Tattoo Artist of the Day (Breast Cancer Survivor Edition): Vinnie Myers

VMyers_02As much as I love using this blog to feature the beauty and artistry of tattoos, I get greater satisfaction when I can feature how tattoos are being used to make life better for people.  When I attended the DC Tattoo Expo back in January, I came across Tattoos Cure Cancer, an organization to that uses the proceeds from tattooing to help defray the high expenses that cancer patients, and their families, endure.

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Another such example of tattoos helping people is the work of tattoo artist, Vinnie Myers.  Vinnie runs a studio called “Little Vinnies Tattoos” in Finksburg, Maryland.  Several years ago, Vinnie started offering a service in his shop called 3-D nipple tattoos.  The clients were women who were recovering from the horrors of breast cancer, resulting in a single or double mastectomy.  While breast reconstruction can help rebuild that area on the body, the scars and lack of nipples remain a constant visual reminder of what those women suffered through.

VMyers_04   Vinnie’s work was able give these women authentic-looking nipples again.  The simple self-confidence boost that was able to be provided to someone recovering from breast cancer proved immeasurable, and immensely popular.  It quickly become the only type of work he had any time for with this incredible influx of appointment requests.  He was initially thinking about stopping that service until he was struck personally by his own sister coming down with breast cancer.  This extra motivation, and knowing what this service means to these women, let Vinnie know what his purpose was.  Women now travel from all over the country to seek this very valuable service.  You can read about one women’s journey here.

VMyers_05You can visit Vinnie’s website and see example of his reconstructive work here:  http://vinniemyers.com/home.html

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Tattoos in Real Life: My Fourth Tattoo (Tattoo Convention Edition)

DC_TattooExpo_Logo     As I have only been a fan of tattoos for a little over two years, the opportunities for me to attend a tattoo convention have been very few.  I nearly overlooked this year’s DC Tattoo Expo.  However, courtesy of a good friend who knows of love of tattoos, and is a fan of my blog, I learned of it early enough to make plans to go.

4th_Tattoo_12     As this was the first tattoo convention I would be attending, I wanted to try to get tattooed there, if possible.  Since my regular artist, Danny Sebastian of Raw Ink, would not be attending the show, I needed to find an artist at the show that met two criteria:  1.)  They had a portfolio of designs that was in line with the types of colorful, symbolic tattoos I like, and 2.)  They actually had available slots on the day I went.

     I saw a number of great artists, from all over the country, showing off their work (including the wonderful charity tattoo organization Tattoos Cure Cancer).  However, most of them were booked through the end of the day, or did not have styles I liked.  Finally, I came across the booth for Twysted Imagez Tattoo Studio.  Yes, the acronym is T.I.T.S. (‘tats from T.I.T.S.’?   awesome).

4th_Tattoo_01     One of their artists, Dre, who had just recently joined their studio, had an open slot available to bring my desire to have a Libra symbol (I was born in October) inked on my leg into reality. (I should add that I wanted this symbol to have some character to it, not look like a static Omega symbol with a bar underneath it)

4th_Tattoo_11     Dre came up with a nice design of a stylized Libra symbol that used multiple colors and shading to create a textured, three-dimensional tattoo.  As an added bonus, Twysted’s booth was set up right next to the stage where Expo’s tattoo competition was taking place.  So, I got to watch that while I was under the needle.

DC_TattooExpo_2014_021    Below are photos that show the progression of the tattoo experience (keeping with my long-stated policy of recording getting inked.  I believe this is as important as the final result, and encourage everyone to do it).

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Dre applying the outline

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First layer of color going in

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First layer complete

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Final layer of color being added

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The finished product. Dre absolutely nailed it with giving me the kind of tattoo I was looking for.

Here are a few more photos of the finished product.

4th_Tattoo_064th_Tattoo_044th_Tattoo_04    It is only proper that it shares space on my right calf with my Celtic Shamrock tattoo.  The Shamrock is my absolute favorite tattoo and, now, my Libra tattoo is my second favorite.  As can happen with tattoos, my skin has kicked out some of the color.  In about a month’s time, I will return to the studio (located in Alexadria, VA) for a touch-up.

     It just feels great to have gone under the needle four times for tattoos and it have a 4-0 record with tattoos that I absolutely love.  Not one single regret.  I’m already thinking of what I will get next  :-D.

You can find out about Twysted Imagez at their website:  http://www.twystidimagez.com/

 

Tattoos in Real Life (Awesome Charity Edition): Tattoos Cure Cancer

TCC_02     During my trip to my first ever tattoo convention, the D.C. Tattoo Expo (from January 16-19, 2014), there were booths with tattoo artists and vendors from all over the country.  Most of the artists were also doing on-site tattooing for attendees (I even got a tattoo at the convention).  However, among all the booths, one really stood out.  It was the one for an organization called Tattoos Cure Cancer.

TCC_01    The founder of Tattoos Cure Cancer is Adam Guyot,  who runs Enternal Art Tattoo in Canyon Country, California.  Following the loss of his father to lung cancer in 2004, he became determined to fight back against this horrible disease, and use his talents to do so.  The result was Tattoos Cure Cancer.  Coming together with numerous tattoo artists in the Southern California area (including many from his own studio), Adam created an organization that does tattooing to raise money for the battle against cancer.

