Swim out of the Fishbowl

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

The next one came up about one of my great loves, made manifest in a phase of my life. I have always loved the concept of liminal1 space. I first became aware of it as a concept at the Ann Arbor Film Festival2, spending 3 minutes with the audience watching a minute hand move from just after one marker to just before another on a watch face, the movement so slow it was imperceptible until they showed where it had started. The idea of being between things intrigued me. I cherished it when traveling constantly, always in airports and rarely anywhere at all. It was good to have a name for a space that can be so exhausting when I was between work, before I had realized that work didn’t need to be my identity.

When Reed and I started trying to get pregnant, I realized the roller coaster of waiting, then not knowing, and then of one moment of clarity followed by the same cycle every month might break me. Given how much Santa Perpetua and I had talked about liminal space in previous rounds, I figured it was time to go all-in on that topic.

Willow rides a bike. Towards the top of their left arm is a circle with the numbers 39 40 on it, a city scape above it, and a forest with a ship below it. Blue water color streaks down the arm, with numbers alongside it, down to the wrist. At the wrist is a cute little fish.
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Killing ants

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

Now that Santa Perpetua and I had started our collaboration and set up for future work, it was time to dig in and really explore some existential angst. The next one was about my political ideology, the tension I feel behind nearly every act I take, and was one of the originating conversations behind Jigsaw Renaissance1. And that is – what is the responsibility of the individual, and what is the responsibility of society? When one is out of alignment with the other, which course corrects, how, and how much? If they’re both doing ok, should more attention and intent be paid to further progressing the individual or society? I tend to lean towards societal progress, but I also deeply respect and acknowledge individual autonomy and inclusion in that as necessary but insufficient.

Tilde and Willow's right thighs are nestled together, with Tilde's tattoo of purples and greens with a mirrored person as posable figure on one side and a more realistic human on the other. Behind the realistic person, water color and shapes. Beyond the model, simpler shapes and more contained colors.

On Willow's thigh, a circle surrounds two children poking at an ant hill. Outside the circle, a child's sillouette looks at plants in orbit. Another small circle holds an ant. There is blue and black water color around it all.
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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.
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Maze of existence

I want to tell you the story of some of the art I carry with me. I want to tell you about Santa Perpetua.

I first got started getting tattoo’d back in maybe 2014, despite my parents’ best intentions. The first thing I ever got tattoo’d was “Death is the road to awe”1 in ASCII hexadecimal down my spine because 1/ I couldn’t get the phase out of my head2, 2/ “death” is change in the tarot, and what is wrong with that, anyway, and 2/ encoding it in ASCII hex would mean that even if my feelings on the quote changed over time, no one could really call me on it.

It was, it ends up, the beginning of a long journey.

The first couple tattoos of hex code were from a total weirdo in my college town I’ll always remember fondly. The ensuing few were from a generally lovely gent in Seattle who was exceptional and exact about lettering and numbers. But I wanted something more – our few forays into creativity left something lacking. At some point I realized I had been following Santa Perpetua online via tattoo blogs for a handful of years, and that I could just, you know, go get a tattoo from her if I was willing to travel for it. 

The backs of some very pale legs with blue shoes, and a watercolor tattoo with a tree, a maze, and skeletons on it on the back of the left leg from ankle to disappearing under a dress.
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