My first tattoo was a tribal panther. It was a tattoo I got prior to starting university. I was 19 years old and was rewarding myself for losing a bit of weight (seems like I've rewarded myself for weight loss on many, many occasions in the past). The tattoo was done (rather poorly) by Ron at Adrenaline Tattoo Shop in downtown Montreal.
Well, if the SS Backstreet taught me anything it is that I am not who I think I am. I am not that girl who sat in the corner alone and watched people living life. That's not me anymore. I realized soon after I returned home that I had regrets from being onboard and not enjoying the cruise as I should have. I should have grabbed life by the horns and enjoyed being with the girls around me. I should have just let things occur as they would and not tried to control my surroundings. Because I had no control I often became frustrated and left - and missed out...
I know that I will forever be envious of those who are inked if I never get inked. So, why not take it as it is: I love body art. I have a lot I can put into a tattoo. I have a lot to say with a tattoo. It's time to be who I want to be and let other's opinions simply be... meaningless. Why live life for others when you're the one who has to look at yourself in the mirror every morning. Time to let go and just be Mel.
The concept came to me whilst I was thinking about this tattoo which I saw on the Backstreet Boys cruise:
To be perfectly honest, the artistry in this tattoo leaves much to be desired. The boys don't look like the boys and as Maria put it "if I was going to get a portrait I would see an expert like Kat Von D". I understand what this gal meant to do with this tattoo and if she is happy with it, good for her, but portraiture is a very difficult field to get into. You don't get Ron from Adrenaline to ink someone's face onto you. You get Nikko Hurtado to do it.
Frankly, every time I see this man's work it makes me sad that I don't live in California!
All of this being said: this tattoo made me envious of those who had the balls to get a BSB tattoo. The boys were a huge part of my life growing up and will continue to be now that I've allowed myself to see that I will forever be a fan. It isn't so much about the men in the band. It has much more to do with the memories and camaraderie between myself and other fans. It's hard to explain. We are fans, we are proud, and we honestly don't give a damn about the fact that we are 27+ years old and still bopping to music from the 90's.
Maybe it is about wanting to keep my youth, hold on to it, and keep this ticker youthful. Ofcourse, I won't be getting BSB plastered all over my shoulder as this lady has done. I prefer being a little more subtle. I like for things to have meaning.
The BSB cruise 2011 was my first time to venture away from home and in many ways was a time to celebrate the changes that have been made in the last 4 years. I was no longer scared. I was no longer "undeserving". I could be 3 feet away from a Backstreet Boy in a bikini and not cower away in fear. And, prehaps that is something I want to commemorate. Although I may not have jumped in at every occasion to get a picture with the boys as I would have if I was as outgoing as some of the other gals, but being there and allowing myself to be me was a MAJOR step in the right direction.
The idea begins to form:
My favorite of the cruise logos is pictured above. It is the signature mermaid atop a SS Backstreet Boys Helm. As I sat thinking I remembered someone mentioning wanting to get the logo tattooed or getting the secondary logo (a mermaid atop an anchor) tattooed.
This started me thinking. A mermaid atop a helm which is adorned with an anchor? Perhaps looking like it is at the bow of the ship that somehow got ripped off? Or somehow incorporating something biomechanical?
And so the research began:
I found these conceptual drawings from Pirates of the Caribbean 4 and a few deviant art entries I found appealing. I don't want your typical run of the mill mermaid. I would actually like something a little odd and different, something no one else would have:
I would want her front to be partially covered by something. Either by a necklace or other piece of jewelry. I wouldn't want it to be something tacky or "stereotypical-mermaid" however.
I love the idea of her being an octopus. However, I don't like the head on this one. I do want her to be more "human"... perhaps an octopus as a bottom and a similar body but with a more human face as would be seen in a typical mermaid.
I do like the idea of LOOOONNNNGGG hair
I like the tones in this one. I also like the shell belt and "skirt" says something about me. I am part-lebanese and belly dancing is part of my culture.
What I liked in this one was the elaborate head dress.
I definitely want scales on her face. But real scales - this just looks like fishnet painted on!
Next, I thought, what would be the background for my Mermaid: my last tattoo concept did include some flowers which I would like to incorporate. Like the logo... some nautical themes would be nice. I was thinking of a helm adorned with intricate engravings: skulls, fish, treasure, tridents, etc...perhaps the helm could be adorned with a large anchor at its center? I also thought of the helm being placed at the bow or before some worn wooden pannels. Another option would be to have the helm and mermaid as part of the bow of the ship whilst including some biomechanical components... ribs, a skeleton, etc.
2. Where my mermaid will be housed
I like the double helm. I fint it interesting to look at. The only helm I found which was moderately intricate was that from the movie Narnia. I like the idea of how it was made to fit the theme. My goal is to have something which fits the theme of The Black Pearl/Flying Dutchman. These were very dark and "piraty" ships but although the boats were well designed for the movies I felt that this is a detail that was lacking. If I could wrap up some sea monsters, skulls, burried treasure, and maps into one helm I'll be happy.
Who is she? The mermaid? Well, the goal is to have her be me. In all her oddness and ugly bits, I want her to be a part of me. It fits well since I am an aquarius/pisces - Mermaids are supposed to be two faced aren't they? And it also fits because a mermaid isn't necessarily pretty but is strong. I want her to be a part of my journey as well which is why I was thinking of her being adorned with muerta type makeup similar to that in the Silvia Ji paintings I so love.
3. Marking a change
I looooove this: I'd like to see a cross between moose and deer antlers though
I adore this one as well!
The more I'm thinking about this though, the more I feel like this needs to be about me as well. I am canadian and yes, I do feel like I need to show that somehow. I am an anthropoligist at heart and there is so much about that that I want to show in my tattoo. I saw the antler gal above and immediately wanted her head dress as part of my tattoo. This brainwave will be part of many as I nail down what I want. The pirate ship may turn into a native american inspired deal. Who knows. All I know is I love that head dress! I also love totem poles. I love dream catchers. I love the "naturalistic" view the NA Natives have. I don't proclaim to understand all of it, I just know that I feel akin to anything that feels natural and true.
Well... miss Sylvia Ji has now taught me something new. I clearly have MUCH more research to do!
I did some more browsing and here are some elements I thought of:
A helm before a set of totem poles or a helm that incorporates inuit and indian art.
Now, the question of the artist is always a hard one. My two favorite artists are Julian Garner from 5 cents tattoo and Nikko Hurtado:
a. Julian Garner, based out of Ottawa, ON
b. Nikko Hurtado, based out of Hesperia, CA
Both artists do amazing work. Obviously, the decision comes to convenience and artistry. I would love to be tattooed by Nikko. But, this piece will probably turn out to be HUGE. I simply don't think I can afford to be tattooed in California on 5-6 occasions over the next year or two. Perhaps a smaller piece by Nikko will do. I have a few things I want inked in after all :)