bob

hello

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hi all

looking to get my first tattoo and looking for some advice, tips and opinions.

thanks!

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guess i can't post on other forum headings, so i'll post here.  hopefully someone will see and reply.

my wife of 13 years passed away recently.  i am thinking of getting her signature on my wrist.  i was also thinking of having a tattoo of birds flying away from her signature, 13 of them to be exact.

meaning:  for her signature, it just makes me feel better seeing her name on my wrist every day.  as for the birds, 13, obviously for the number of years we've been together.  but also birds flying away because i believe that she is now free from all the pain that she suffered in this life and is now in a better place.

questions:

1.  she was the love of my life.  but i'm only 37, so will having a tattoo of my late wife's name cause issues with future relationships?  

2. do bird tattoos have any other hidden meaning that i don't know about?  also are birds too feminine?  any suggestions to make it more masculine?

3. any thoughts or opinions on location?  the picture shows the fake tattoo i got in las vegas to see what it would look like, but i'm thinking i want the birds to be towards the outer arm so that's it's visible to others, but i fear i won't be able to see it.  thoughts?

4. any other tips or advice for first time tattoo?

thanks everyone!

20170408_122832.jpg

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Firstly, sorry for your loss, a remembrance tattoo is nice.

I do think however that if you are already worried about its impact on future relationships then perhaps having it in such a prominent place is not a great idea I think it could cause you a few issues in the future.

Also, the design is indeed feminine, in my head you will run into a lot of scenarios where you will have to defend it, which might be quite painful to keep bringing up for you.

just my thoughts, whatever you do I'm sure it will be great.

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First off, I am very sorry for your loss. I can't imagine the pain you are feeling.

Remembrance tattoos have deep personal meaning and a tremendous tradition...but remember that they are (unless you want to go the laser route) permanent. A signature will always be there to remind you of her, but it will also always be there in the future and, at your age the odds are great that you will eventually enter into another relationship.

In terms of the concept of appearing feminine there are many examples where traditionally feminine images are unisex in application in tattooing. Roses and other flowers are a prime example that are seen in tattoos on many people. In the end, this design is yours - it holds deep meaning for you - and I would personally not even give this issue a second thought if, in the end, it was the design that achieved your desired goals. You don't have to defend yourself to anyone.

I would suggest several things. First, seek out a good artist and have a face to face consult about your ideas. Seek out an artist with a great reputation for listening to the desired outcomes of the client - not someone who will just do what you ask. Talk with him/her about your intent and get guidance on placement, design, and style. Talk about options. For example, instead of a signature, is there some other symbol that had deep meaning to your wife (or perhaps you both), that can replace the signature? That approach might be a way to achieve your intent yet not present future issues in another relationship. The artist might also offer a design on the birds that appear more "masculine" if that's a concern for you.

Next, I would suggest you let some time pass before you commit and have the work done. Of course, I am not sure how long it has been since your wife passed, but emotions can cloud our decisions and since this is generally a permanent thing, you might want to wait until the initial grief passes and then make your final commitment to go ahead or not. Getting your first tattoo is stressful enough. Doing under the pressure and grief of losing one's spouse is much more difficult. Don't let grief drive your decision. You have one chance to get this right so take the time it deserves. An impulse choice is generally not good under any circumstance.

In the end, go with what achieves your intent and makes you happy. There is an argument that says that no matter what happens in the future, you will always have an attachment to your wife and no future person you enter into a relationship should expect that you would forget her so the signature shouldn't matter. Still, I would seriously consider finding some symbol to replace it...but that's just my opinion.

I hope I've helped a bit. I am sure others will chime in as well. Again, I am so very sorry for your loss.

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Mark, spot on... @Devious6

Bob, there are some very wise people here (like Mark). Take your time as you move through your process. You'll know when the time is right and the design is right.  I echo the thought of finding a symbol instead of the signature but again, the decision is yours.

Very sorry for your loss.

 

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I'm so sorry for your loss.

Some great advice here. I'll be totally honest—I don't love the tattoo idea. It is very literal, and the placement is very prominent. I think you could have a remembrance that was more subtle and symbolic. Give it a lot of thought before you decide.

