I had a recommendation in a comment on a previous post to make a post about my tattoos and what each of them mean, which was a fantastic idea because I don’t think I’ve ever actually sat and explained my entire collection to anyone before. Sure, I’ve talked about certain ones here and there, but never all in one sitting. So here it is!
Before I start in on showing each of my tattoos, it’s worth explaining that when I moved to Los Angeles, I only had 1 tattoo (which is an awful one that you will see below). Moving to this city essentially opened a tattoo flood gate for me and I’ve been getting them every few months or so ever since.
The Dumb One That Started It All
I’m not proud to say this…I have a tramp stamp. Here’s the thing, I knew from an early age that I wanted to get tattoos, most likely because the only 2 people that I knew that had any were my cool older cousin who lost his virginity to a stripper and the hot girl who was my childhood next door neighbor’s cousin. It felt to me like people with tattoos were members of some cool people club that I absolutely had to be a part of. So on my 18th birthday, when I finally could legally join the club, I convinced my mom to go with me to a tattoo shop to get my very first tattoo. When we got to the shop, I had no idea what I wanted and spent about an hour just looking at the flash art hanging on the wall. When I spotted a design for a celtic knot on the wall, I thought “Perfect! My dad plays in an Irish rock band!” The next 2 hours were spent with my face pressed against a wall in a tiny room while a giant man named Dano worked slowly and took 2 lunch breaks in the course of working on my tattoo. Moral of the story kids…make sure your very first tattoo is in a spot that is easily hidden.
The Thigh Skull
My first tattoo living in Los Angeles was one that I wanted to get a bit bigger and more complex with than my first, but still wasn’t sure if I wanted to have visible tattoos…so bring on the thigh tattoo! I got a sugar skull, which if you’re not familiar with, they are a traditional Mexican item/symbol that represents the departed. Being that I grew up in New Mexico, I got it as a representation of the end of my youth in New Mexico as I was becoming an adult in Los Angeles.
The Wrist Bee
I’m a huge fan of the artist Mark Ryden. In one of his paintings, there is a small bee in a television screen. This is not the exact bee in that painting, but it’s very similar and the lines are very lightly done. It’s my little tribute to an artist that I’ve been a fan of for almost a decade.
Two Part Left Wrist
LA Tattoo – It’s pretty much required that if you live in Los Angeles, you have to have an LA tattoo. I received mine after a night out on the Sunset Strip with a few friends. The bar happened to be across the street from a tattoo shop, so one thing basically lead to another and we ended the night there.
Half Heart – I’m extremely fortunate in that I have met some incredible people and have a large group of very close friends. On the birthday of one of these close friends, 7 of us decided to get best friend half-heart tattoos together.
For the past 9 years I have worked as a producer in the reality TV industry. After realizing that I think that I’m going to be doing this for a while, I decided that I needed a tattoo to represent my profession. I went with a beat up, old TV because I found it more visually interesting than a simple new TV would look. Plus it kind of reminded me of the TV on Beavis and Butt-Head, which is one of my all time favorite TV shows.
This tattoo came about because of a conversation with friends over dinner. The majority of my friends are not from Los Angeles, we all sort of just ended up here for a variety of reasons. During this dinner (which was at a restaurant in Hollywood), we were discussing how none of us would have ever imagined that we would end up living in this city doing what we do and how appreciative we are that we get to have this experience. That conversation inspired us to all walk down the street and get Hollywood tattoos.
Two Part Right Forearm
Roman Numeral 29 – Before you say anything, I know…these numbers are not in the correct format. Here’s the thing, for my 29th birthday a few years ago, I was out celebrating with a group of friends and doing a bit of bar hopping (our typical way of celebrating each of our birthdays). I have to admit that I was a bit sad that this was going to be the last birthday of my 20’s and there was no part of me that was ready to end that decade of my life. One of my best friends decided that we needed to do something to mark the end of my “irresponsible 20’s” era, so bring on the spontaneous tattoos. My friend was a gentleman and told me that I could go first getting the tattoo at the shop, and claimed that he was 100% sure that this was the correct way to write 29 in roman numerals (we had already had several drinks by this point, so I really should have known better than to trust anything he said). In hindsight, it kind of is the perfect way to end the irresponsible 20’s.
Compass – A couple years after getting the 29 tattoo, that same friend that I got that tattoo with was going through a very difficult time. He had been dating a girl who ended up getting pregnant. She moved into his house and they ended up having an amazing baby boy (who is now my godson). After a year together essentially as a married couple with a son who was my friend’s whole world, he came home after work one day to discover that his girlfriend had packed up all of her and the baby’s belongings and she informed him that she no longer loved him and that she and the baby were moving to a state across the country. Obviously, this destroyed my friend and put him in an extraordinarily dark place. One night, while myself, he, and another one of our good friends were together and talking through what had happened, we decided to go get matching compass tattoos. It is our symbol to each other that no matter what happens in any of our lives, we will always be there to help each other navigate through all of the hard times that any of us may face.
