Thursday, October 6, 2016

Lamppost Tattoo

Eliza Sanders is a writer for Corporate and Foundation Giving at The Field Museum.

Here is her tattoo tale:

I got this tattoo at the end of a crazy year. In 2015, I finished a Ph.D. in English and moved in with a family friend in Chicago rather than attempting the crushing academic job market. I wanted to be able to choose the city I lived in, and to have more structure in my daily life…but among my university colleagues, I was a pioneer. Before that move, the largest town I’d ever lived in was Iowa City, and I’d never had a 9-5, non-academic job for more than a summer. It was a huge leap, but within a month I had found an apartment (in the same building as a brother I’d recently discovered – long story) and a job working as a grant writer at The Field Museum. It was a complete transition into a new life.

This image is taken from the original illustration of the lamppost in The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. It’s an object that marks a transitional point from one world into another. It also represents my scholarly identity, since I studied the ways that religion has influenced science fiction and fantasy literature. It reminds me of my childhood reading experiences. Most importantly, though, the lamppost is a symbol of light in dark places, and of hope. I got this tattoo out of an incredible feeling of gratitude that I had leapt into the unknown and been caught and set down safely – by God, by my new city, by all the people who selflessly helped me get to where I am.

The Field Museum's Tattoo exhibition, opening October 21, 2016 explores how and why people have been marking their skin as a means of expression for more than 5,000 years. Share your tattoo stories on Instagram and Twitter using #TattooFM, and your story may be featured in the exhibition or on the Tattoo website.  

Want to share your own story and tattoo?
Email Beth: bredmondjones (at) sdnhm (dot) org or Paul: info (at) orselli (dot) net.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Nautical, New Jersey, and Tolkien Tattoos

Janine Napierkowski is a Project Coordinator at Rube Goldberg, Inc. and she was kind enough to share the following images and stories about her tattoos:

While I have numerous tattoos, I’ve chosen to feature three here because they are the most emotionally significant to me. All of my tattoos are a bit of a work in progress, as I am constantly adding more as ideas come to me. 

First is my largest work, the full sleeve on my left arm. The entire piece is nautically themed, with my favorite elements being the diver’s helmet/octopus and the ship-in-a-bottle. The quality of the line work and weight, in a “wood cut” style, to convey specific textures like wood, metal and glass while keeping the piece lacy and open, was very important to me and my artist did a wonderful job! (I often get asked if I am going to color it in and the answer is no). 

I grew up being fascinated by boats, romanticized pirates and buried treasure stories; I always feel calmer near the water, and this piece reminds me of the feel of salt on my skin and smell of the sea even when it is far away.

The second piece is on my upper back and is by far my geekiest tattoo. It is a quote from Tolkien’s the Fellowship of the Ring and reads “The road goes ever on and on, down from the door where it began.” I’ve always been a fan of fantasy books, but this piece is much more a reminder of the person who introduced me to LOTR than it is a fan-girl work. He passed away after a long medical struggle as the result of a car accident. This quote reminds me that life continues on from its starting point and to not take it for granted. 

The third piece is my newest work: on my inner ankle is an image of Tilly from the Asbury Park arcade on the Jersey Shore. This was originally just an outline of NJ (that’s where I grew up), but when my high school art teacher and first mentor passed away this spring, I decided to fill in the outline in his honor. I love the bold Americana (Jerseyana?) colors and shapes, and it makes me smile.  

All of Janine’s tattoos featured on this blog were done by Mike Wingate at Big Joe and Sons' Tattoos in Yonkers, NY between 2012-2016.  

Want to share your own story and tattoo?
Email Beth: bredmondjones (at) sdnhm (dot) org or Paul: info (at) orselli (dot) net.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Deep in the Woods

I've moved around from one city to the next throughout my museum career, but my heart has always belonged deep in the woods. When I'm not doing what I love in the museum world, I'm typically off hiking through nature or camping in the backcountry. My tattoo is one way I can have nature with me no matter where I happen to live. The stylized tree is the focal point of the design, with mountains far off in the distance.

As a collections manager, I've always been responsible for integrated pest management (IPM), and have spent quite a bit of time learning about insects in general, those hazardous to museum collections as well as those beneficial to the environment. I volunteer as a butterfly monitor, so my design also has representations of my favorite butterfly, the Spring Azure (Celastrina ladon), a butterfly that exists all over North America. I've seen them throughout all of the cities I've lived in, as well as places I've hiked through, including Alaska.

Britta Keller Arendt
Senior Collection Manager
Chicago History Museum

Want to share your own story and tattoo?
Email Beth: bredmondjones (at) sdnhm (dot) org or Paul: info (at) orselli (dot) net.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Jorge's Infinity and Turtle

Currently, Dr. Jorge Perez-Gallego works as an astronomer and exhibition developer at the new Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science in the magic city of Miami, where he leads the development of the upcoming Frost Planetarium and Feathers to the Stars exhibition.  You can learn more about Jorge and his work by clicking over to his SCIENCE MUSES blog.

Here's what Jorge had to say about his tattoos:

As the Museum People's Tattoos blog reminds us, many museum folks have a love for tattoos—their cultural significance, their artistic quality, their documentation of the natural world, and some, just for their own personal meaning. The abstract stories behind mine, written by a younger version of myself, at the time I got them, are below.