Edited by oboogie

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thank you all for your input and honesty.  and your condolences.

it's been 6 months 9 days since i lost her.

personally, i have no issues with a signature. i agree with devious6 that any future relationship i may have should accept that my wife was (and is) a part of my life.  however, i am conflicted.  i love seeing her signature there but i think i also think that a symbol would be better.  unfortunately, i'm not very creative and i can't really think of any symbol that would represent her or us, or that would remind me of her.

in terms of location, i do want something that i can see everyday and don't mind it being prominent.  i work in a business environment so am always wearing a long sleeve shirt.  so i don't think that's an issue.

initially i liked the idea of the birds, but after getting this fake tattoo, i started having second thoughts about how it looked.  one of the reasons i thought i'd ask a knowledgeable forum for opinions.  i am looking at this tattoo as permanent and the fact that i have second thoughts makes me feel like i need to put more thought into it.

devious6, thank you so much for your detailed response.  you summarized very clearly what took me days (and weeks) of reading various articles online.  i do intend to seek out a good artist that can help me with design.  i believe it may help if i start off with an idea so he/she will have something to work with. so that's what i'm working on.

another thought i had was to start with a smaller tattoo.  we were together for 13 years (more if you count dating), so for more than half the time, she never signed any notes with her name.  just "xox" or "me".  i was thinking of getting a tattoo of that in her handwriting.  however it's so small that i wonder where to put it that i can always see.  initially i thought about somewhere on my hand/fingers but i'm a bit concerned that it's a location that can never be hidden.  thoughts or opinions on that?

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Bob,

I think most people here will counsel against having your first tattoo be on your hands, neck or face. You've hit on the fact that they will always be exposed - not that it's bad but that it is a commitment that is best saved for after one is more comfortable and confident in one's new body image and how it is perceived by others. Of course, with just 3 posts it's hard for us to gage your situation but you should think long and hard about the hand option. Some people opt for very small tattoos, but you've already noted the issue of size. Small can get lost - and the mantra of Go Big or Go Home rings loudly here. :1_grinning:

Taking the time to consider your options, to consult with an artist, to reflect on the potential options of design and placement seems the smartest thing to do. Having second thoughts about a design isn't necessarily bad or unusual...especially one's first few. I can tell you that I had great second thoughts on mine. The first because ....it was the first and there were so many unknowns despite taking a lot of time to research. The second one was because that one has a very specific meaning to me as well and I stressed about whether it would truly represent my intent. I finally just stopped worrying and let my artist take over - I was confident he knew my intent and let him express it through his talent.

Although it is not totally the same as yours, my second tattoo is reflective of my experiences in the Pentagon on 9/11/01. I was in the area hit by the plane and helped with the evacuation. There are several times that, looking back, I know I was close to not getting out and things I saw and heard are seared in my memory. In fact, there is a period of time that is blanked out in my mind - when I think of it I can only conjure up thoughts of green grass, blue skies and hear birds chirping..surely not what I was looking at as I peered out one of the windows onto where the plane had slammed into the building minutes earlier. As I went through the tattoo design I had a good idea of the big picture and worked back and forth with the artist. I'm sure I drove him crazy. The final design has an eagle standing amid rubble. It stands on one large piece that is in the shape of a pentagon - I actually was given a piece of the destroyed Pentagon façade that is shaped in a Pentagon and has my name, rank and the date on it. In the final design, I had the date, 9-11-01, in the center of the shape where the eagle stands. In the weeks leading up to getting the work done, I talked back and forth with my wife about it. She knew my intent and didn't attempt to sway my thoughts because she knew how much it meant - it was to be done the day before the 15th anniversary of the attack. But, I also knew that she was impacted that day. She knew, ultimately, that I was in the area where the plane had hit and didn't hear from me for hours afterwards. Later, she also realized that I beat Death several times that day so she, too, had an emotional tie to the day. I realized that she would be looking at that tattoo every day, like me, and that the prominent visualization of the date, 9-11-01, would be a stark reminder for her of what she calls the worst day of her life. At the last minute - I have a picture of me with the stencil on my arm with the date in the center of the piece of rubble just before my artist started the tattoo - I told the artist not to add the date. Instead, he shaded it. That was the very best decision I made - Lynn's feelings in this case transcended mine and I am glad that I let the art depict the emotions, not the date. I know what it means and the meaning is intensely personal. I don't have to explain it to others...or I can if I choose.

So, I hope I haven't lost you so far...and I haven't offended you. I offer my story as an example of how your tattoo might affect a future relationship and how, sometimes, a less literal tribute can be even more powerful since, in the end, the meaning is yours.

If you opt to avoid the signature idea, don't be so literal in your thoughts about symbology. Perhaps there was a place you liked to go together, an activity you enjoyed together, a book, a movie, a song,,,all of those things could be turned into a design that would be reflective of your time and your love.

Time is the key. Don't rush it. Waiting 15 years to get my 9/11/01 tribute was the best thing I could have done and it took about a year in planning - I even got my first tattoo before that one. Anything this important deserves your best thoughts and the emotions, I am sure, are still very strong at this point. Find the artist you trust first. Talk with him/her and with others you respect about your ideas and your intent. I guarantee you will find the right design. No matter what you do, it is yours and should reflect your desires. Just don't move so quickly that the emotions of the moment cloud the possibility of a design that has a deeper, long-lasting impact.

