HOW TO EXPRESS YOURSELF WITH YOUR ARMS, FINGERS, AND BUTTS
A couple weeks back, Member Samuel Viani kicked off a new Free Range series about creatives, their tattoos, and the stories behind them. WNW Member #5326 Meg Lewis, Brooklyn-based designer and Member of Ghostly Ferns, is next up to talk about her exquisite collection of tattoos. She's got lots on her arms, fingers, and one on her butt, which celebrates none other than her love of butts: "The butt tattoo was the strangest sensation. In order to get a butt tattoo, you have to bend over a table with your pants down. I was also positioned toward the front door for passers by to enjoy an eyeful of Meg." Meg takes us on a tour of her personality through her tattoos, from a lifelong struggle with asthma to an obsession with The Yellow Submarine. She also offers some great advice for those who want tattoos: "Wait a year from the time you have your initial idea. If you're still just as jazzed as you were a year ago, it's time." And she's also got a message for those against tattoos: "Anyone who judges people harshly for having tattoos is a Butthole Bob." (Photos of Meg by Bekka Palmer)
1. How many tattoos do you have? How'd you decide on them?
I have so many small tattoos all over my arms that it's really hard to count and choose a definitive number. So, let's go with lots of tattoos. Most of the tattoos that I have represent something important throughout my life. My entire right arm is a collage of The Beatles' Yellow Submarine cartoon characters, and I have two other tattoos that commemorate my favorite movies. Another tattoo of an inhaler symbolizes my lifelong comedic struggle with asthma. I even have a tattoo on my butt celebrating my love of butts. At first I was really careful with the planning of each tattoo, which is important for someone who doesn't know what they want. Over time I've learned exactly who I am and what's important to me. From there, it's easy. There's hardly any decision process anymore. I just know!
2. What was the process like? Painful? Any funny anecdotes of the process?
I've never sat for a tattoo longer than 3 hours since I mostly have small pieces that are pieced together. The process is not as painful as I originally imagined tattoos to be. I think I have a high tolerance for pain combined with some genetically thick skin. The butt tattoo was the strangest sensation. In order to get a butt tattoo, you have to bend over a table with your pants down. I was also positioned toward the front door for passers by to enjoy an eyeful of Meg. When Gav started tattooing me, my butt muscles couldn't help but contract every time anything happened. A comedy of errors!
3. Who's the tattoo artist to whom you entrust the task? Do you give a lot of direction?
I've entrusted the task to many different tattoo artists. Depending on the artist and the piece of work I want, I either bring in existing artwork from an illustrator or I have the artist draft up an original piece. I'm lucky enough to have so many illustrator friends, a lot of my tattoos have been drawn by them and perfected by the tattoo artist. Here's a guide to who's done each of my tattoos:
Right Beatles Arm, Round Man's Face, Finger Tattoos: Angus Hendry
Equality sign, Royal Tenenbaums, Clockwork Orange, Walrus: Nathan Blankenship
Pinecone & Inhaler: Artists at Saint Sabrina's in Minneapolis
Rat: Dick Verdammt
Cat Head Björn & Butt Tattoo (not pictured): Knarly Gav
New York City Sardine Can: Duke Riley
Good Vibrations Space Portal: Mimifats
Palm Tattoos: Unknown artist on Hollywood Blvd
5. What do your parents think? Or are we outing you on the internet right now?
I am lucky enough to have incredibly supportive parents who are so thrilled that I'm living a life as my true self. They taught me to be extremely self-confident and have always let me express my personality in any way I want. They are truly the model of what every parent should be like and I am so thankful for them every day. They are genuinely interested every time I get a new tattoo and have never given me an ounce of judgment. I'm a lucky girl!
6. What would you say to someone who is on the fence about getting a tattoo?
If you're on the fence, don't get a tattoo! If you haven't gotten a tattoo yet before, wait a year from the time you have your initial idea. If you're still just as jazzed as you were a year ago, it's time. However if you're never 100% positive about a tattoo, you probably shouldn't get it. But, if you're like me and live your life without regrets, Heck yes, friend, go for it!
7. Anything else you'd like to add that we haven't asked?
Anyone who judges people harshly for having tattoos is a Butthole Bob. As long as a person is happy and living a healthy life without hurting anyone else, they should be allowed to do whatever they please with their own body. It makes me sad to hear negative comments about tattoos as I know it comes from a place of personal insecurity for that person. For anyone reading this, open your mind and learn to be excited by those who are different from you. That's one of the best parts of life!