"It was the oldest sound in the world. Souls flying away." The Secret Life of Bees

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Body Art

Happy (almost) Earth Day!!!

First of all, I want to let you all know that I received an email from Andrea, the owner of Repeat Possessions (the company I bought my new oxfords from). She is offering free shipping on all orders of $50 or more, using code RPTX2011. So, if you need some new oxfords (or anything else - she said their cami's are super comfortable and their best seller, plus they come in a ton of colors), now is the time! I got my oxfords for $80 at Repeat Possessions, but they are still $125 at endless. I should also mention that I had a great experience with Repeat Possessions. Great transaction, great communication, fast shipping, and Andrea even remembered that I wanted the pewter oxfords and emailed me to let me know they had one pair in stock.

Now, onto my art! A few of you have asked about my tattoos, so here we go......

My first tattoo was done about 5 years ago. I knew I wanted something small and meaningful. After talking to tattoo artists and doing a lot of research, I decided that I wanted a paw print, specifically my dog Kya's paw print. Using an ink pad, I stamped her paw print onto a piece of paper. The tattoo artist made a stencil from that, so it is pretty much an exact replica of her paw.

About a year later, I decided I was ready for another tattoo. This time, I wanted to go big! I did a lot of research (seriously, weeks and weeks and weeks of learning about tattoos, the process, the artists, different styles, poorly done vs. good quality, etc.). I discovered the style I liked and I found the perfect artist. Her name is Michele Wortman. She and her husband (Guy Aitchison) own Hyperspace Studios (Michels's gallary is here). I fell in love with all of her art - tattoos, music, paintings, etc. Her style is very unique. She doesn't use any black lines (which is pretty unusual for tattoos). This makes her style/tattoos very soft, lacy, and feminine.

I booked my appointment with Michele, flew to St. Louis, drove 2 hours to southern Illinois, and spent 3 full days getting tattooed. Yes, I did all of that for a tattoo! Why? Because it is permanent and will be with me forever. People are always surprised when I talk about traveling to get my tattoo. So many people have said "aren't there tattoo parlors in Portland? Can't you just go down the street to get a tattoo?" Well yes, I could. However, when it comes to permanent body art, I think it is worth it to get exactly what you want, from the artist that you want, no matter how inconvenient it is.

Since I love Michele's art so much, I knew that I wanted a piece of it on my arm forever. I told her a few elements that I wanted included (Tibetan Buddha, tree, flowers) and pretty much turned it over to her and let her work her magic. Of course we talked about color, placement, etc. and decided those things together.

About a year and a half ago, I traveled back to see Michele again for another session (2 full days this time). She added a bit to the bottom and added to the inside of my arm (which is by far the most painful area).

This is Michele!

After my first trip to Illinois
After my second trip

This is my honey comb Mandala

All of these photos were taken immediately after being tattooed, so the ink is still "fresh" and my skin is irritated/swollen. After it healed, the color settled in a bit and became softer. Getting tattooed by Michele was a wonderful experience. I do not regret it one single bit. I am planning on getting more work done sometime within the next year or so.


  1. WOW!! You've almost got a sleeve on ya! Very nice. I used to love that show LA Ink and always admire people that can tattoo a piece of art on people. It's amazing!

  2. WOW! very nice! I have a couple tattoos that are replicas of artwork that I've done to celebrate milestones in my life. I really love Michele's work. I'm thinking about getting another piece soon. Don't know if it will be my milestone piece to celebrate my marriage, or the back piece that I've been wanting for a super long time. I really love how feminine and pretty your tattoo looks.

  3. Puppy Paw :) I love your Tattoos Kristin. They are beautiful. I really love them both. It's true they will be with you forever :) Love the colors as well.

  4. Gorgeous. Thank you for posting about your tattoos. I love finally seeing the whole thing. :) I can totally understand the traveling to see the artist you love. I have one so far and have a big one in the works but cannot commit yet as I still have some questions about the design and my artist is no longer working so I have to find a new one.

    Anyway, your upper arm is gorgeous and I love the idea of the puppy paw. Can't wait to see what your next tattoo is.

  5. The artwork is beautiful and the colors are so brilliant! I especially love your tattoo of your dogs paw print, that's so touching and sweet, it makes me go "Awwww". Thanks for sharing :)

  6. Wow! Your tattoos are really beautiful. I see what you mean by the lack of black lines. It really gives them an almost 3-dimensional iridescence that is really feminine.

