Since I can remember I have wanted a Tattoo. Problem with these things is they are permanent! And as you all know with my avatar I don’t like things for longer than a month at a time if that. I love change, i love colors, I love to redesign. So I waited, I thought, and over the years ideas cam and went. I could never think of something that wasjust rightuntil a few weeks ago.
I knew it was time to get the tattoo if I was going to. I turned 30, I was tired of worrying about it so much, and I really really wanted it. I worked with my sister on designs, my best friend in California on designs, and ultimately I realized that if the design was not come up by me, I would not be happy. At least for my first tattoo and the placement. I wanted to remember me, a moment in my life, and not others when I looked at it. May sound selfish but I think it is smart. To me a tattoo should have meaning, it should read right to others, but little enough where they have to ask you what it means, and when they do you better have the story!
So after a few months of mulling over the designs, I had a breakthrough.
If I were to summate my personality and life in a line, it would be simple, “I am the fool from a Shakespearean play. I say what I want but in the right way. I hold nothing back, my tongue leads me. I see more than you think, I jest at your faults but you do not get riled, I am but a fool in a world closed in by walls. I walk outside and enjoy the sounds of nature, the peasants, and return for the king alike. I sit with the animals and am afraid of bees, but I myself am just a fool who ‘knows nothing.’"
This is a quote from numerous writings I have done along the way. My artistic release. Writing. So I had a starting point.
I began with the idea of:
“I am but the fool”
I took that idea and contacted my old Shakepearean professor who is a scholar on the topic. We spoke in legnth about what being the Fool meant for the time period and in my life. He searched many books and his vast knowledge and came back to me with the following:
From King Lear, A show I played the Fool in during my college years:
- not altogether fool
- go the fools among
- so the fool follows after
- the fool will stay
Merchant of Venice
- Let me play the fool
I immediately latched onto “Let me play the fool” because it has a closer meaning to what I wanted, although I couldn’t get past the “let me play” part since I feel as though I play it every day. On top of that it is meant to be obnoxious in context. He uses it to stir up trouble in the play.
So I went back to my idea of I am but the Fool. Problem was… I just didn’t like saying I.
I looked over the email after a week and saw “Go the Fools among” and realized… holy shit this is almost the perfect like. It is distant enough to be applied in and out of context, but it also shows how I, a Fool, go among the world.
I quickly sent off my professor an email asking if it held up in and out of context of what was being said to Lear and out of context and in context it means exactly what I wanted it to. I then realized it was too short for the placement I wanted. I saw Russell Brand with a tattoo like this:
I fell in love with it. I also have this deep desire to one day morph my body into a lanky rock star look haha. That being said, I now had a place, an idea, and needed to find an artist.
The first artist I found told me to pick fonts. So I went to DaFont and ended up with MANY iterations. My best friend Aleece helped me to pick a couple ideas and kern them to have proper spacing. Now I had to look at them and decide.
I decided I liked the bottom left and the cloister font for the text. I went to the artist and talked to him to see what he would come up with. He didn’t really have much input and grasp on Typography that I was hoping for, so I decided to head out to Brooklyn to meet another artist who had done this:
It was beautiful. Her placement and cleanliness of lettering was exactly what I wanted. So before I went to see her I decided to try my hand at a few more ideas:
At this point to enlongate it to fit the place on my arm properly I added the prior word taken out “And”. I hit up Steve my professor again and asked what AND would do to the meaning. It actually turns it more into the meaning I wanted, rather than a command, it was an idea.
With the just-plain command, “go the fools among” (if I was reading it running from your wrist to your elbow, or something like that) it does sound like a kind of demand. “Stop what you’re doing, dudes, and get out there with all the simple, innocent people.” (or the sheep, or the little children, a.k.a. fools)
When you hit ‘em with “And go the fools among” it slides into “You all go on doing what you’re doing, AND take it to the peeps, show THEM who you are, what you do.” It’s both an encouragement to do good things, and a holding the reader up for the observation and judgment of the people, the everyday, the fools (not the slicksters).
The Fool in LEAR has this multiple sense of (1) how painful it is for the King to be reduced down to someone trafficking with the sheep and common folk (2) how happy it is for the nasty daughters to see the King so fallen, but also (3) it’s kind of about time he saw how the world really works if you pull down your own pants and leave your privates swinging out there in the air and (4) maybe among fools (like me, f’’rinstance) you’ll learn something about wisdom.
I was raring to go now..
I then narrowed it to these:
And from there had my friend Aleece kern these:
It is a mixture of Old English font and a modern take on it. I wanted it to be timeless but not too old. I found I liked the lettering on the bottom to be stronger than the embellishments on the top A and F.
I brought it into the artist and she immediately sat down with me and addressed all my issues, longevity, size, bleeding(of ink), and the like. We came up with a good size and she edited the F so it could not be mistaken for a T.
“And go to Tools among” has a different ring to it.
I ultimately had them capitalize the F as well because that is an important area.
She said to me, well, let’s make a fake ink of it and get placement, but I have an opening today, would you like to get it done?
I was not intending to do it that day, I thought there would be a long month wait as with all their artists, but there was a cancellation for RIGHT THEN.
I said, YES. As I said it I could hardly believe the words coming out of my mouth. I called my sister who lives in Brooklyn and said, YO… uhmmm do you live close to *cross streets* and she said yes, and I said, “well I am getting a tattoo, right now, can you come?” She immediately said yes and I will forever be grateful.
I was scared shit. I didn’t know if I would be able to handle it. We checked placements and I decided to go with a slightly different location, turns out I am not Russell Brand
Well turns out.. it hurts, but not that badly. The feeling is absolutely impossible to describe. But 30 minutes later.. Vuala, a permanent piece of me on me.
These videos and pictures should sum it up nicely:
After all was said and done my sister and I explored her neighborhood and she showed me where she works. We then grabbed some sushi.(which might sound like nothing to some, but I love sushi however I get sick from it often, be it true or in my head), I said fuck it, today was the day to do what I wanted. I threw caution to the wind and got some delicious sushi and loved every minute of it. We then droppe dby some stores for some cheapo glasses after my LASIK next week.(wooo 5 dollar glasses FTW! How I missed you!) I found a cardigan I had wanted for a very long time, but they were sold out. Luckily their website wasn’t and they had a 20% off there!
After that we went to see a movie and called it a night. It was a great day and I had a lot of fun with my lil sis. We don’t get enough time like that together. I did a ton of firsts and tackled anxieties and ended up with a great sweater to boot.
The Tattoo had not sunk in until today(other than my OH FUCK THIS IS PERMANENT right as he started and right after he finished), because it was covered and I didn’t really see it. But now I can see it, and I love it. It marks a moment in my life whether 20 years down the road I love it or not still. It is still a moment in time frozen forever, a moment that was made great by those around me.
So here’s to Tattoos, sushi, and cardigans!
P.S. Thinking back on the Tattoo process it is funny because it doesn’t hurt that much and your brain kinda turns the pain into a good thing. Crazy I know.