My “I 💙 Mom” tattoo

This is part of a series on my Santa Perpetua tattoos. You can read the rest in the tattoo category on this blog.

I loved my first tattoo from Santa Perpetua so much I knew I wanted to get more, and that we had just started a long journey together1. So the next thing I wanted to do was to find a way to find a cohesive visual story across my existing tattoos, to pull the new style in with. This felt like a mildly bold thing to ask a tattooist to do – connect their work to existing work, without a live collaboration with the other artist(s).

This is my shortest entry in this series because it is the most private one for me.

Looking at Willow's back, reflected in a mirror. We see blue water color tattoos with a bit of purple, plus some black circuit lines going to the ASCII hex code already on their back. There is some blue hardy on their shoulders from run-off during a bike ride.

This one wasn’t just about bridging between existing and new work, though, it was also to bridge concepts (the “shoulders of giants” bit from Maze of Existence) and to give homage to the shoulders of giants I stand on from my upbringing2. I also wanted it to reference a literal bridge in my hometown. The prompts were “am thinking about how to process combined human intention (a very beginning thought on the topic from 2014), and structures which we plan our own obsolescence into” and “other things I’m thinking about, especially given the map across my ribs, is the confluence of two rivers in the tiny town in which I grew up. I’ve also been thinking a lot about bridges and staircases lately, as liminal transition spaces. Here’s a bridge/arch image associated with the confluence.”

A low railroad bridge over a river in Midwestern America. Cranes are raising the middle section to join the two end pieces.

The liminal idea would come up more again later for my left arm.

She took the circuitry theme from Maze and my existing chest piece, and made connection points to the lines of code I already had. She pulled the city boundary of my home town with more circuitry and did water color for the two rivers and their confluence.

The artist, Santa Perpetua, offered this mock up of how the tattoo would look. The blog post describes the components.

I love this one for the combination of the precision of the circuits with the abstraction of the water color. I love the metaphor of homage to where I come from in a place on my body associated with being strong.

This one does feel to me like a stepping stone to some of the larger stories we wanted to tell together. Still imbued with meaning because we are who we are. The story of this one feels closer to my bones and less waxing poetic about existential angst.

  1. If, of course, she wanted to go with me
  2. I joke that it’s my “I 💙 Mom” tattoo

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