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.