Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Matt's Golden Silence

I met Matt one afternoon as he stood among the masses at the southwest corner of Madison Square Garden, waiting for a bus out of town.

This is his tattoo which he shared with us, covering his upper right arm:

The message is simple: silence is golden. I love how the side skulls spill off of the front skull, and how the teeth of the primary jaw are fused together.

Matt attributes this piece to "deep life experiences" and how it serves as a reminder to keep his head on straight.

He told me he's "been low and wants to stay higher" and that "keeping what I've done to myself has given me the ability to achieve what I have in life".

This tattoo was inked by Loki M. LaChapelle when he was at Kaleidoscope Tattoo & Art Gallery in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Loki now works out of Mazel Custom Tattoo & Piercing in Everett, Massachusetts.

Thanks to Matt for sharing his tattoo with us here on Tattoosday!


The six tattooed characters are from an advertisement flyer for Sakura brand kitchen exhaust system, which means:


With purchase of Sukura system,


Free oil screen/trap

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Tattoo from a Francophile

Earlier this summer, I posted a couple of tattoos from Joe, seen here.

Needless to say, Joe became a fan, and updated me with a new tattoo, below:

Joe explains:

"The picture is fresh from the artist finishing it. It is "C077X" and is a nod to James Franco and General Hospital. He is my fav actor and I have been watching General Hospital for at least 21 years. It is the the tag that "Franco" sprayed on everything when he recently guest starred on GH as an artist/serial killer. His character's name is Franco, reflecting that art imitates life. A motto the actor and character believe, and so do I. That is why I got the tattoo. To prove art imitates life!"
Photo Credit: ABC via
The tattoo was inked by Rob at Brooklyn Ink. Rob originally appeared here as a contributor here. And is one of several artists that has represented Brooklyn Ink over the years on Tattoosday. This label links all of the work from the shop previously seen on Tattoosday.

Thanks to Joe for sharing his new tattoo with us here on Tattoosday!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Rachel's Bird Helped Her Let Go

The same night I met Brian, I met Rachel, who has eight tattoos.

She shared this one with me:

This piece on her left biceps is based on the work of artist Kurt Halsey. This little bird appears in multiple works by the artist, but Rachel imagined it for her own personal situation. She got it after a break-up a couple of years ago, and the tattoo gave her the strength to "let the bird go". In this case, the bird represents the ended relationship and the tattoo is a transitional piece that helped her recover from the difficulty of moving past it.

From Memphis, Tennessee, Rachel had this inked at Underground Art Tattoos and Body Piercing by Chris Fitzgerald. Chris had been a piercer at the shop and then moved into tattooing. He has since left tattooing and moved to photography. His new business is Cult Noir Photography, and his work can be seen here.

Thanks to Rachel for sharing her tattoo with us here on Tattoosday!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

from: Rob B.
to: ""
date: Sat, Sep 25, 2010 at 9:53 AM
subject: Help?

I've always wondered what my tat really says....

it supposed to be "wicked clown".

I don't even know what language it is.


Alan and I have figured out where the guy got "wicked clown."

alone can also mean "bad," "evil" or "wicked", and appears in the word 丑角 (the simplified variant of 醜角) which does mean "clown" or "joker."

But there is no way that 歹丑 means "wicked clown" so we still think the guy is an ass clown.
Alan spotted this photo in BME's Kanji tattoo gallery:

Despite the great calligraphy (calligraphy as in fancy artistic penmanship), there is a huge typo on this person's torso.

Bushido, the way of the warrior in Japanese is written as 武士道, not with in the middle. itself means samurai or warrior, but 武侍道 makes no sense in Japanese. Especially considering Bushido is a Japanese concept.

"Bullshitdo", the way of bullshit, would be more fitting.

Brian's Ink Speaks About Art

I met Brian in Barnes & Noble, Union Square, back in August and he shared two tattoos with us. Put your thinking caps on, folks, because Brian, who is a video artist (website here), has very cerebral ink.

