TATTOO YOU – the Narcissistic Relationship Between Tattoos and Social Media

“This generation’s obsession with body art is another blow to the original culture of rebellion. To have numerous tattoos thirty years ago allowed one to rest on the fringes of society. But in today’s world, little can make one fit in more than a dazzling image of seemingly anything, strutting across one’s arms or torso.

Social media truly is an alternative universe, where one can fall under the false impression that receiving yet another meaningless tattoo delivers the idea that they are living an ambitious and authentic lifestyle.”

– Interesting piece critiquing the mass popularization of tattooing…not sure I agree completely, but it’s a well laid out argument! In the meantime…please do enjoy some lovely inked skin candy…just getting you prepped for the The Ink Party  (click to link to FB invite) in NYC this Saturday…talk about a narcissistic endeavor…I don’t know about you, but for me ink/body art isn’t about rebellion…it’s about expression, and to me that is ALWAYS authentic…xxx c.







The ink party flyer 3

James Pavel

By James Pavel 

 Babies, beaches and half-naked bodies are waiting to be discovered on what appears as almost every social media profile page. But a new, popular method of attracting attention has become tattoos, or new tattoos that have recently been penned on one’s body by an anonymous artist, who in reality, usually deserves all and sole credit for the artistic wizardry. 

 The adoption of tattoos as a new source of attention-craving has allowed individuals to surrender the sum of their identity to tattoos through social media. 

 The lower-back tat might be out, but in are half-arm sleeves, full-arm sleeves, rib-cage tattoos and basically anything that involves piercing the skin with a permanent needle. 

 In 2013, job titles or true achievements are thrown in the back-seat replaced by the immediate gratification that tattoos and social media postings can offer. Tattoos are a painful but mostly rewarding body alteration while…

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‘A man without tattoos is invisible to the Gods.’ ~Iban Proverb

A tattoo is a true poetic creation, and is always more than meets the eye.  As a tattoo is grounded on living skin, so its essence emotes a poignancy unique to the mortal human condition.  ~V. Vale and Andrea Juno, Modern Primitives

Tattoos fulfill a need to inscribe the self as an individual. ~ MARGO DEMELLO, Bodies of Inscription


Today, people with tattoos, body piercings, and brands are everywhere. They are shown in advertisements, on television shows, and in magazine and newspaper photographs. Even a glamorous toy icon, Barbie, comes with temporary tattoos.KATHLYN GAY, Body Marks

A tattoo is an affirmation: that this body is yours to have and to enjoy while you’re here. Nobody else can control what you do with it.DON ED HARDY, Douglas Kent Hall’s Prison Tattoos

My skin is my canvas. The artwork on it represents something that is very powerful and meaningful in my life. I look at my skin as something of a living diary because all my tattoos represent a time in my life. And I never wish to shut the door on the past, so I carry it all with me. ~ Dave Navarro

Doesn’t it just make you want to ink-up?!

Perhaps something fun to do on the long holiday weekend….xxx, c.

SKIN: appreciating the spaces…(INK’ed)

A tattoo is a true poetic creation, and is always more than meets the eye. As a tattoo is grounded on living skin, so its essence emotes a poignancy unique to the mortal human condition. ~V. Vale and Andrea Juno, Modern Primitives

As you probably know, from the amount of ink I have, I love tattoos. I understand these “works of art” as a means of expression and a way in which the body can actually act as a canvas for one’s life experience, desires, fantasies…all can be etched on our very skin…to take with us to the grave. Tattooing is, for me, the ultimate act of mindfulness: to be forever thoughtful, on the particular symbolism you choose.

More recently I came across a quote form Cher:

“For someone who likes tattoos, the most precious thing is bare skin.”

And I must agree. As much as I crave and appreciate the stark nature of the ink…I have also come to appreciate those EMPTY SPACES in between for two reasons:

  1. Their purity, unmarked and natural there is a beauty about the bare-ness of SKIN
  2. The opportunity they present…for MORE INK!
One day…my back will be covered with my dreams, hopes, and fears…My mind’s eye ink’ed for eternity.
And even STILL, I hope that there will be SOMEONE to appreciate the spaces…xxx c.