TCC_03     What is appealing about their charitable efforts is that proceeds made off tattooing (and corresponding merchandise sales) are not directed just to nebulous ‘awareness’ efforts.  The proceeds also go directly to cancer research and, most touching, to help alleviate the outsized expenses that families suffering from cancer frequently must endure.  At special events like the D.C. Tattoo Expo, 100% of the money generated from tattoos goes to these charitable efforts.

   Given how many people were waiting to get inked by these big-hearted artists, I was not able to go under the needle for this cause when I attended the Expo.  But, I have purchased a Tattoos Cure Cancer t-shirt, and I left to show determined to feature this group on my blog.  I plan to continue following their efforts, and I hope many of my readers will also contribute to these worthy cause.

You can go to their main website here:  http://www.tattooscurecancer.com/

You can follow their efforts on Twitter at:  https://twitter.com/bleedforacure

You can also read this feature article about them in SugarBuzz Magazine:  http://www.sugarbuzzmagazine.com/?p=9325

One-Year Anniversary of “New 2 Tats”!!!

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New2TatsAnniversary   It is hard to believe that it was one year ago, today, that I launched my literary journey about body art.  It all began when I looked for a forum to share the tale of my evolution from someone who despised tattoos to one who is now a passionate supporter of them.

I wrote my “Tattoo Manifesto” several weeks earlier and shared it with friends on Facebook.   However, after realizing that I had much more to say about ink than just what I shared in my ‘manifesto’, I found WordPress to be the perfect host for sharing my feelings and observations about tattoos.

Thus, on June 23rd, 2012, “New 2 Tats” was launched with the first post being the aforementioned “Tattoo Manifesto”.

https://new2tats.wordpress.com/my-tattoo-manifesto/

Since then, I have tried to share my opinions on tattoos from a variety of angles.

Themes:  There are certain themes to tattoos I have become a big fan of and I wanted to share more of that kind of ink.

Celebrities and Athletes:  In the entertainment and athletic world, there are so many examples of body art (both good and bad), that I have used this blog to highlight those that I have found most notable.  I have tried to be diverse in this approach.  So, I have different types of people whose body art I have featured.

This has been a lot of fun because several of the people I have featured have written to me saying the enjoyed my feature on them.  Some even shared additional photos of their tattoos with me.

 

Personal Tattoos:  I believe that getting a tattoo is not enough.  You should also try to record the experience of getting inked.  It’s as much about the journey as the destination.  So, for all three of my tattoos I have so far, I made sure to do that.

  1. Irish and Scottish Flag Tattoo:  InkedMemeFirstTat01
  2. Shamrock with Celtic Heart Knot Tattoo:MyNewTat_04Tat_two_too
  3. Triskelion (Getting a tattoo with a friend):  MyThirdTattoo_20MyThirdTattoo_12Twitter_Tat

This has been a tremendous journey so far and I have enjoyed every step.  I’m looking forward to continuing to write celebrity and athlete features for the foreseeable future.  I hope to move forward with more features on personal friends and their tattoo stories.  And, of course, when I find that next piece of body art that I want for myself, I will share that story here, as well.

Here are some additional resources for “New 2 Tats”:

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/New2Tats

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/New2Tats

Thanks again, everyone, for your support over the past year!

Tattoos in Real Life: My Third Tattoo (‘Getting Inked with a Friend’ Edition)

One of the things I had wanted to do ever since I got my first tattoo wayyyyyy back 14 months ago, was to go get inked with a friend.  With my first two tattoos, I knew what I wanted, but the decision on when to get them was spur of the moment.  So, planning with friends was not an option.

Further complicating matters was the fact that the artist who had done my other ink, Danny Sebastian (aka “Danny Deathwish”), had left the shop I had gone to, Pop’s Tattoo.  Then, a few months later, Pop’s shut down for good.  Fortunately, Danny kept in touch with his customers so that they would know where to find him now that he had moved on to RAW Ink, in Gaithersburg, MD.  So, I knew where to go when I was seeking my next tattoo.

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   Then there was the matter of finding a friend who was looking to get their next tattoo and wanted to coordinate with me on such an outing.  I was fortunate on that count, too.  Jen, a long-time friend going all the way back to high school, is a big fan of tattoos herself, and she was looking to get her fifth one; which she wanted to be something representing her two-year old son.

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  So, we coordinated with Danny to go get inked together on March 16th (personally, I think it’s only proper that I get inked on St. Patrick’s Day weekend 😉 ).  The excitement of knowing that a new tattoo is about to happen in enhanced by knowing you will be doing so with a friend.  On the 16th, we hopped on I-270 and made our way over to RAW Ink.

MyThirdTattoo_07   Jen was first up for her tattoo.  Her concept was to get her son’s birth sign, Sagittarius, as an inscription on her wrist, with the arrow being replaced by his name and birth date.

