New tattoos. Wear your heart on your skin in this life. – Sylvia Plath

I originally visited Granville Street Tattoos last year for my Frida tattoo by English Dan.  I was so happy to be back as I treated myself last week to a very healing session with Dusty.  He created a gorgeous and happy sugarskull for me. I am so honored to have Dusty create the image and do the three-hour process. I just love the result.  

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I find the pain from receiving a tattoo very healing as it draws out the clogs in my achy heart and allows me to meditate.

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Perfect image and timing as I embark on a new journey with by post street and we head to San Francisco to do some events, including wheatpasting Frida Kahlo.

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Detail of large Frida angel in progress- headed to the Streets of San Francisco.

My daughter, Anna, received her dream tattoo from Matt- the world.

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Wear your heart on your skin in this life.
― Sylvia Plath

First human victim other than myself. #Tattoo.

You may recall that I purchased a tattoo machine awhile back.

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And I SLOWLY got to know it

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And that I took the process seriously

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And I hardly dared plug it in

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And I tested it out

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And I doodled all over myself with surgical marker

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And finally did one on my left thigh:

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And got my second professional tattoo by English Dan to learn by watching:

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Photo by Nancy Kirkpatrick

Then did another one on myself, this time the right thigh:

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And yesterday, finally on someone else.  Thank you Carolyn for being so brave!  She wanted it big, so I drew it on freehand and made it SIZE LARGE.  It’s crude and amateur, but I loved doing it and so honored that Carolyn insisted!

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Photo by Nancy Kirkpatrick
Photo by Nancy Kirkpatrick
Photo by Nancy Kirkpatrick

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English Dan PART 2: The Frida Tattoo, Granville Street #Tattoos, #Vancouver

Recall part 1: meeting English Dan

I was so honored to have English Dan interpret my drawing of Baby Frida in a tattoo.  GLORIOUS!

Again, I’ll let the photos speak for themselves:

Photo by Granville Street Tattoos

The inspiration:

Mi Nana y Yo, 1937

I am in my nurse’s arms, with the face of a grownup woman and the body of a little girl, while milk falls from her nipples as if from the heavens.”

My sketch:

English Dan’s process:

Bliss!

In honor of my nephew, Henrik, English Dan added an H to my sock monkey tattoo:

And thank you, Maryellen, for being part of today!!!

Happiness:

 

Photo by Nancy Kirkpatrick

 

English Dan: tattoo artist, Granville Street #Tattoos, #Vancouver

Huge thank you to English Dan for graciously allowing me to witness the process of inking Jay Fisher.

I’ll let the photos speak for themselves:

Photo by Granville Street Tattoos

Photo from @englishdantattoos on instagram

Looking forward to Dan’s interpretation of my sketch for my Frida Kahlo tattoo next Saturday!  I give him free reign!

Mi Nana y Yo, 1937

I am in my nurse’s arms, with the face of a grownup woman and the body of a little girl, while milk falls from her nipples as if from the heavens.”

My sketch that I’ve been carrying around a few years now:

In honor of English Dan:

#Tattooing journey- step 4: Testing on skin! On myself! #outline

Recall my posts:

Watercolor tattoos 1

Watercolor tattoos 2

The purchase of a tattoo machine

Getting to know the machine

Tattooing- taking it seriously

Tattooing Step 1: plug it in

Tattooing Step 2: testing it out

Tattooing Step 3: testing skin markers

Initial outline. Shitty, shaky, not deep enough but fun!  Will fill it in once this stage has healed. Fitting that the first tattoo I did on myself, is a freehand sketch of Lynda Barry.

Checking in one hour later:

Checking in 12 hours later:

It has the pencil sketch look I wanted. Let’s see how it heals!

Note:

I am not interested in doing old school tattooing and classical tattooing.  I will leave that to the extraordinary tattoo artists out there!  It takes years of dedication and apprenticeship.

I am really into tattooing my own style though and preferably free hand.

So if you’re in the line to get a tattoo from me, please expect it to be in “my style!”  And I won’t be doing any on you until I have four COMPLETED, well-executed and well-healed tattoos on myself!


#Tattooing journey- step 3: Testing a skin marker!

Recall my posts:

Watercolor tattoos 1

Watercolor tattoos 2

The purchase of a tattoo machine

Getting to know the machine

Tattooing- taking it seriously

Tattooing Step 1: plug it in

Tattooing Step 2: testing it out

I am not interested in doing old school tattooing and classical tattooing.  I will leave that to the extraordinary tattoo artists out there!  It takes years of dedication and apprenticeship.

I am really into tattooing my own style though and preferably free hand.

So if you’re in the line to get a tattoo from me, please expect it to be in “my style!”

I ordered delicious SKIN MARKERS the other day from:

The Mini XL skin marking ink lasts 10 times longer than traditional skin markers even after pre-operative scrubbing with common alcohol-based antiseptics such as ChloraPrep® or DuraPrep™.  The Mini XL, successful in millions of clinical trials, features patent-pending ink that remains visible after prepping patients, allowing clinicians to better see the surgical site as recommended by the Joint Commission Protocol for Correct Site Marking. Additionally, it will virtually eliminate the need for remarking of the patient once they’re in the operating room for plastic surgery procedures. [source]

They are so fun and I tested them out last night to see how they work on skin.  It’s a great way to do a free hand tattoo right on the skin.  The markings bleed but- me being me- I kind of love it.  I also like that the marks are really resistant, so you can relax knowing you won’t wipe away your guidelines.
Scrubbed with soap and water after 30 minutes and I'm impressed that it lasts as well as it does!
15 hours later after shower and a day at work.

