Saturday, May 5, 2007

Every Day In May #5

Today's creative endeavor is my first draft of a sketch of my next tattoo. It will start at the base of my spine and go up my lower back on my right side.

My first tattoo, an band around my left bicep, is based on a symbol from Ghana. I'd traced it out and took it to Tattoo Seen in the Bronx, where the tat artist modified it. Three hours and a broken stress ball later, I had my first tat. It didn't hurt too much on the top side, but it hurt like a bitch underneath and I had squeezed the stress ball so tight it leaked sand. But I didn't cry. And I wasn't drunk :) (I have a very vague feeling that I went to High School with Seen; he was like a sophomore or junior when I was a freshman at what was then Music & Art on Convent Avenue. We seem to be about the same age...)

Anyway. Since the first tat refers to my African grandfathers, the next one needs to refer to my Native grandmothers. Most people, when they hear "Indian" or "Native" automatically think Bear fetishes or Eagle Feathers, but many of the symbols American culture recognizes as "Native" are from my more Western and Southwestern brothers. The grandmothers I've traced were all from the Eastern Woodlands (some Cherokee, "Blackfoot"/Saponi, Seminole and Cheroenhaka (Nottoway) and so I've tried to do some digging into symbols from Eastern Woodland culture. This sketch is based on one attributed to the Menominee people who are from the Great Lake area... which is a little further west than most of my people. Except people back then traveled far more than we modern day folks tend to expect. My own people started out in Maryland and New Jersey, but went south to North Carolina and Atlanta (and Florida, in one case) and then out to the Midwest to Cayuhoga County (Cleveland) in Ohio. And back. And then ended up in Chicago. So I think this symbol is fitting. But I'm still researching.

Not sure if I'll go back to Tattoo Seen... the outfit is clean and professional but very expensive. But then again, you get what you pay for....

3 comments:

professor said...

your drawings are awesome!!!! I don't think you know how good your artwork is...

Regina said...

I like this - you'd need an industrial size stress ball to get ME to let someone put this on my back - but I love the design.

The Bear Maiden said...

LOL. Tats really don't hurt that bad, depending on where you put them. It feels sort of like someone scratching you, which you can get used to in an odd way, and then afterwards it just burns like a sunburn. But it doesn't last long. The pain, I mean :) The tat lasts forever :)