The very first tattoo I got was the red and black nautical star on my left wrist. It doesn’t really mean anything, but I do remember I got tattooed because of that Sublime video, Wrong Way. Alright! Alright! I admit it, I was a young man influenced by a video. I wanted to get tattooed because I dug the way the skateboarder looked in the video. So that was that. I don’t even remember the name of the girl who tattooed me, the shop closed down years ago.
But then I grew up (like most of us do) and as I researched punk, hardcore and tattoo in general, I learned about the history of the different cultures of tattoos and etc…
My next project was my left sleeve, I wanted the word Integrity on my forearm because I’m Straight Edge. That was probably ten years ago now. I don’t regret it, but I guess I was young and I wanted to be “in your face” about it. I’m still straight edge, but nowhere near as confrontational about it as I used to be.
I was still “at risk” concerning suicide until I decided to get “never again” tattooed on my forearm along with the razor blade where I would have cut myself with if I had decided to kill myself. “Never again” was a promise I made to myself that I was gonna purge out any self-destructive behaviours from my life (drugs and alcohol were one, but I also consider hatred and anger to be self-destructive).
Both Arms were done by Ollie XXX who now lives and works in Edmonton (I don’t know which shop, you could probably google him). You can see some of the Japanese traditional art around the razor blade on the left arm. My right arm is fully Japanese, however, I don’t think we could call them “traditional”. They are probably very close to traditional Japanese tattoos, but they have very modern lining and coloring. Overall, you are supposed to balance symbols of strength with flexibility. In my case, I have cherry blossoms and water (impermanence – flexibility) with rocks and Koi fish (stability and strength) I also have lanterns, a lotus flowers (symbolising how something beautiful can grow even in an hostile/murky environment) and a peony, which is really just something beautiful.
My collar piece says “Struggles and Hopes.” Which is the dichotomy of my life. The lettering is inspired by chicano art which is something I respect and enjoys as visual art. (also done by Ollie XXX) I expect to fill the next and shoulders with both Ganesh and Shiva on both sides of the neck with appropriate background art.
On my knuckles is written “Born Free” which was inspired by the Philosophy of Jean-Jacques Rousseau meaning that when we are born, we are not limited by society, church, religion, politics or economics, that means that if we were to change social structures that limit our emancipation as human beings, every one of us, regardless of origin, could achieve their full potential. The knuckles were done by Gen @ Tatouage Royal.
I do have something planned for both of my legs (my wife and daughter as sugar skulls) and my back will be a meditating Buddha in traditional Japanese garment (there is an artist in Montreal, Cat Bijou, who went to japan for a few months and came back with these AMAZING kimono patterns that she learned how to tattoo, she worked a little with them on my wife’s arm and the results are really impressive. It’s a slow, long process and If I was rich, everything would be done already, but we’re getting there.
That’s pretty much it,
OH! And the only two tattoo shops you should visit in Montreal:
Tatouage Royal: http://tatouageroyal.com/ (they speak English, don’t worry – half of their artists are ladies, which I think is nice)
Tattoo mania: http://studiotattoomania.com/