I recently went to get more (tattoo) work done at Invisible, in New York City's Lower Eastside. I've been humming and hawing about getting another sleeve done; it's been about 6 or 7 years, I think, since I got my last one, but it's because I've been waiting for the just the right occasion. I currently have 2 pieces that form a full sleeve and chest panel on my left-side, not including the one that is now being worked on by Kiku. His drawings are sumptuous - an economy of line, that marry into bold and graphic shapes; his pictures are entirely beautiful, and so I knew immediately that I wanted for him to be the person to create my next sleeve. My friend Shawn Barber, who is an extraordinary painter, and passionate lover of tattoos, recommended that I take a look at his work -- and so I did.
Soon enough, I was already feeling the sharp drag of the needle beneath my skin. For anyone who has gotten work done before, it can be incredibly painful at some points, and during other times can feel less so, to where your body becomes used to the heat and grinding of the needle.
My tattoos carry with them, a story, and meaning; they represent moments in time, and changes that have occurred in my life which have been so profound that it inspires me to record these experiences as marks on my skin. I know that for someone like my mother, it makes very little sense why I would do such a thing - to ruin my body; however, it feels right, and proper for me, and has evolved perhaps into my own personal ritual that announces the various coming-of-ages in my life.