First up is this tattoo, on Brian's left biceps:

This tattoo is based on an illustration entitled "Every Night We Are Haunted by a Dream" by the artist Alfred Kubin (1877-1959).

Jede Nacht besucht uns ein Traum (Every Night We are Haunted by a Dream), ca. 1902-03
Pen and ink, brush, wash, and spray on paper
39.1 x 31.8 cm (15 3/8 x 12 1/2 in.)
Albertina, Vienna
Brian explained that this work corresponded very closely to the publication of Sigmund Freud's The Interpretation of Dreams, and that Kubin's illustration represents "art between the cusp of pre-surrealism/expressionism and surrealism". It speaks to Brian's understanding of the perception of dreams and art.

Brian also had these words inscribed on his inner right forearm:

The words "Créer Dangereusement" are the French title of a 1957 essay by Albert Camus entitled "Create Dangerously". This "essay on realism and artistic creation" likewise spoke to Brian who acknowledged that "all art is a political act". It makes perfect sense, if you think about it, in that no great work of art was ever created by the artist playing it safe. It is those who created dangerously that are remembered as trailblazers and icons in their respective fields.

Brian had both of these tattoos done in Austin, Texas.

Thanks to Brian for sharing his artistic ink with us here on Tattoosday!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Danny's Koi Struggles Upstream

I met Danny in Penn Station early in August just as he was about to board a train.

Before he headed to his platform, however, he allowed me to take this photo of his tattoo-in-progress on his upper right arm:

He explained that the koi swimming upward on his bicep represented that he was still moving upstream, that is, he was "still overcoming struggles, trials and tribulations". He added that he would get another koi on his left arm, facing downstream, when he had completed his struggle in life.

Before we could talk further, however, he had to run for his train. Fortunately for me (and for you, dear Readers), he e-mailed me shortly thereafter with some more details:

"The leaves are Japanese maples...Everyone gets the traditional lotus flowers, etc. But I chose a leaf that represents no religion or significant meaning to it. I would have gone with the Korean national flower [Hibiscus syriacus] but that, too, had meaning behind it. Many flowers that are traditionally on bodies are either Buddhist or Catholic, etc. Coming from a Christian background, I chose one without any meaning. How can I live with a Buddhist lotus on my arm?

At the time I got the tattoo I was confused with life... Direction, purpose, goals, meaning.. I had obstacles and self goals I had to achieve and was in a standstill (not drug-related or any of that sort). I looked to the pain tattooing offers and how it puts your mind in a zoned-out state, which I now thrive for when I'm stressed. It's therapy to me. I'll update you when I find an artist to finish this tattoo. The windbars were left open to expand."

The tattoo was done by Lee at Infinity Tattoo in Manhattan.

Thanks again yo Danny for sharing his koi with us here at Tattoosday!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Steve's Sleeve of Leaves Ushers in the Fall Season

Earlier this month, I met Steve on the D train, as we headed home to Brooklyn.

He had a veritable panorama of fall foliage on his left arm and he happily shared his autumnal tattoos with us here at Tattoosday.

It only seemed fitting that, as summer has ended, we celebrate the new season with some fall colors.

Behold, Steve's sleeve o' leaves:

The eleven maple leaves on Steve's arm were all inked free hand by Mark Harada at Manhattan's East Side Ink over four sittings.

Steve acknowledges that the leaves changing colors represent a change, and these colorful symbols remind him that change is good.

Happy Autumn to all! And thanks to Steve for sharing his fallen maple leaves with us here on Tattoosday!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Sara's Psalm Speaks to the Desires of Her Heart

I met Sara on the 36th Street subway platform in Brooklyn last month during the late afternoon rush hour commute.

What can I say? I'm a sucker for words and this tattoo looked poetic:

Sara filled me in. She has three tattoos and this passage "spoke to her". She wanted something religious for her 30th birthday.

This is an excerpt (verse 4) from Psalm 37 in the Bible.

The verse reads "Delight thyself also in the Lord, and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart" [King James Version]. Sara changed the thee and thine to read me and my, respectively, making the verse more personal.

