The time draws near…After years of talking about them, I will soon be ready to have one of my own: a tattoo. My very first…And from what people always say about them, certainly not my last. I’m giddy with anticipation…Anticipation that won’t come to fruition for months, BUT will eventually come to pass! I want at least two months of pay solidly under my belt before I blow 1000RMB but now that my pay’s finally starting to trickle in it’s looking like a green light down the road. (still haven’t yet to receive a full paycheck though =( ) Tattoos are not too expensive here; 1000 RMB will get me a fairly sizable, professional-grade stamp, which comes out to about $175 US. I want something on at least one forearm, eventually both. I want it to be Asian-themed and beautifully artistic. And I want it to have meaning to me, philosophically. I’m a bit concerned about how it will come out on my skin tone, but from what I’ve researched, as long as I stay away from colors and deeply intricate patterns, things should not be too bad.
I’ve settled on a Taoist theme, being in China…Well, truth be told, I’d decided on a Taoist theme even before coming here. I wanted to get it done in China to not only celebrate the journey, but because I wanted the script done by someone who writes in Chinese normally. I read online once that having Asian characters done by Westerners almost always looks like the writing of a 3 year old to anyone proficient in said language, which makes perfect sense. Awhile back I had the characters for "Wu Wei" done on the backs of my hands in Henna and I really liked it. But enough tattoo guys have talked me out of it, on account of not being able to hide the art if necessary…So I’m thinking they’ll be on my forearms instead (or maybe on my fingertips – I haven’t given up on the idea of "action without Action" guiding every action I take by being on my hands and fingertips are far less obvious)
As for the forearms I’m thinking maybe on the right, a misty mountain scene, like the ones you see in Taoist art. The idea is to showcase the emptiness of the Tao, and existence, so the "Mist" is really empty space. It’s profound, beautiful, and should be cheap since all that empty space really saves on ink! My main concern with this style though, is that subtlety is part of the design, and my skin tone is probably too dark to properly convey a mist scene…Dang.
And on the left, I’m thinking perhaps a bamboo grove with a mountain rising out of it…With the characters for "Tien Shan" – Heavenly Mountain written up to down on the mountain itself. Not only because its a sacred mountain of Taoism but because it’s my given Chinese name (and soon the first mountain I shall climb in China!)
But I also want one (or two…or seventeen…) as a mark of personal growth, mental, physical, and everything in between. It’s an idea I came up with with a buddy named Shane back in Buffalo, when I worked at K&A Ponds…He had a few tats already and we fantasized tons about going to Asia and collecting tattoos from monks in cloud temples and Indian Yogis by the Ganges…He has me beat on sheer quantity but if I get this one I might start to get a leg up on quality.
I’m still unsure about the design – that’s the hard part, of course…Coming up with a design that you’ll be happy with for the rest of your life. I might even combine the two somehow – maybe have the bamboo grove surrounding the mountain "Tien Shan" with the script running through it…Better get a pen and some paper; my mind’s awhirl!