Tattooing- step 2: testing it out!

Recall my posts: the purchase of a tattoo machinegetting to know the machinetattooing- taking it seriously, and Tattooing Step 1: plug it in.

Since I got my machine, my schedule has not allowed me the time to play with my machine.  Too many other things on the go.  But I now have a wonderful student, Simon, who is teaching ME the ropes during our art therapy!

He is a great teacher, and he also gave great advice on how to let go of perfectionism.  He helped me get over the fear.

Also, having the space to experiment is key, so bringing the machine to my art therapy room was a good step.

Simon

Portrait of Lynda Barry on banana

Simon's dog, Peanut.

Simon recommends:

 

Tattooing- step 1: plug it in and embrace beginner-hood.

Recall the purchase of a tattoo machinegetting to know the machine and tattooing- taking it seriously.

My schedule has been so full of late that I haven’t had a chance to start up my machine until today.  I am a beginner of the most beginner kind but we all have to start somewhere!

I have dedicated one machine to simply testing and fooling around.  The practice skin felt unwelcoming.  I am fantasizing about getting a pig and slapping it onto my table.

  

Tattooing- taking it seriously. #sanitation #disposables #bloodbornediseases

Recall the purchase of a tattoo machine and getting to know the machine.

Now it’s about getting my chops back up on sanitation etc.

It’s all about learning about autoclaves and disposable parts etc.

It is possible to do a 100% disposable tattoo.  You can use single use needles and bars.  Throw away the grommet that is attached to the bar.  Use single use pigments or “shots”… The tubes and the tips… are also available in plastic disposable flavors.  The caps that the ink goes in on the work station are also disposable. – Basic Fundamentals of Modern Tattoo

Once I’ve successfully done 4 tattoos on myself- that have healed well and up to standard, I’ll move on to my lineup of people waiting for a tattoo!

Recalling my sock monkey tattoo.  Digging through my files, I found the original sketch I made:

The Giving Tree- is that me? Time for #selfcare

PRACTICE REFUELING, COCOONING, CELEBRATING YOURSELF, EXQUISITE SELF-CARE.

A few years ago, my therapist was helping me through a particularly rough patch as I was being pulled in a million directions in my role as caregiver.  She gave me The Giving Tree to read and asked, “Which character are you?”    It was obvious to me that I was the tree, and I still am.  She considered the book brutally sad and a warning.  I agree.  Today, in this moment, after many months of anxiety and struggle and changes and learning new ways, I feel like there is not much energy left.  Even my Dad called me to say I’m doing too much.

“I am sorry,” sighed the tree.  “I wish I could give you something… but I have nothing left.  I am just an old stump.  I am sorry…”

I need to refuel and cocoon.  To celebrate all the amazing things I have accomplished but learn what I can do less of.  What I can nurture and do more of.  To rest for the next projects.  I am so excited about the next adventures ahead, but if I don’t pay attention to the body signals like chest pains, and headaches and exhaustion, I won’t be the most present, vibrant me I can be!  I don’t want to be a dead tree stump.  It is Spring, and I want to reach my branches to the sky and grow, while providing shade and love and beauty!  So sorry, main character kid, this weekend build your own damn house out of recycled wood, please!  I’m busy growing more apples.

Cool tattoos though!

SKin is IN!

I had a great time last night at Gallery Gachet!  Here are some samplings of my watercolor tattooing and other highlights from the night!

Artist’s Statement:

So how does a body art event tie into mental health? I would like to think that being comfortable in one’s Skin is a mental health concern and the only difference is how we are able to talk about it. It shouldn’t matter whether you feel have a perfect body or not. Perfection is not reality, and cannot be defined. As Artists offering live painting at SKin is IN, we hope that as everyone gets painted are able to make a statement about the beauty of the human body and can find a way live with their own as it is. However, it does not relieve us from doing the best to take care of ourselves, but it does give us permission to accept where we are. At the event, for those that choose, statements will be recorded into a journal and posted as part of the celebration of the human skin.

There are many people everyday who have mental disorders, (anorexia, bulemia, body dismorphic disorder) which are primarily focused on the internal and public view of the body. Some people live affected in the emotions relating to achieving perfection and some who cannot cope, end up losing their battles to their own demons.

We all have the responsibility to love our bodies as they are and the compassion to value those bodies around us. We are all built the same, we all have skin and we all have potential to thrive individually and collectively in our layers of skin.

Skin is IN, yet, the fabric that we are truly made of is what matters and counts the most. Celebrate yourself with us.

Monika Blichar and J Peachy

monikablichar.com
jpeachygallery.com

Jocelyn Louise allowed me free reign!
Jay Fisher bravely let me go overboard!

Thank Maryellen and Miko for this beautiful piece!