An INK’ed-UP edition of Feisty Friday Quotes!


I am hosting an Ink Party with Sexxymofo ( this Saturday (think bodypainting and the like, very artistic and sensual…cannot wait to see the captured images as we have some amazing artists on hand!)and so, keeping in theme I decided to indulge in some Inked-Up Quotations…enjoy and have a wonderful weekend!

xxx c.










My skin is my canvas. The artwork on it represents something that is very powerful and meaningful in my life. I look at my skin as something of a living diary because all my tattoos represent a time in my life. And I never wish to shut the door on the past, so I carry it all with me. -Dave Narvarro (musician)


Tattoos are like stories – they’re symbolic of the important moments in your life. Sitting down, talking about where you got each tattoo and what it symbolizes, is really beautiful.Pamela Anderson (sex icon)


I did what I could to move the muscles in my back so the tattoo could sort of stretch out. I always wished I had more muscles that could crinkle up. –Ralph Fiennes For the film, Red Dragon (2002) as Francis Dolarhyde


In 19th Century England, tattooing flourished as nowhere else in Europe, largely thanks to traveling seamen who would come back with permanent souvenirs of their travels on their arms. In 1862, it gained Royal sanction and members of the Royal family, from the Prince of Wales to King Edward VII, acquired tattoos. By 1890 the fad had spread to the US and tattoos were seen on members of the exclusive New York Racquet Club. – It is certainly the most vulgar and barbarous habit the eccentric mind of fashion ever invented. It may do for an illiterate seaman, but hardly for an aristocrat. Society men in England were the victims of circumstance when the Prince of Wales had his body tattooed. Like a flock of sheep driven by their master they had to follow suit. (Socialite of the day Ward McAllister who complained to the press about the fad)

“The woman must bear children and the man must be tattooed.” Polynesian Proverb

My body is a journal in a way. It’s like what sailors used to do, where every tattoo meant something, a specific time in your life when you make a mark on yourself, whether you do it yourself with a knife or with a professional tattoo artist.Johnny Depp

I Welcome September: As The Sun Fades…My Skin Yearns For NEW INK!

To quote a favorite poet of mine:



The Cat In The Hat

September is here! And as the sun sinks behind the clouds, my skin craves to be touched…to be covered with beauty. For many, that would mean gorgeous cashmere sweaters and rich furs…for me…it means:


Presently, my larger pieces reflect transitional spaces in my life: loss, death, rebirth. They are a testament to survival…and a celebration of the endless cycle of life, and death. They draw from iconic religious symbols, like the lotus…and cultural ones, like the sugar skull. My desire is to fill my entire back…in such a manner…reflecting my emotional states…my growth and struggles.

I have always loved tattoos and have written about them here…admired them daily on others…I love the idea of decorating the body…of making feelings, real works of art…upon the body. Tattoos are phenomenal, and the tattoo artists even more so (Deep Bow of Gratitude to El-E Maggs MY artist)

As I move into a new stage in life…this year taking time away from my clinical work…focusing on events my more creative and erotic pursuits…I find that I am in a different space than before. I am…still searching…but I am calmer…more settled in my loss…accepting of my grief…and embracing my rebirth (even if I haven’t fully realized it, as yet).

So what does this new space look like?

It’s…positive…a little giddy…silly. It embraces chance…it takes risks…This space is full of compassion and acceptance. This NEW SPACE needs…a MANEKI NEKO!

What is a Maneki Neko well let’s visit Wikipedia and see what they have to say:

The Maneki Neko (literally “Beckoning Cat“; also known as Welcoming CatLucky CatMoney cat, or Fortune Cat. Sometimes incorrectly labelled Chinese Lucky Cat) is a common Japanese sculpture, often made of ceramic, which is believed to bring good luck to the owner. The sculpture depicts a cat(traditionally a Japanese Bobtail) beckoning with an upright paw, and is usually displayed—many times at the entrance—in shops, restaurants, pachinko parlors, and other businesses. Some of the sculptures are electric or battery-powered and have a slow-moving paw beckoning. In the design of the sculptures, a raised right paw supposedly attracts money, while a raised left paw attracts customers.

