A post-work errand had me walking down 6th Avenue to 23rd Street where, to my delight, I ran into Shaina, whose large back piece stopped me dead in my tracks. Lucky for me, and all of our Tattoosday readers, she had no problem sharing it with us here:
This piece is a cover-up (more on that later) and initially was born out of a desire for a large bunch of purple flowers. Shaina explained that, at six feet tall, her size can sometimes take the edge off of her feminine side. "I try as hard as I can to be girl-y," she said, and she embraced her floral design as "a sign of girliness".
As time passed, the whole tattoo, which Shaina estimates was composed in five four-hour sessions totaling twenty hours, took on additional elements. When her grandmother passed away, she added a memorial line for her ("In Loving Memory of Eleanor Vespie) along with the red carnations, which were her favorite flowers.
She later added the additional memorial on her neck, for her cousin Tasha.
The tattoo was created by Cliff Evans at Fuzion Ink in Norfolk, Virginia.
Of course, I had to ask about the tattoo she covered up. Shaina looked at me, and I'll give her points for honesty, she confessed, the original tattoo had been a portrait of the Icelandic singer Björk.
She looked at me. I looked at her. "Don't take this the wrong way," I cautioned her, but what would possess you to do that?" Shaina had good humor about it. Like a lot of eighteen-year olds, what seemed cool at the time, in retrospect seemed ill-chosen. But there are many amazing tattoos out there that might not exist had they not been needed to cover up an earlier, less memorable piece.
Thanks kindly to Shaina for not only sharing her lovely back tattoo with us here at Tattoosday, but for taking the time to chat so candidly about her body art.