Tattoo Tuesday! (My Edition)

In my formsprings I received lots of questions about my own tattoos, their meanings, etc, and was asked if I'd care to share. So here they are... in all their glory. I'll start with the oldest and work my way to the more recent...

My first tattoo was a sparrow on my right hip done on my 18th birthday. The colors are blue, green and orange... no significance to the colors really. Cliche but whatever, the bird symbolized my ~freedom and all that jazz.. you know, where you think you own the world when you're 18 haha i love my little bird though. I typically forget I even have him. (March 2006)

My 2nd (and 3rd, i guess) tattoos came in August of 2006, when I was first dating Mike (he sat with me at the shop and held my hand the entire time haha crazy!). They say Art and Love on each of my feet. The plan was based off MeWithoutYou's "god is love love is real" but "art is love love is real" i just never finished it because i didnt care for the way he did the lettering. therefore my current artist will be covering both of them up with traditional roses, etc etc etc. it will be one of my first ventures after i finish my full sleeve.

In April of 2007 I got the first Kurt Halsey piece on my upper arm. The "There are places and there are opportunities" piece with the 2 kids, etc etc etc. Then slowly I started realizing I wanted to make it a half sleeve so I added 3 other Kurt pieces plus the pigs from "Numb" (one of his pieces) and it was completed in October of 2007. The first picture of this sleeve is after 5 sessions. I did 7 or 8 sessions total.

The text on the bottom reads "this song means an entire city to me"

The whole meaning behind the sleeve is representative of the fact that I KNOW i'll be up & leaving tennessee... there are bigger things for me out there and thats the plan (obviously, since i've already migrated to NYC). We colored the suitcase yellow because I have a fascination with vintage luggage. The first piece i ever bought was a super beat up yellow set from goodwill and i cherish it to this day. I guess its just a reflection of knowing I'll have to say goodbye to my home state to find things that are right for me. Pre-nostalgia if you will.

The last day of January this year (January 2009) I got my chest piece by Jason Smith (my current artist) because he was one of my best friend's artists. I got "Alis Volat Propriis" which is Latin for "She Flies With Her Own Wings"... as soon as I saw the quote (and translation), i KNEW exactly what I wanted on my chest. I'd always wanted a chest piece but committing to something there is a hefty decision. This was perfect and i think it sums me up to the T. It's a direct reflection of myself and how my mother raised me. I love love love it.

This is the top of my full sleeve on my right arm. It was started in March of 2009 by Jason. I wanted a traditional-style ship and the quote "I cannot change the direction of the wind but i can adjust my sails" to symbolize my positive and optimistic attitude on life. You can't control what life deals you but attitude means everything.

Basically if you wanted me to break it down, the boat symbolizes me and the lighthouse up in the dark stormy clouds symbolizes my mother (the top half sleeve is pretty much dedicated to her). She's always been my "guiding light" (*cue cheesy music*) and I know that I can always count on her to guide me the right way.

On the inside of the half sleeve is my mom's portrait. It's her senior portrait from 1978 and it totally resembles Axel from Guns 'n Roses... my mom was a badass! It's inside a baroque frame because they're my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE. we still have to finish out the detail on her portrait and then we're coloring in teh frame the same color as the bottom of the boat. we're just letting my inner arm rest because it's not hte most pleasurable experience.

The newest edition was to take my half sleeve into a full sleeve. I've already raved on my insane love for cephalopods and all things octopus related so I got one on my forearm. The swirls behind it is an ink cloud. We're coloring him orange/maroon/purple and then on my inner forearm is a treasure chest and we still have to outline the compass too.

Last tuesday we worked for 3 hours on the ink cloud alone. and my arm is NOTTTT having it. man oh man its healing horribly. my arm is not a fan of black but whatev, we'll just make it work! go over it again! haha I was supposed to sit yesterday but i just did nottt have time :(

so thats where i'm at currently with tattoos. and believe me i wont be stopping anytime soon. in the works: my feet coverups, a tribute to my nana & papa on each calf, a big ass sweet shark tattoo on my ribs/side, probably something else on my left forearm, etc etc etc. its never ending.

i love all of my work and i can't wait to get more.

if you have any questions about any of them feel free to ask. i didnt go into *too* much detail and i know photobooth pictures suck but i still haven't found my card reader. bleh!

do you have any tattoos? if so, what of and where? what do they mean?

xo happy tattoo tuesday!


  1. you have amazing art all over your body. it's so inspiring! they all look really good, but the chest piece is my favorite!

  2. I have a few as well. The first one I got when I was 16... I really don't like it anymore, but it's tribal on my lower back. Total tramp stamp, but whatevers. I guess it's a nice reminder of the weird little girl I was at the time and the fact that I REALLY probably needed therapy for the stuff I was going through. It's a reminder that I've definitely been through worse.