The Mute Symbol (apologies for the wet hair look, photo was taken right after getting out of the shower)
When I was 5 years old and in kindergarten, the school I attended had the standard hearing and vision tests that many schools across the U.S. typically do every few years. This was my first time taking a hearing test of any sort and well…I failed. It was discovered that I am 100% deaf in my left ear. This came as a shock to everyone around me, as my behavior never indicated that I had any issues hearing and I never realized that something was wrong because it was just sort of all that I had ever known. We never discovered the cause of the deafness or when it occurred (whether it was from birth or had developed sometime when I was very young). Growing up, I was very self-conscious of my difficulties hearing, which became more of an issue as I progressed through school and classroom sizes got bigger and it became more and more difficult for me to hear my teachers. I grew to hate being deaf in one year. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I learned to love this little quirk of mine and realize that my “flaw” was just something special that made me a little different than most other people. Due to this new appreciation for it, I decided that my “little defect” deserved a bit of love, so I labeled it.
Keep It Classy and Broken Arrow
Keep It Classy – There’s not really an interesting story to this one. A friend of mine had recently moved here and wanted to get a new tattoo and asked for my recommendation on what shop to go to. I recommended her to my friend’s shop and I ended up going with her to her appointment. My tattooer friend that worked there said that I clearly had to get tattooed as well, since I was there hanging out and he asked what I would want to get. I told him to give me a skull wearing a top hat and this was what I ended up leaving with that night.
Broken Arrow – Also not an interesting story. While I was at that same friend’s shop with a group of friends just hanging out, one of our non-tattooed friends drew a small broken arrow on some transfer paper and said that she always wanted to get it as a tattoo, but she never has had the guts to do it and was afraid of the commitment. So one of my other tattooed friends and I took the sketch and got it ourselves. I’m sure that it probably irritated our non-tattooed friend, but just as a heads up to anyone who doesn’t have tattoos…don’t tell people with tattoos things like that. It’s kind of annoying and we’ll just take your tattoo idea.
What can I say…it was April Fool’s Day and again we were hanging out at the tattoo shop. We found it pretty funny at the time and it’s still pretty damn funny. It was done about 3 years ago and is still completely intact, which is surprising since anyone who has had a lip tattoo knows, they tend to fade pretty quickly.
This was another friendship tattoo for a friend who was going through a difficult time. A good friend of mine walked in on his girlfriend having “relations” with another man. Obviously, this was awful and caused him to spiral downwards because she was the first person that he ever truly fell in love with. During this time, a few of us were hanging out and talking once again and we got these tattoos to symbolize that our friendship is timeless and we will always be there for each other. Below is a photo of the 4 of us post getting this tattoo (the weird layout of the photo is thanks to the strange guy who tattooed us who told us how to stand).
Two Part Ankle
New Mexico Outline – Occasionally I have to travel a bit for work and go on location for shoots. For one show that I was working on, three of us (myself, a good friend of mine who also lives in LA, and a director sent over from London) traveled to Detroit and two cities in Georgia over the course of 7 weeks for a GRUELING TV show that required working 7 days a week. During that 7 weeks of work, we had only 2 days off, which hit while we were in Atlanta and we decided to live it up during those 2 days. On the first night, we had an expensive dinner and then hit the town for drinks. That night we were talking about where we each grew up and why we loved our home towns (the guy with us from London grew up in a commune, so it was a VERY interesting conversation). My friend from here in LA and I decided that we wanted to get tattoo outlines of our home states. So while the Londoner was partying in a club, she and I hit a tattoo shop and she got an outline of Virginia (where she grew up) and I got a tattoo of New Mexico.
C’est la Vie and heart – Back here in Los Angeles, I was yet again hanging out in my friend’s tattoo shop and I told him that I wanted to tattoo myself. So I was handed a tattoo gun and this was the result. Not the prettiest work, but at least it’s a funny story. My girlfriend at the time said that she wanted to tattoo me as well and believe me, I was extremely reluctant. Initially she wanted to tattoo her initials on me, which I firmly shot down, but I compromised with telling her that she could do a very small heart.
The Only One I’m Not Really a Fan Of
This is probably the only tattoo that I want to eventually get covered up. I had another friend buy a tattoo shop and my ex and I were hanging out there one afternoon celebrating his new venture as an owner. When he bought the shop, it had already previously been a tattoo shop and the walls had been covered with decades worth of flash art. I pointed one panel out that I just said that I thought was cool (it featured drawings of heavy metal women). That friend had said that he had just gotten a new tattoo gun that he wanted to test out and he would tattoo one of the images from that panel on me if I wanted, which I agreed to for some reason. It ended up being not that bad of a tattoo, but it just is kind of weird and because he wasn’t used to the gun, a lot of the ink has fallen out and faded. I think this will have to get covered once I get around to it.
The Family Motto
This is probably the favorite of my tattoos. There is a Scottish poem that has sort of been the family motto for my mother’s side of the family for the past few generations. Every living member of my mom’s side of the family has a print out of this poem hanging on a wall somewhere in their home. The phrase “Buckle your Armour” has been told to each of us at least 1000 times in each of our lives. It’s been read at funerals dating all the way back to my great great grandfather and is even on my grandfather’s headstone. It is incredibly important part of my life, so I had to add it onto my skin. My grandmother actually cried when she saw this tattoo, telling me how much it meant to her to see it on me.
When trials are greatest and all goes wrong,
Just buckle your armour and trudge along.
The way that’s weary, dark, and cold
May lead to shelter within the fold.
These trials were meant to make you strong,
So buckle your armour and trudge along.”
– Author Unknown
So that’s the collection! I’m sure it will continue to grow, they just seem to keep happening.