Thursday, February 27, 2014

Old Fashioned Microphone

There’s a sort of mental snapshot from a time in my life that I remember so fondly I often think of it in my most difficult moments. It's of an abused and familiar  microphone with a dirty yellow windscreen, on an unremarkable stand, at the front of a stage, at night, under blinding lights, outside, in front of a crowd of 700 people whose faces I can’t quite see out in the darkness.

A microphone waiting for someone to speak into it is pure potential. And the fact that is often tied to the presence of a microphone, that people would give you their complete attention, is something too valuable to describe.

I’ve been in a few bad bands (always as a singer because I've been too lazy to commit to any instrument yet) and absolutely love making an idiot of myself singing karaoke ("Total Eclipse of the Heart" is my go-to opener). I’m addicted to being in front of people. All the singing is all well and good, but what I care about even more is communicating, I’m obsessed with it. I love to listen to the way masters of the art take nebulous, complex ideas and gracefully capture them with words. A true genius can present ideas so perfectly that you’ll think you knew them all along but just hadn’t defined them yet.  I want (but don’t really expect) to be that genius. I could listen to my favorite speakers do their thing for hours on end.

Wanting to communicate as badly as I do, I often speak about what I care about most: my faith, the Gospel of Christ. It is the thing that I filter every little bit of my life through and I’m totally crazy about studying scripture carefully and sharing the things that excite me about it with others. I worked for three years as a teaching pastor in New Mexico and I often preach at my current church. I relish every opportunity.

My tattoo is of an old fashioned microphone, specifically a Shure 55SH, a model that's been in production for more than 70 years. I chose this specific microphone for two reasons. First, because it’s built as a vocal mic, and has a reputation for capturing voices uniquely well (I’ve had a few professional singers see my tattoo and tell me how much they love this particular model). Second, much more superficially, I think it looks cool. It’s just a big block of steel, the actual mic is really stout and heavy. I have it on my left forearm because the left side of the body is traditionally the creative side. Also, when I do speak with a handheld mic I almost always hold it in my left hand to leave my right free to gesture crazily and fumble at the water bottle.  

The microphone isn’t  my first tattoo, but it is my first plainly visible one. People ask me about it all the time, and I love that. It gives me a chance to talk about my faith and my life. I’ve got good friends today who I met because they asked me about my tattoo.

I have a personal rule that I have to have a single tattoo idea, unchanged,  for two years before I’m allowed to get it. I’ve been holding on to a way to fill my right forearm for about two-and-a-half. With any luck I’ll post again soon.

Brandon Hutchinson
Traveling Exhibitions Manager
San Diego Natural History Museum

Want to share your own story and tattoo?
Email Beth: beth (at) redmond-jones (dot) com or Paul: info (at) orselli (dot) net.

Friday, February 21, 2014

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg

My favorite book growing up was From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg. What story possesses more intrigue, more suspense, more mystery, or more magic than the coming-of-age tale of Claudia and Jamie Kincaid, siblings who escape the doldrums of their suburban childhood to live within the walls of New York City's Metropolitan Museum of Art? They forage for coins from the fountain so they can eat meals at a neighboring automat; they sleep in the antique beds of French royalty; they uncover the truth about an original Michelangelo statue. Most of all, they learn deep truths about themselves.

Twenty-odd years later I rediscovered my love for this book. I found it on a bookshelf in my childhood home in 2007, just after taking a job at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. I read it and re-read it (and re-read it again).

I fell deeply in love with my museum work and knew I wanted to have a From the Mixed-Up Files tattoo. I sketched it out and had it done at Th-Ink Tank Tattoo in Denver. The final version on my skin is very close to the sketch I drew, though done by a master's hand. The intricacy and precision of the lines absolutely astounds me.

I love the story of my tattoo and the story of Claudia and Jamie. Thanks for the opportunity to share it with my museum friends and colleagues here.

Kate Tinworth

Want to share your own story and tattoo?
Email Beth: beth (at) redmond-jones (dot) com or Paul: info (at) orselli (dot) net.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Sun with Ying and Yang

During my first year in the Navy, my twin brother came to visit and said let's get a tattoo. We went down to the nearest tattoo parlor in Pacific Beach, CA. We both got the same outline of a sun—his was filled in black as a cover up, and mine is a ying and yang. The two small dots in the middle are where an old girlfriend bit me.

Josh Culver
Senior Director of Operations
San Diego Natural History Museum

Want to share your own story and tattoo?
Email Beth: beth (at) redmond-jones (dot) com or Paul: info (at) orselli (dot) net.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Uffington White Horse

This is my tattoo of the Uffington White Horse. I've always loved horses, am an Anglophile, and it also (very) loosely of ties into my love of Fleetwood Mac (Some think that the horse is a representation of the Celtic goddess Epona, whose counterpart in Britain is Rhiannon. Whose name is used in Stevie Nicks' song, but Stevie's Rhiannon is a witch). 

Anyway. I had always wanted a tattoo, and was actually the last in my family to get ink done. I had moved from Virginia to take a job in Florida to move up from Collections Management Assistant at a well-known historic site to become the full-on registrar. It was my career goal, but after one year was afforded the opportunity to move back home. So, with a heavy heart I gave my boss at the Florida Holocaust Museum my notice. She, her husband, and another FHM colleague took me out to dinner on my last weekend in St. Pete. At dinner, I (half) jokingly said we should go get tattoos, and the three of them actually took me to get my first! It is a forever reminder of the wonderful time I had down there, and what an awesome boss/friend I had! I assured my current boss that she does not have to go get a tattoo with me :)

Kathryn M. Blackwell
Colvin Run Mill Historic Site

Want to share your own story and tattoo?
Email Beth: beth (at) redmond-jones (dot) com or Paul: info (at) orselli (dot) net.