My New Ink -Horiyen Tattoo
Last weekend I finally had my first tattoo sleeve session with master Jess Yen of My Tattoo. Jess is the consummate professional and is truly the best artist in the country. He recently won the Tattoo Society/Tony Romel Award for best artist of 2009. I was very impressed with his work several months ago when I first read about him, but after having the outline of my tattoo completed I can totally relate to another of his clients that quoted him as being “phenomenal”.
With a normal waiting list of 2 years, I was fortunate to secure a starting spot within a couple months since I was willing to travel to two tattoo conventions that MyTattoo was participating in.
I had changed the subject matter somewhat since my initial consultation. I originally wanted a full sleeve to include an oriental woman’s face to represent my wife, along with a Koi fish and Chrysanthemum flowers. Since my wife wasn’t so keen on the woman face idea I had decided to go with Koi and a Dragon. When I arrived for the session, Jess explained that these would be a rather common and easy replicable elements and that it would be better to have something much more individual. Jess mentioned two additional custom schemes and I chose to go with 2 Koi fish, water, Peony flowers, and a Daruma face(http://www.daruma.jp/about.html).
Also included are the characters for my wife’s middle name – Keiko- in Hiragana (similar to Kanji) and a skull (for my grandson Darius). I chose the Koi as the central theme as it symbolizes courage, the ability to atain high goals and overcome life’s difficulties. While there are many meanings associated with the Daruma, those that I identify with are those of an undaunted spirit , resilience and determination. The Peony flowers have long history in Chinese and Japanese cultures an are considered symbols of wealth, prosperity and good fortune. I had initially chosen the Crysanthemum for its asthetic qualities, but learned that they represent death or mourning and are often used in remembrance. The skull while represtative of death also speaks to the fact of the impermanence of life.
I had been debating whether to just go with a half sleeve for professional (as well as economical) reasons. I’m so glad I made the decision to have a full sleeve done as opposed to a half sleeve now that I see the beginning of this project. The full sleeve just has a lot more flow and feels like a complete piece of unrestrained art. Besides, I knew if I had only got the half sleeve I would have regretted not going all the way. I have the utmost confidence in Horiyen to carry out this project for me.