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Memories and celebrations

When I first emigrated to the UK I came here with the intention to train to be a nurse. I managed just over 2 years of training before being asked to leave...but that's another story. During my first year of training I had my first tattoo done which was a little butterfly on my shoulder (I know, zero points for originality but I was ever so proud of it). For the next few years I bummed around not really knowing what I wanted to do with my life but was happy just trying out as much as possible. During this period I continued to get further tattoos done and also dabbled in piercings. Most of these were done with little preparation or imagination but they were all done at pertinent times in my life and so hold special memories for me.

A friend of mine once commented that my piercings and tattoos were little more than a form of self mutilation/harming. As he himself self harmed when he was a teenager he explained this by saying that when I had these "enhancements" done I was usually bored and frustrated with my life and by having these done I provided myself with the relief and diversion from this frustration. I really don't know if this is true as I've never actually consciously tried to harm myself, I viewed all the tattoos and piercings which I had done as enhancements to my appearance and a visual reminder of a time and/or event in my life.

Since I was a small child I've always been fascinated by other peoples tattoos. They made the person appear different and more interesting than those others whom I saw day in day out. There was always a negative attitude towards those with tattoos from everyone else who saw them but I always believed that they who had them had a visible reminder of a time and place in their past which they carried with them for the rest of their life. I admit that that's not always a good thing, as far as I was concerned they served to remind us of a time in our past which we saw fit to get a tattoo done to celebrate or commiserate the occasion.

So back to my story. When I decided to return to university, to complete my nurse training, many years had gone by and also many further tattoos and piercings added. This time around I managed to finish the training and decided that this required a special celebration as I had finally completed what I had come over to this country to do. So I spent some time designing a tattoo to celebrate this special moment.

The idea I had decided on was to bring together the first tattoo I had done when I first attempted nurse training and the last tattoo I had done prior to my successful nurse training. The first tattoo, as mentioned earlier, was a butterfly and the last tattoo was a small tribal piece at the bottom of my back (like I said not much imagination had gone into many of these pieces). I explored the idea of having a tribal butterfly emerging from the piece at the bottom and slowly morphing into a more realistic butterfly to join the one at the top. But that seemed overly complicated. So I toyed with a few other ideas. I approached the chap at Las Vegas tattoo in Hackney with my ideas and asked him for suggestions. I described how I wanted to blend together the images of butterflies and tribal work. It wasn't an easy job as there was a little bit of a communication barrier. His first language was Spanish and my English had a strong Irish accent to it. But we managed to get along okay .

He did a fantastic outline of the tattoo on my back - partially freehand and partially using stencils. The design was of different butterflies in various stages of movement going up my back with a tribal like design coming from them looking like the wind generated by their wings. I loved it and couldn't wait until it was finished. I realised that this was going to take some time but it was worth it.

Unfortunately he was not the most reliable of chaps and for most of the appointments which had been booked he didn't turn up, he had forgotten and had double booked or just couldn't be bothered on one occasion. I grew tired of this and decided to take the risk of seeking the advise and skills of another artist. I approached one of the girls who worked at Mo Coppoletta's Family Business in Exmouth Market who agreed to finish off the tattoo. We agreed on a time and date for my first session. Two sessions later and I had my tattoo finished. She also made some suggestions to the design which I have to say only served to enhance it further. The tattoo, despite the messing about, is the best one I have and makes me smile each and every time I see it.


submitted by: Anonymous
on: 31 July 2008
in Tattoos

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Studio: Las+Vegas+Tattoo
Location: Hackney%2C+London

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