Tuesday, March 02, 2010

An Image Seared Into My Soul
My Very First Tattoo

It will probably surprise you to learn that I don't have a tattoo on my body. I don't have anything pierced either.

I pierced my right eyebrow when I was 16 like any lovable dumb fag, but my sign of rebellion made me uncomfortable. I learned that I had to maintain this piercing by cleaning the crust that formed around the ring to prevent infection. I remember dipping my face into solution and being annoyed with how it felt. The piercing lasted 2 weeks, the hole healed, and my rebellious spirit internalized and left my outer shell alone.

I've wanted a tattoo since forever. I like how they look, I think they're sexy on people, but I've been weary of what I'd ink.

We've all seen our share of dubious tattoos in our days. You've seen the tiger scratches on a porn star's back that look like a staph infection, or the chinese characters down a blonde's leg that could read "asshole" for all we know...

The amount of horrible tattoos are many, but the majority of tattoos that I've seen are even worse; they're unremarkable, they're boring, they're neither interesting nor bold. I respect a man who has inked an ornate 3 foot design on himself, that shows commitment, but a barcode or a meaningless crucifix tucked away in a shirt leads me to ask why even get a tattoo in the first place.

Several tattoo enthusiasts gave me the following piece of advice: Think about your tattoo, if you're not sure then don't get it--often enough you will see the image that you want as a tattoo and it will hit you immediately--this means you're on the right track.

I'm happy to report that I think I found this image for myself. Last week I was browsing the internet and came upon this piece of art that spoke to me. I saw this and I thought back to the advice, "I...think I want this as a tattoo, nay I believe this has always belonged on my body, like the birthmark on my left hand underneath my thumb. It's me."

I'm revealing this image to you now followed immediately by my reasoning. I want the following image tattooed on my shoulder:

(Click here if you cannot see the above image)

Reasons #1 I want this as a tattoo: It explains itself. Just look at the image again, there's nothing REALLY to explain. You either get it or you don't. This is no diamond, it is no chinese character. It requires no back story unless prompted. It would not seem I am inviting casual conversation on the meaning behind this. It is quite simply a happy-go-lucky man who is kicking a pregnant woman in the stomach.

#2: It has an explanation. Let's say you've survived the initial shock and your corneas haven't melted off as if you'd landed face first into the ark of the covenant, now you ask, what's up with the tattoo? I think it's hilarious, and I think it's innapropriate. A swastika can be hilarious, but it's a weighted icon, it symbolizes hatred and the death of many people. The above picture doesn't, it isn't an icon. It is a picture of a cartoon man kicking a cartoon lady in her pregnant belly. I love things that are funny and innapropriate, that's who I am. Let's face it, expressing yourself via a tattoo is...how should I put this...is REALLY retarded? "Oh I'm always running around worrying, I should put an Ouroborus on my hand...the snake that eats itself..."

Yeah whatever, look at my tattoo, it's a man kicking a pregnant woman in her stomach. Cool huh?

#3: It has layers. The image isn't as simple as you initially thought it was. It is absurdity piled on top of absurdity. The man is smiling ear to ear like Mickey Mouse, his kick to the woman seems like an afterthought, the woman, in turn, seems surprised in the way your mother would seem surprised if she caught you looking at pornography. The pregnant woman is also wearing a t-shirt that says "baby" on it and it has an arrow pointing to her belly...who DOES THAT?

#4: It is a videogame reference. Yeah I know, but it's me too. I don't watch television shows, I play video games instead. This isn't a triforce tat as it is more subtle. The cartoon man is actually Vault boy who, in turn, is the fictitious mascot of a shady company that designed vaults to house people from nuclear attack in the Fallout games. He's a satire of 1950's PSA mascots, an ever smiling paragon of optimism in the face of nuclear annihilation.

The above illustration is recently unearthed art for an earlier Fallout game. The player would have seen the icon had he killed a child in the game (either on purpose or by accident). It was turned down for obvious reasons. People would understand the image had they not played the game that I spent way too much time playing, but people who had played Fallout would love it right off the bat.

#5: It's damn colorful, plus look at the woman's hairstyle. That's some 50's moxie there.



David said...

Have haven't changed one bit, have you?

Kevin said...

Not for the worst at least.