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   With Danny being the skilled artist that he is, he will look at a concept and make suggestions on how to best bring it to life.  In Jen’s case, the complexity of what she was looking for would have resulted in a design that would be too compressed for the wrist.  The details would not stand out and, over time, would end up blending together.  He did a mockup of a larger design, incorporating the elements she wanted, which would need to run lengthwise down her forearm.  While it was larger and had a different placement than Jen had planned, she liked new mockup and Danny got to work.

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   I have long been a proponent of recording the experience of getting inked, in addition to showing off the final product.  Getting a tattoo is as much a journey as a destination.  Jen had not done this before with her previous for tattoos.  So, she liked the idea of chronicling it this time (her mother also wanted photos of Jen getting inked :-D).

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Finally, the finished design came in to being.

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As you can see, Jen is pretty happy with it.

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   Now it was my turn.  I had been going back and forth between two designs I wanted underneath my flag tattoos on my left arm.  They were a Libra symbol (my birth sign) and a triskelion, a Celtic symbol representing the holy trinity (it also has significance dating back to the Neolithic times relating to themes of the number 3).  Because I was having difficulty determining what form I wanted the triskelion design to take, I had initially decided on getting the Libra symbol.  Then I found the following image embraced the simplicity and detail that I wanted.  I also liked the symmetry of the triskelion being my third tattoo.

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   I sent this design to Danny with the request to see how we could add some color to this design, as well.  Leave it to him to come up with a concept that gave the design some three-dimensional depth that allowed shades of green to be incorporated.

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Then the work began.

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The halfway point

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DONE!

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Wrapped and ready to go.

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   Later that evening, I celebrated with a beer and let my new tattoo get some air.  It turned out really well 🙂

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   Getting a tattoo is always a great experience.  However, getting to share it with a friend helped make it special.  I was thrilled with my tattoo and Jen was thrilled with hers.  Once again, Danny did great work.

Check him and the studio out at:  http://www.rawinkstudio.com/

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My 1-Year Anniversary of getting Inked!

   One year ago today marked a dramatic change in my life.  After spending the first 35 years of my life being completely against tattoos, I finally overcame that mentality and went under the needle to get my first tattoo.  This image was inspiration for that tattoo:

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   After finally entertaining the idea of actually putting permanent ink on my body, I found this design on the web, as I was looking for something that would embrace my Irish-Scottish heritage.  What could be better than having those two flags crossed together?

    The day I found this design, I knew there was no stopping me.  I was going to get that tattoo and get it that day, January 12th, 2012.  That evening, I went to Pop’s Tattoo at Wheaton Plaza and, under the skillful needle of “Danny Deathwish” (who has since moved on to RAW Ink in Gaithersburg, MD), I was inked:

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  It really didn’t hurt that much (though it was a fleshy part of the body), and the instant I saw the completed product, I knew I was hooked.  Everytime I look at this tattoo, I feel good about it.  I have enjoyed sharing it with other people (including those shocked by my change of heart)

    You can read about how this ‘change of heart’ came about in my Manifesto: https://new2tats.wordpress.com/my-tattoo-manifesto/

    It has just opened up a new way of thinking for me.  Since I joined the ‘club’, I have thoroughly enjoyed talking about tattoos and learning about the stories behind those belonging to other people (from the most deeply meaningful designs to the spur of the moment thoughts).

    After enjoying many individual conversations with people, I decided I wanted to set up a forum to share thoughts, concepts, and ideas about tattoos.  After I wrote my Tattoo Manifesto, I conceived of the idea of a blog with which to share those thoughts.  Thus, on June 23rd, 2012, “New 2 Tats” was born.

    The real fun with this blog was the Athlete and Celebrity Tattoo of the Day features I decided to run.  I wanted to make this about people who weren’t very well known, or who were, but people didn’t know they had body art.  So, celebrities like Angelina Jolie, Rihanna, and Megan Fox would not be featured here.  But, up and coming stars like Skylar Grey and Cassadee Pope would be, as well as more famous people like Selena Gomez and Charlize Theron.  Sometimes, the celebrities and athletes have replied and shared more details about their tattoos or just their appreciation of being featured.  It just helps make running this blog worthwhile.

    Needless to say, there was very little doubt that I would be looking to get more body art.  Knowing that I was looking for more Celtic-themed tattoos, a good friend of mine suggested I check out Pinterest for tattoo ideas. Once there, I found a design I fell in love with:

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   Finally, on August 9th, 2012, I returned to the scene of Tattoo #1 and got this design applied to my leg:

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   As fond as I am of my first tattoo, I’m ecstatic about this one.  The color, lines, and overall design just make it stunning in my mind.  You can read about the experience of Tattoo #2 in this entry:  https://new2tats.wordpress.com/2012/08/11/tattoos-news-i-got-a-new-tattoo/

   I am now, most definitely, a tattoo lover.  While I have no plans to go all ‘Travis Barker crazy’ with my personal ink, I do plan to keep an eye out for designs that I find striking that I think can find a good place on me. 

    I have thoroughly enjoyed the past year of a tattoo-ness and look forward to many more years of it 🙂