A frequent attribution to several Japanese emperors, as well as to Oda Nobunaga and samurai Ii Naotaka, is that one day the luminary passed by a cat, which seemed to wave to him. Taking the cat’s motion as a sign, the unknown nobleman paused and went to it. Diverted from his journey, he realized that he had avoided a trap that had been laid for him just ahead. Since that time, cats have been considered wise and lucky spirits. Many Japanese shrines and homes include the figurine of a cat with one paw upraised as if waving—hence the origin of Maneki Neko, often referred to as Kami Neko in reference to the cat’s kami or spirit.

And the mythical origin of this little cat? Well…it is simply too good to be true:

courtesan named Usugumo, living in Yoshiwara, in eastern Tokyo, kept a cat, much beloved by her. One night, the cat began tugging at her kimono. No matter what she did, the cat persisted. The owner of the brothel saw this, and believing the cat bewitched, cut its head off. The cat’s head then flew to the ceiling where it killed a snake, ready at any moment to strike. Usugumo was devastated by the death of her companion. To cheer her up, one of her customers made her a wooden likeness of her cat as a gift. This cat image then became popular as the Maneki Neko.

Perhaps…I am searching for a companion to accompany me on this new path…maybe I am wishing for “luck” to guide me through unknown waters?

I am not totally aware of my unconscious wishes, only that the Maneki Neko is a symbol of good will…of positivity…and wisdom…qualities that I trust will guide me…beyond luck!

xxx c

The MEANING is in the INK…

I have marked the passages in my life through small yet disconnected body art…and I recently realized that they all symbolize LOSS and REBIRTH:

  1. The BUTTERFLY I got at 17 = leaving home and starting college in NYC. I was so scared; so sure the city would engulf me that I wished for the courage of that little willful creature! ….

  1. A NOSE piercing = a way to “adorn” my unacceptable nose, a symbol of my “hated” Mexican‘ness…which for my entire life only showed me how UNbeautiful I was compared to those I saw around me in the small town I grew up in, in Washington State. Only when I moved to NYC, where ethnicity is celebrated did I understand that beauty is multi-ethnic…and no longer “needed” the piercing. ….
  2. My navel piercing…SADDNESS = I lost a baby once…it was very traumatic…that was for him…”Colt”. ….
  3. The tribal WAVE on my lower back = the ending of my longest relationship (7 years) which ended in us “growing apart,” and like the “sea” it represents, time for us to move on. ….
  4. My “hood” piercing = to mark a period of SEXUAL rebirth, after a difficult time in an intimate relationship, it was my way of reclaiming my own sexuality and pleasure. ….
  5. An INFINITY sign with my wedding date in roman numerals = “unbounding” and what will always be the happiest day of my life…the day I finally allowed myself to believe in FOREVER…a wonderful and healthy fantasy…ephemeral as it is…..

Keep in Mind, they were all small…silly examples of body-art, without a larger artistic intent…

I have always admired people with artistic, bold tattoos and body art. I used to stare at them with fascination wondering: What were they trying to communicate with these symbols on their body? What inspired them? Why would they choose to “mark” their “natural” state in this way? And when I had boyfriends (tatt-less boyfriends) who would say: “That is so gross!” I would disagree, inexplicably drawn to the secret artistic communication these creative people seemed to express through their bodies!….

You know my (**THEN**) husband has beautiful tattoos, a sleeve of them. And he was the first man I was with that had chosen to express such artistic symbolism through his body…and I immediately loved them…tracing them intently with my fingers and lips—licking as I went…They tasted like IMAGINATION…like SOUL and SENSUALITY…amazing! I was Obsessed!….

NOW, perhaps as another reaction to LOSS & REBIRTH, I feel as if I might capture some of that creative expression in myself…that which I had always admired and coveted in others in the past, might actually become part of my FUTURE!….

