Bjoern, southern California
I was out surfing with some friends when they began shouting and waving at me. I didn’t know why – maybe they wanted to go in? Come closer? Then I looked down and saw a great white shark directly beneath my board. From my earliest memories, I’ve had an affinity for sharks. I was fascinated by them and read about them and studied them. This tattoo is a message from me to sharks, that I am their friend and I mean them no harm.
Antonio and Crystel. Kids are forever. However, Antonio is changing his name to Juan José Antonio sol Di Grazia. Now what?
Tamara and Esayas, Austin, TX
We chose tattoos instead of wedding rings because we believe that love can’t be bought or sold or taken on or off and is not best represented by a material object. We thought that altering our bodies permanently was a better expression of our permanent union that supersedes the material. We also didn’t want to support the gold and diamond industries which have done so much harm to Africa. Our tattoos are each other’s initials in Amharic, the main language of Ethiopia, where we met.
I have the first drawings my kids ever did of people tattooed on my arm. You know, that first drawing they do over and over and OVER again?! The people with heads, arms and legs, but no bodies? The top one is my 15 year old son’s mohawk guy, the middle one is my 13 year old daughter’s (fondly referred to in our family as) ice cream sandwich guy, and the bottom one is my 8 year old daughter’s belly button guy. I am waiting eagerly for the moment when my 4 year old son begins to draw people! Also, I should give credit where credit is due. These tattoos were my husband’s idea. He has them on his leg too!
Bonnie, northern New York
My parents were both killed in a car crash three years ago. One of my happiest days was when I had my parents’ signatures on a letter to me tattooed on my wrist. I look at it daily and find solace in having something so personal from them. I cherish my tattoo.
In college I took a class, taught by a wonderful teacher, in which Paradise Lost was the sole text. This tattoo is the next to last twenty-three lines of Book Two. We barely touched on them in class, but their imagery transfixes me. In this passage Satan has just given a speech to his fallen angels. His plan is to escape the shackles of hell, fly to God’s kingdom and corrupt mankind. But as he roars up out of the darkness into the bleak emptiness of space, he beholds the world, suspended from heaven by a golden chain. And Satan, even Satan, has to stop, if only for a moment, because the sight of it –this pendant world—is so beautiful.
Min, New Hampshire
I’m adopted from China. These characters translate as “I love you. Night-night.” I got this tattoo because my mom has said this to me in Chinese almost every night of my life and I plan on saying it to my kids (if I ever have any). 🙂