Writings, Essays, Lyrics, Musings, Commentary . . .
Article #6: Beautifying My Body ... Wearing My ArtFall, 2000 - by Gaye Adegbalola
A few years ago, my partner, Suzanne, fell in love with the ink. She apprenticed under Nathan Lawson and, slowly, but surely, learned the art of skin graphics (aka tattooing).
Being the supportive partner that I always consider myself to be, naturally I volunteered to be her first victim. . . er, um client. To volunteer was the easy part, the hard part was deciding what to place on my body. . . FOREVER. And, where to put it. That first ink--for me and for her.
Given my complexion, the first would be black--no colors. Given my flamboyant nature, the first would be bold and readable from a distance. Given my low thresh hold of pain, the first would be in a minimal pain area. This would be good for me and good for Suzanne--one color, no details, and an easy tat area. But what?? Exactly what would represent me. . . forever?
But, ah-ha! The ink for me was/is contagious. I loved being decorated. I loved wearing my art. And after the initial decision making, the choices became easier. If you notice, I wear the same jewelry, the same hair do, the same clothing styles all the time. My taste is not fickle. My love is stable. My loves are permanent. So, too, the ink.
Then came an "om" below the eye. It is in Sanskrit and represents the original sound of the universe, the sound of meditation. I strive to meditate daily. It is there as a symbol of priorities in my life‹and often a reminder to rearrange my priorities. As I said, I "strive" to meditate. Next, on either side of the om, an "anhk"--the symbol for life, and, the symbol for "Juno," my son's name.
Then came pure decoration--triangular shapes surrounding the top of the aforementioned symbols in black and. . . red. Suzanne started to experiment with colors on dark skin. The next effort we thought would be similar shapes beneath the symbols, but an unexpected event occurred.
In October, 1998, my aunt, Jule, passed. We were very close and I've never felt such grief. As I said, it was totally unexpected. I wasn't ready for her to leave me. I wanted her with me, I wanted to memorialize her. Jule collected clowns. I had a clown, a very traditional, but happy clown (Jule's favorite kind) tattooed on my right thigh.
Later, Suzanne received some very beautiful, original flash art. I was immediately attracted to a tiger. Tigers are so beautiful and, simultaneously, so wild and dangerous. It was my father's favorite animal. I wanted to memorialize him too. Also, at Walker-Grant High School, my school, we were known as the "Fighting Tigers." A dual salute to those who taught me.
Artistically, Suzanne was really doing details now (the whiskers, the eyelashes). She was utilizing negative space (the stripes) and knew the right red for my complexion. She's come a long way since that first tat. We now have a small studio in our home and she works by appointment only. (Want a tat? Visit Sumoe Productions, www.sumoe.com)
What's next? Perhaps we'll finish off the triangles on my left arm or I have another attraction to a piece of flash or Suzanne's long suit is custom design. I just might "unleash the beast" and let her totally create a new design for me. Feels like it's all guided by a higher power, and I'm sure that I'm due for the next revelation.