The Aerial Suspension Rope Performance (for Skin NYC/SexxyMofo in July) represented a turning point in this “process,” I am now involved in.

The performance represented something I had never done before and almost cancelled because I truly thought I could NOT (do it “alone”)…and I yet DID! It was a moment of great personal growth, empowerment and self-acceptance: I am enough, on my own…The next morning, it came to me: my SYMBOL…the Lotus…..

The LOTUS is the big bold sensual flower of Asia that rises out of the dirty mud from the bottom of a pond, SHE rises toward the light, to then unfurl and stretch curved petals, reaching toward the sunlight…water droplets still clinging to her pink-ness—She actually does this daily emulating the sun-moon cycle…The Lotus shows us that PURITY and BEAUTY don’t necessarily come from only the same, but rather can develop from ADVERSITY, DARKNESS…and even from DEATH. ….

*Today, THIS MOMENT is my REBIRTH* ….

This is not unlike my wedding day, when I allowed myself to believe in forever only to be then forced to accept the fragility of that beauty…I have decided that this situation will NOT take that DISCOVERED FAITH in “FOREVER” away from me. I will carry it with me…through the rebirth of my Lotus tattoo…….

MY LOTUS sits in the center of my back, between my shoulder blades…she is about the size of a large outstretched hand and…she GREW FROM 4+ hours of PAIN! Pain which interestingly also had its own “life cycle” and metaphor: ….

  • First, stinging pain (hour 1)…but, “I can take it!” ….
  • Then as the endorphins kicked in, I developed a heightened sense of the pain and FOUGHT desperately against it, my muscles tensed and my breath came in shortened spurts (hour 2). I thought,” I cannot do this; it is too much, I cannot endure this.” Then, I began CRYING and shaking, feeling…so cold. I could not will myself to stop shivering and immediately knew this had nothing to do with the tattoo, rather this expression of physiological SHOCK was coming from DEEP BELOW THE SKIN. The artist asked if I was okay, I responded that my tears weren’t about the tattoo that I was crying from pain of another sort. He understood, stopped for a moment…and HELD ME…without wiping any of my tears away, and then released me, going on with his work, and leaving me to MY process. I sobbed and sobbed…thinking of all the pain I had fought and tensed up against throughout the last couple weeks, rather than just recognizing the VULNERABLITY & LOSS I felt about my situation. ….
  • So…I LET IT GO…I started breathing into the tattoo (hour 3)…I accepted the pain and relaxed into it…almost welcomed it. And it came, it didn’t stop, but it also didn’t hurt quite so much. I had INTEGRATED the displeasure of pain into my experience, in the moment. Accepted it for what it was…breathed it in…Allowed my muscles to relax into it…and I finally found PEACE…true…and complete…amidst the pain…I found peace…beautiful…and I SMILED and TEARS came, this time however they were tears of JOY and ultimate release…I had found my place…my balance…and it wasn’t from running-away or fighting-against the pain…it was from ACCEPTING it right there in the moment…And where the moment had initially given me only SUFFERING, now I accepted the GIFT born from pain…my beautiful Lotus, my symbol of Loss & Rebirth* ….

So I decided to get a tattoo and discovered what years of meditation, therapy, and yoga never gave me: PEACE, amidst the PAIN…through ACCEPTANCE and LOVE…..

Today I was again reminded off this cycle of life upon entering St. John’s The Divine Cathedral…A HUGE gothic cathedral, I entered SEARCHING…I was searching for relief, again…and was immediately overwhelmed by the enormity of the structure itself…this is what inspired awe in it’s parishioners…and I understand now…I felt small…forced to raise my head toward heaven to even take in the vastness of the alter…yet this had the effect of safety: you are not alone, there is something BIGGER than you, protective and complete. I sat in the pew and immediately I prayed…for guidance, for help, to have all my pain taken away…and what I received was the permission to stop fighting, to again ACCEPT and breath…with the understanding that through this process and only through this pain will I again find my place and my PEACE…seems to be a running theme in my life…I SHOULD LISTEN!….

So art imitates life…this time…and I continue to walk with YOU in this journey…of humanity…..