  7. so pretty- thank you for sharing the back story- do you have ideas for your next tattoo?

  8. this is beautifully impressive- I like the careful way you selected these to represent yourself, as well as allowing an artist you appreciate to develop the look...

  9. Wow, what commitment! But very smart of you to research, plan, and design.

  10. wow. I love the stories behind your body art! i've been thinking about getting a tat, but I'm not really sure what I want. It's a problem, my indecisiveness!
    hearts, laura♥
    the blog of worldly delights

  11. Those are AMAZING! I can't believe those are tattoos. If you hadn't said the first one was, I totes would have thought it WAS the stamp. And I'm so amazed she could get such sketched rendering with a needle on your arm/shoulder tatt.


  12. Amazing! I love body art--especially hearing WHY people have the tattoos that they do. I think it would be really awesome to get one, but I've never come across or thought of anything that I honestly want on me forever. I would never go into that with any sort of indecision at all.

    I figure if there is an image/meaning that resounds with me, I'll think of it at some point and know. I love a lot how there are no outlines.

  13. They are addicting! Your tattoos are amazing! I wish I would have gone through the thorough process you did to get your body art, sometimes I regret my permanent pieces-or rather the lack of research I did before going to a local artist, so I understand completely why you would travel for the perfect piece!

  14. The Yellow, Pinks and Purples are so brilliant. I'm reminded of the bright colors of charcoal drawings. The edges look smudged. Her detail work is gorgeous. Especially the shading on the flowers. The colors are girly, feminine, yet classic.

    Wow Kristin! The inside of your arm? Ouch! Is it hard to keep still for so many hours? I can't imagine it.

    I love how you did your research. Much like you would if you were looking for an artist to paint your portrait. Except you are the canvas.

    Is your sleeve complete, or will you continue adding to it? What area are you thinking of for your next session?

  15. Cindi - Oh, yeah! I've seen that show a few times. There are so many bad tattoo artists out there, but the ones who really have talent are truly amazing.

    Andriea - Thanks! Your tattoos sound interesting. I would love to see them!

    Gabby - Thanks:) My puppy paw means a lot to me.

    Katrina - Thank you! Bummer about your artist. I hope you can find another one that you love. Of course, if you have any doubts/questions you should hold off until you are absolutely certain. I have considered getting a back piece as well. Keep us updated if you decide to move forward with yours:)

    Steph - Thanks! My puppy paw means so much to me.

    Elle - Thank you! After I found Michele's work, I realized that I didn't really care for the "heaviness" of the dark outlines.

    Spiffy - Thanks! I don't really have any solid ideas yet. I would like to go over this arm one more time to refine/touch up a few spots. I am starting to feel a little off-balance, so my other arm may be next:)

    Sarah - Thank you! It was a good balance and it worked out really well.

    13 - Yes, very true. I really think those things are necessary when it comes to tattoos.

    Laura - Don't do it until you are absolutely, 100% sure!

    Lori - Thank you! A lot of people have said that her work is a lot like watercolor. I can totally see that. Her style and the way that she tattoos are very unique.

    Lea - Thanks! I absolutely agree with you. When the idea/image comes to you, you will know and there won't be any uncertainty.

    Minnesota Maven - Thank you! Yes, I think it's important to research/plan/etc. There are so many tattoo "artists" who really have no idea what they are doing. I think another thing most people don't realize is that there are so many different styles of tattoo art.

    Laura - Thanks! Yes, I see what you are saying about charcoal drawings. A lot of people also say her work is a lot like watercolor. Yes, the inside of my arm - OUCH!!! That was definitely the most difficult spot and it was very hard to keep still. Towards the end, I was just laying there with tears running down my face, and my whole body was shaking. Most of was quite easy, but that inside area was a bitch. I think it is complete for the most part. I would like for her to go over it one more time to refine/touch up a few areas. I really would like to extend it even further down my arm, but I won't do that at this point because in my line of work, it does have to be covered and I don't want to restrict my wardrobe further:) I haven't made any definite decisions, by I think my other arm may be next!

  16. Wow.. not much of a fan of tattoos but this has convinced me. this art work is just incredible and so full of life!