This was tattooed by Alex Franklin at Brooklyn Ink in Bay Ridge. Work from Brooklyn Ink (and much from Alex) can be seen on this Tattoosday label here.

Thanks to Sara for sharing her source of inspiration with us here on Tattoosday!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Khalil's Organic Biomechanical Arm

One thing regular readers may notice is that I tend to prefer singular tattoos, as opposed to larger "concept" pieces. This preference is what you see illustrated here on Tattoosday.

However, once in a while, I see work  that, although atypical of our content, is irresistible.

Just check out Khalil's sleeve, which I captured one day after work in Penn Station:

Representing thirty-two hours of work by Mike Boissoneault at Black Lotus Tattoo Studios, in North Kingstown, Rhode Island, Khalil explained that this vision represents a spin on a biomechanical design, "but more organic".

To him, in a world in which people are becoming less human, this tattoo reminds him to be human.

Here's a "fresher" shot from the Black Lotus website:

Tattoo by Mike Boissoneault © 2008 Black Lotus Tattoo Studios

Thanks again to Khalil for sharing this amazing work with us here on Tattoosday!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Christina's Owl and Lighthouse

I met Christina one day after work while walking outside of Madison Square Garden.

She had this incredible tattoo, which she gladly shared with us here on Tattoosday:

This tattoo that covers her upper left arm was actually done in two segments by artist Orrin Hurley, who currently tattoos at Dare Devil Tattoo in Manhattan.

As for the source material behind this beautiful tattoo, Christina chose a piece of art by Frances Olive Esme Eve:

A closer look at the tattooed owl shows how it was changed, but you can still see that there is still a lot from the original design:

The lighthouse was inspired by the Portland Head Light on Cape Elizabeth, Maine.

Thanks to Christina for sharing her tattoo with us here on Tattoosday.

Stacy's Amigo Tugs Her Back to Milwaukee

At the end of July, I ran into Stacy waiting for the F train at West 4th Street in Manhattan.

She had a panther peeking out from under her shirt on her back, but we couldn't get the whole tattoo in a shot, so she offered up this piece on her right arm:

Stacy is a poet and the Artistic Director of The Poetry Project at St. Mark's Church in New York City. She has been here five years and originally hails from Milwaukee.

Living next to Lake Michigan has many benefits. Having always lived in a location near a large body of water, I can relate to her admiration for the beauty of a seascape, whether it be an ocean or a great lake.

Stacy told me she enjoyed watching the tugboats in her home town, and that these small vessels are a "connective image" that draws her back to her original home.

This tattoo was designed and inked by Stephanie Tamez at New York Adorned. Work from Stephanie on Tattoosday can be viewed here.

This is also the second tugboat of the summer. The first one is here.

Thanks to Stacy for sharing her tugboat with us here at Tattoosday. Perhaps we'll see her panther when the Tattooed Poets Project returns next April for its third year!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

from: d.h.
date: Sun, Sep 12, 2010 at 8:38 AM
subject: Here's one

This is supposed to mean passion. I don't think it does. In fact, i couldn't locate this configuration of radicals at all. What are your thoughts?


It means "hot, middle", which does not mean "passion".

This tattoo also reminded me the terrible hip-hop song by Nelly, Hot in Here.
from: Pb.
date: Fri, Sep 17, 2010 at 8:42 AM
subject: My tattoo..

Hey hi Tian.. stumbled over ur blog so thought i should hav my tattoo meaning verified.. I asked the artist to put the my birth date that is 24..
I would appreciate ur feedback..



The bottom character does not exist in Chinese or Japanese vocabulary.

is used as four (banker's anti-fraud numeral)

Thursday, September 9, 2010

from: jeffrey f.
date: Thu, Sep 9, 2010 at 12:16 PM

Can you tell me what these letters are? Supposedly they are the chinese letters m.a.w, intials not a word but I don't believe that's what they are. Thank you very much for your help.


Jeffrey is another sucker of this fake Alphabet-to-Chinese font.