Why am I tattooed? Well, I like them. I think they can be beautiful pieces of
art. I like the idea of my body being a canvas for artwork. And as I have more
and more art added to the canvas, it's almost as if I'm bringing my being into
focus. They don't define me, they make the definition more clear.
Some of the art put on my body has been done by less talented artists than I
would like (at least in retrospect). But I've now found a truly great artist
named Trevor Marshall, and after getting a fine large piece from him of a
dragon, covering my back and going over my shoulder and down to my buttcheeks,
it seemed obvious to me that there was something missing.
So we started another piece - a phoenix. When we started, Trevor fretted a bit
that since it was going to be fitted in with the dragon, it would by necessity
be much more abstract than I might have wanted. Not at all - with it's sweeping
wings, graceful neck and beautiful tail running down the back of my leg, I
couldn't have been happier. Even before the color was added it was quite
beautiful, and I won first place for Best Overall Tattoo at the Marked For Life
Tattoo Convention in Orlando Florida, Jan 1999.
When the phoenix was done and all that was left to do with it was a few touch
ups, I fell off a horse and cracked a couple of ribs. This made sitting for
work on my torso a bit problematic, so we started on a project we'd been
discussing even as the first outlines of the phoenix were going in: an arm of
Following the links below through to the end (or at least the current) takes a
long time, though not as long as the time it takes to get as much tattoo
coverage as I have at this point. :)
Almost all of my tattoos, except for the earlier smaller ones done by other
artists at Jim's Tattoo, are documented here, in semi-gory detail. Most of the
earlier tattoos were from artists at Jim's Tattoos Seabrook, NH, unless
Below is the list of what I had when I first started these pages. At one time I
updated this list to add that the dragon was completed and the phoenix
outlining started, but I really didn't keep up with updating this page, I
simply let the rest of the pages speak for themselves.
My first tattoo was a small dragon (about 2 1/2" long by 1 1/4" wide) above my
right breast. It is now covered over by the mane of the large dragon body
My second tattoo was a small bird, on my left shoulder. It can be seen in the
picture of me as a blond and the early back-in-progress picture, though it
looks faded next to the deep vibrant colors and blackwork put in by Trevor on
my arm afterwards. It is destined to be obliterated by some of the phoenix
feathers - the outlining on top of it has already taken place.
My third was my first tribal, placed on my outer right calf. I've been told
that it looks a bit like a wolf.
My fourth was a black celtic circle with flames around it, placed on my inner
right forearm. I chose to leave it entirely black, as I liked the effect, so
the flames are actually just shaded in black.
At that point I started to get bolder about placement and went for a tribal on
my left wrist. This was one that I was not too happy with after getting it put
on, as the way it wrapped around my wrist made it look a little like a deranged
Up to this point I had been getting flash off of the wall, although it was
always modified to suit me. I then decided to get something I'd drawn myself on
me, so I got a multicolored kind of tribal running down my outer left calf.
Next was a snake armband. It can also be seen in the back-in-progress pictures.
Yes, under the arm hurt. It was not my art, but the artist (not Trevor) had to
draw it on me. I wish now I'd known Trevor then - although the snake isn't bad,
and most of the people in the shop where I got it agree it's one of that
artist's best work, Trevor would have made it wonderfully and threateningly
Then I had a tribal dolphin, my own art, put on my right outer thigh. It's nice
art if I do say so myself, but the artist could have done a better job. Trevor
has advised me to not
get it retouched by the original artist.
I then went with a friend to Portsmouth NH, and got a flaming barbed wire
(flash) put on the inner left forearm. Not too bad for flash, thought the red
is a little blotchy. I may actually touch it up myself someday if I'm bored and
needing to feel creative.
Then I met Trevor. I got a tribal with roses in it on my upper left arm, just
below the bird. He drew it freehand on my arm, and put in some of the best
looking ink I'd ever gotten. Light touch, no lumpy scabs so no white spots. I
I called him up for another appointment. I made the mistake of saying he'd
given me a "small piece" a month or so before; I guess he thought I meant
"small = tiny" (the tribal with roses spanned about 5") and so set aside just
1/2 hour for me. He hadn't realized what an ink pig I was! What a
disappointment - I'd wanted to start a "connect the tats" project on my left
arm, final result being a tribal arm; he only had time that day for drawing a
tribal spiral down my arm, tattooing the outline for all the spiral and filling
in a little of it. But because of the misunderstanding, he gave me another
appointment for a few days later, and we got all the shading done.
Now I had a spiral, but parts of my arm looked too bare. I made an appointment
for the rest of the arm, and after a four hour marathon, I had my tribal arm.
During this marathon session, I was looking up at Trevor's door, on which he
has a large painting he'd done of an oriental dragon. I started to feel him out
about the possibilities of getting a backpiece of a dragon in a similar style,
winding in and out through a tribal running diagonally across my back, and he
The dragon/tribal piece is done now. I've also done a couple of self tattoos
(ankle vines and a little design under my bellybutton). The bellybutton tattoo
has been sacrificed for the greater good: Trevor is put one of the phoenix
wings across it. And my right arm is now covered in lilies.
At a low point in my work situation (nice pay, but was working for idiots and
was very unhappy) I'd purchased a bunch of Spaulding and Rogers equipment,
including two machines, and turned them upon myself :P - hence, the ankle vines
and belly button thingy. I think sometimes that I wouldn't mind tattooing for a
living, but the idea of giving up what I currently make as a software engineer
to apprentice with someone is almost infeasible. I have too much "stuff" to
So, with that tribal and roses piece I began a relationship with one of the
finest tattoo artists around, not to mention one of the most honorable men I've
ever met or hope to meet. I trust his judgement, his sense of art and style,
and his abilities to such an extent that I trust him implicitly with decorating
And through Trevor (though indirectly - it took a web search for Trevor's name)
I met Geoffrey, another wonderful, honorable man, and fell in love. So all in
all, a fortuitous yet satisfying relationship.