Using My Illusion
Eleven years ago, in March of 1999, when I was eighteen years old, I had an idea for a tattoo that I had not seen on anyone I knew, although I was sure I was not the first person to come up with the idea. I wanted to get an armband of sheet music. I was a huge Guns N' Roses fan, and decided that I wanted to get the first few bars of the song, "November Rain" tattooed around my arm. A centerpiece for the armband would be on the outer part of my upper arm, which would be part of the album cover of Use Your Illusion I, which the song came from. This was one of my favorite songs, from one of my favorite albums, and also one of my favorite pieces of artwork. The tattoo on my outer arm, the centerpiece for the music band, is a sitting figure writing in a book with a feather quill pen. The figure is part of the album cover, designed by Mark Kostabi, which is a reworking of the painting by the Renaissance artist Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino (Raphael), titled, "The School of Athens." This figure is featured on the cover of both Guns N' Roses albums, Use Your Illusion I and Use Your Illusion II. The figure on both album covers is primarily black and white, but the colors used to trim the figure differ by album cover. The cover for Use Your Illusion I, which I used for my tattoo, is trimmed in red and yellow, while Use Your Illusion II is trimmed in blue and purple, which my best friend got tattooed on the same part of his arm. The tattoo, including the figure from the album cover, as well as the music band were done by the Baron at Bohica & Esbam (B&E) Tattoo in Dothan, Alabama in March, 1999. The figure from the album cover, the centerpiece, still looks pretty good after eleven years, but the sheet music has blurred a bit with time, and the growth of my arms since the age of eighteen, being that I am now thirty. For many years it was my favorite tattoo out of many on my body, and I still like it a lot. If I remember correctly, I believe the tattoo took about an hour and a half to two hours to complete.
There was one slight problem with the tattoo. The bottom cuff on the figure's sleeve did not get picked up by the copy machine when Baron was making the stencil. This went unnoticed by Baron as well as myself. So where a sleeve cuff was supposed to be in white, it was filled in with black. You would think this was irrepairable, but Baron had a new white ink that he had had prior success in covering black. Baron went over it with that white, and the cuff still shows to this day, although not quite as bright, but it just looks like it's in shadow, but it is very visable. It was placed directly below my first tattoo of a cross with a rose and vine wrapped around it with beams of light coming from behind, which was done by R.C. at R.C.'s Tattoo Shop when he was located in Marianna, Florida in 1998. While this was not my first tattoo, this was the first tattoo of several I received from Baron at Bohica & Esbam Tattoo in Dothan, Alabama.
The tattoo has since been surrounded by smoke which I had done at a tattoo shop right outside of the United States naval station in Sicily, by an artist who's name I cannot remember back in 2003, and a small Florida State Seminoles football team logo was added next to it on my upper arm by Baron at Bohica & Esbam Tattoo in Dothan, Alabama, although I don't recall what year, but it remains the center of my right upper arm. This was my fifth tattoo, and sixth time in the chair out of a total of over forty. It was my first tattoo by Baron, who has remained a friend for many years. As stated before, the lines the sheet music arm band have since blurred to some extent due to time (eleven years) and growth, as have some of the musical notes, however the color is still quite bold and bright. The centerpiece doesn't seem to have aged as much as the arm band. The arm band hasn't blurred to an unacceptable, or abnormal amount, and it is still clear and obvious as to what it is. I am sure someone could actually even play the first few bars of "November Rain" on piano by looking at it
The experience was very good. The shop, which was located at it's original location in Dothan at the time, was clean and comfortable. Baron was very friendly and we had a good conversation. The tattoo was one of the least painful tattoos I've had. The experience was good, and I've had Baron work on me numerous times since then. B & E Tattoo Company (Bohica and Esbam) have a website that can be found at http://bandetattoo.com/, and they have a myspace page at www.myspace.com/bandetattooco.
submitted by: Sgt_Harry
on: 27 Aug. 2010
in Music Tattoos
Studio: Bohica & Esbam Tattoo
Location: Dothan, Alabama