Infinity (2009)
one day you realize
forevers are not forever
and only then you fall
for all those forevers you had
and only then you fall
for all those forevers you await
maybe one
maybe more
maybe none
one day you realize
you are perishable
and although neverending
infinity hides a notch
deep in your heart
only then your eyes smile back
as they did at dawn
and your soul dances
to the music of colors
water your gifts
with care
before they become givens
and shrivel
your eyes closed
embraced from behind
white kisses
and hope
all that
in your wrist
for real

Countdown (2005)

You open the eyes while Morfeo is still reigning. You get away from his fantasy kingdom. You sweat, you always do. You look around and see nothing but darkness. Shadows. You wake up and see someone next to you, someone who looks at you faithfully while resting. Your loneliness. Forever. You have breakfast. Fractals made out of cocoa and milk. You wash your face energetically. Cold. You ride your bike. You curse the luck of a colleague that will not do it again. You ride your bike. You arrive to your office. Lonely, dark, empty. A paradise, ephemeral, intermittent, vanishing. You work without stopping for six long hours. Proposal. Telephone. Proposal. Paper. Web page. Email. Proposal. Email. You yearn for the salty silence, the sea breeze, having goose pimples, a supernova in your retina, your feet disappearing under the sand, the swinging of the waves. Only then you realize how far away you are from yourself. You look your conscience in the eyes. You smile. You have lunch. You fall and look at the sky. They hurt. Your fingertips, your palms, forearms, shoulders, chest. You close your eyes and imagine yourself climbing outdoors. You like to get home before it is dark. You call your parents, your sister, your grandma. You do it every now and then. You do not always like to talk for talk's sake. Communication. You talk with your virtual family seven thousand kilometers away. So far, so close. You have dinner out. The design burns in your pocket. Among the nostalgic pages of the red notebook that someone gave you. With your stomach full. After one thousand and thirty seven days you finally show the drawing to a stranger. Thirty two minutes later you are not the same anymore. You are a little bit more... Yourself. A cake with the shape of a turtle. You go to bed and only then you are aware that your ID put yourself for the first time closer to turn thirty than to have turned twenty. ¿Twenty what? ¿Thirty what? You smile. You are happy. The world thinks it knows who you are, where you come from, where you go. It has no idea. You still feel like a kid... and you love it. Alive. A turtle is climbing on the back of your right leg...

Want to share your own story and tattoo?
Email Beth: bredmondjones (at) sdnhm (dot) org or Paul: info (at) orselli (dot) net.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Big Dipper and Flying Skull

Charissa Ruth is a freelance educator working primarily in museums. 

Here's what she had to say about her tattoos:

I love museums (as do probably most people who work in museums). To me museums are a reminder of just how amazing the world we live in is. 

My family didn't visit too many museums growing up, but we did make it our business to stop into Civil War battlefield sites and old churches whenever possible. My dad is both a church historian and a Civil War buff. 

I was first introduced to the image of a skull with wings in the many cemeteries we visited as part of our old churches field trips. The skull with wings was a popular symbol used on tombstones in colonial America and was known as "Death's Head." For that time, death was a much more regular occurrence and it had not yet become popular or acceptable to use more flowery or sweet images such as flowers, cherubs, and crosses. I like this practical approach; death comes for us all so let's face it head on. 

The Big Dipper constellation also has historical significance. For those familiar with the history and stories surrounding the Underground Railroad, the Big Dipper constellation was a trick for finding the North Star which pointed North and North meant freedom.

The people who traveled that road as well as the "conductors" and people who offered shelter knew the risk involved- fines, violence, repercussions. If families or individuals were found aiding runaway slaves, homes were burned, families ostracized, disowned, possessions seized, jail time was served Everyone involved lived in fear of being discovered. 

And yet, the Underground Railroad covered hundreds of miles and helped untold number of people. Like those persons who hid Jews during World War II, they did a courageous thing. They harbored those that were hunted. They overcame their fears and their doubts to put others before themselves. Others who may never be able to pay them back, others who they may never see again.

So for me, the constellation is a reminder to be brave. When the chips are down, when it really counts, will I also rise to the occasion to do what's right? Will I also be able to look death in the face if need be?

Both tattoos done by Ryan Roi at Triple Diamond Tattoo in Brooklyn, NY. 

Photos courtesy of Jon Mayer

Want to share your own story and tattoo?
Email Beth: bredmondjones (at) sdnhm (dot) org or Paul: info (at) orselli (dot) net.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Florida Tattoo

Jen Elliott,  a Museum Educator in School and Teacher Programs at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum was kind enough to share the story of her subtle, but meaningful, tattoo:

My tattoo is fairly straightforward, but means a great deal. I grew up in Jacksonville, Florida and then went to college in Gainesville, Florida before moving up north for grad school and the inevitable job hunt. I visit as often as I can - seeing family, dear friends, and hitting the beach - but I'm slowly realizing that the chances of going back and settling are decreasing the longer I live and work in NY/NJ. So now I have home with me...

This is my first tattoo and I love it! It was done by Mandy Fabrizi at Clockwork Tattoo in Lyndhurst, NJ.

Want to share your own story and tattoo?
Email Beth: bredmondjones (at) sdnhm (dot) org or Paul: info (at) orselli (dot) net.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Sugar Skull

I have many tattoos, this is 1 of 11. I love skulls and to celebrate my roots (I'm from Mexico), I decided to get a Mexican sugar skull tattoo. This is not yet finished, but soon it will have bright colors.

Karla Hernandez
PROBEA Administrative Coordinator
San Diego Natural History Museum

Want to share your own story and tattoo?
Email Beth: bredmondjones (at) sdnhm (dot) org or Paul: info (at) orselli (dot) net.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Charlette's Nail

Charlette was kind enough to share this story about one of her tattoos:

I got a nail tattoo because my father is a carpenter, and because my undergraduate Fine Arts degree is in sculpture.

I am interested in creating narratives through empty, lost, or abandoned environments and installation.

Want to share your own story and tattoo?
Email Beth: bredmondjones (at) sdnhm (dot) org or Paul: info (at) orselli (dot) net.