    2nd, I got 2 flowers, as a tribute to my mom who passed when I was 14... I'm actually getting them covered up soon because the guy did a horrible job. Something beachy because that's something my mom and I had in common. I actually had my boyfriend draw me out some things and he drew me a hammer head shark fighting a squid, I really hope to get that started soon.

    3rd, I got stars on my ankle. Common, but I totally love them.

    4th, this past April my boyfriend and I celebrated our 4th anniversary by getting matching swallows. Mine is in my left hip with half of a heart in its mouth and his is on his right and the 2 broken hearts match up if you put them together. We plan on getting something added to it every year. It's by far my favorite and I know you're not supposed to get tattoos with your sig. other, but I don't regret it one bit.

  3. May I ask you how much each session has cost you?

  4. Marissa: thank you! :D thats very kind of you <3

    Seletha: those sound awesome :)

    Jefferlee: each session varies. sometimes i sit for 2 hours, sometimes i sit for 6. and i had a different artist for my left sleeve than for my right. the artist i have now like i said, is a friend of my best friend so he cuts me a great deal. rather than being $50-75 an hour, he'll charge me about $25 or so. :) but price = quality so i try to keep that in mind. i never go for a "cheap" tattoo

  5. I only have 3 so far, but I want more! I have "paz amor y felicidad" on my chest because I love the Spanish language, and it's dedicated to my friend who taught me to speak Spanish. It means peace, love and happiness. I have a swallow on my wrist to symbolize freedom (just like yours! ha!). And last, I have the ohm symbol on my ankle, because I really love the meaning of the mantra. I got it on my ankle because I have my arthritis the worst in that ankle and it reminds me to be calm about it and not stress about it too much, because I can't control it. It reminds me to accept the pain better, I guess you could say.

  6. i really love the meaning of the ohm one! thats brilliant, emilie!

  7. my friend has a huge pirate ship along her entire left side and big bright colored jellyfish on the opposite hip and onto her stomach. the style is very similar to your ship and octopus. i like!

  8. very cool! i'd love to see pictures if you ever post them! :D thanks!

  9. oh i love Kurt Halsey. i got really into his work when i was 16/17. i totally forgot about him until i saw this post!

  10. all of your tattoos are beautiful! i want to be a tattoo artist and yours are so inspiring, really! also i love all of your previous tattoo tuesdays, can i ask where you find some of the images for them? i love spending ages browsing through designs ^_^

  11. aw thank you so much! :D and yea totally, a lot of them are from just me saving them on my computer for inspiration for years, but i peep over at every day! its overflowing with them! :D

  12. Right now I only have two tattoos. One is a cross on my left hand that I got when I was sixteen or seventeen. I used to draw it on there every day, to show that although so many of my friends and schoolmates were going through that stage where they were unsure about God and their religion, I knew what I believed and wasn't going to be swayed. It was my silent reassurance. So one day I was with a friend of mine at a friend of theirs house, and he did tattoos, so I figured, why not? And got it done for nothing.

    My second tattoo is pretty new still; I got it around May of this year. It's a quote on my left forearm that says This too shall pass. It's something I've wanted for years; for whenever something really gets to me and I've got my head in my hands, it's directly in my line of sight, going the same way my eyes are reading. It's my end-all-be-all motto I guess; that everything that happens will eventually blow over, just as they've always done before. It's how I remember that I will always emerge from everything. :)

    My next tattoo is supposed to be a sidepiece of sorts; starting on my right hip and making it's way up to just under my armpit. It's a boombox with assorted "stickers" on it (things that I truly love; zebras, sharks, Hello Kitty, lightening bolts, etc. designed to look like random stickers on the boombox), with a stanza of music flowing out of the speakers and winding up my side. I'm just nervous about getting it because I haven't found anyone with a portfolio that really impresses me. This project is too important to me to just leave to anyone, you know what I mean?
    Sometime between then and now, I plan to get a shark and an octopus somewhere; either on my lower legs or my left side. That's why I love your sleeve so much; I've always had a fascination with marine animals of all sorts; sharks and octopi have always been my favorite. :)

    Oh my gosh! I'm sorry this is like a million pages long!

  13. oh, i loved this post! ive got a few tattoos in traditional style: a couple of girl portraits, a lucky horseshoe, a pair of swallows and a kissing couple. you can see them here if you like: i'd love your feedback.
    they are all on my upper arms and eventually i want to fill up all the space to make two half-sleeves. in fact, one of my ideas for the future is a pirate ship so seeing yours was very inspiring! x

  14. I know this may not be read (your post was over year ago now) but I am also fascinated with cephalopods!! I am planning to get an octopus but haven't decided WHERE. I want it large enough so it will be realistic (nothing cartoon-y). Do you have an updated picture of your octo?

    My email:

    Thanks!! Love your blog :)

  15. I'm so jealous!! $25 an hour! In Hawaii each hour is about $150, so it might take me a year to slowly allot money for my sleeve... I love the meaning behind the lighthouse and ship. Can't wait to see what you get in the future!


HEY! Thanks for dropping by. xo KB