what matters to you. The world would be a better place if more Christians were even half that bold about showing the world what they believe and more people were committed to things that matter like faith and family and friends.
If you’re having doubts about getting some ink and reading this… I’d say put the doubt aside and go for it and you’ll have forever to enjoy the art!
submitted by: Anonymous
on: 19 June 2010
in Religious and Mythological Tattoos
Studio: Evermore Gallery
Location: Edwardsville, Illinois (USA)