Mark

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7 hours ago, bob said:

thank you all for your input and honesty.  and your condolences.

it's been 6 months 9 days since i lost her.

personally, i have no issues with a signature. i agree with devious6 that any future relationship i may have should accept that my wife was (and is) a part of my life.  however, i am conflicted.  i love seeing her signature there but i think i also think that a symbol would be better.  unfortunately, i'm not very creative and i can't really think of any symbol that would represent her or us, or that would remind me of her.

in terms of location, i do want something that i can see everyday and don't mind it being prominent.  i work in a business environment so am always wearing a long sleeve shirt.  so i don't think that's an issue.

initially i liked the idea of the birds, but after getting this fake tattoo, i started having second thoughts about how it looked.  one of the reasons i thought i'd ask a knowledgeable forum for opinions.  i am looking at this tattoo as permanent and the fact that i have second thoughts makes me feel like i need to put more thought into it.

devious6, thank you so much for your detailed response.  you summarized very clearly what took me days (and weeks) of reading various articles online.  i do intend to seek out a good artist that can help me with design.  i believe it may help if i start off with an idea so he/she will have something to work with. so that's what i'm working on.

another thought i had was to start with a smaller tattoo.  we were together for 13 years (more if you count dating), so for more than half the time, she never signed any notes with her name.  just "xox" or "me".  i was thinking of getting a tattoo of that in her handwriting.  however it's so small that i wonder where to put it that i can always see.  initially i thought about somewhere on my hand/fingers but i'm a bit concerned that it's a location that can never be hidden.  thoughts or opinions on that?

here is a good pov from a prominent artist.

http://timhendricks.com/?p=5944

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Thanks for sharing that story Mark, I didn't know that about you. 

 

As for the OP- one idea could be some kind of banner tattoo (rose, heart, whatever you like) with her signature in the banner. I'm sorry for your loss and agree that future relationships will be aware that your wife remains a part of of your life  tattoo or not. 

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4 hours ago, Devious6 said:

Bob,

I think most people here will counsel against having your first tattoo be on your hands, neck or face. You've hit on the fact that they will always be exposed - not that it's bad but that it is a commitment that is best saved for after one is more comfortable and confident in one's new body image and how it is perceived by others. Of course, with just 3 posts it's hard for us to gage your situation but you should think long and hard about the hand option. Some people opt for very small tattoos, but you've already noted the issue of size. Small can get lost - and the mantra of Go Big or Go Home rings loudly here. :1_grinning:

Taking the time to consider your options, to consult with an artist, to reflect on the potential options of design and placement seems the smartest thing to do. Having second thoughts about a design isn't necessarily bad or unusual...especially one's first few. I can tell you that I had great second thoughts on mine. The first because ....it was the first and there were so many unknowns despite taking a lot of time to research. The second one was because that one has a very specific meaning to me as well and I stressed about whether it would truly represent my intent. I finally just stopped worrying and let my artist take over - I was confident he knew my intent and let him express it through his talent.

Although it is not totally the same as yours, my second tattoo is reflective of my experiences in the Pentagon on 9/11/01. I was in the area hit by the plane and helped with the evacuation. There are several times that, looking back, I know I was close to not getting out and things I saw and heard are seared in my memory. In fact, there is a period of time that is blanked out in my mind - when I think of it I can only conjure up thoughts of green grass, blue skies and hear birds chirping..surely not what I was looking at as I peered out one of the windows onto where the plane had slammed into the building minutes earlier. As I went through the tattoo design I had a good idea of the big picture and worked back and forth with the artist. I'm sure I drove him crazy. The final design has an eagle standing amid rubble. It stands on one large piece that is in the shape of a pentagon - I actually was given a piece of the destroyed Pentagon façade that is shaped in a Pentagon and has my name, rank and the date on it. In the final design, I had the date, 9-11-01, in the center of the shape where the eagle stands. In the weeks leading up to getting the work done, I talked back and forth with my wife about it. She knew my intent and didn't attempt to sway my thoughts because she knew how much it meant - it was to be done the day before the 15th anniversary of the attack. But, I also knew that she was impacted that day. She knew, ultimately, that I was in the area where the plane had hit and didn't hear from me for hours afterwards. Later, she also realized that I beat Death several times that day so she, too, had an emotional tie to the day. I realized that she would be looking at that tattoo every day, like me, and that the prominent visualization of the date, 9-11-01, would be a stark reminder for her of what she calls the worst day of her life. At the last minute - I have a picture of me with the stencil on my arm with the date in the center of the piece of rubble just before my artist started the tattoo - I told the artist not to add the date. Instead, he shaded it. That was the very best decision I made - Lynn's feelings in this case transcended mine and I am glad that I let the art depict the emotions, not the date. I know what it means and the meaning is intensely personal. I don't have to explain it to others...or I can if I choose.

So, I hope I haven't lost you so far...and I haven't offended you. I offer my story as an example of how your tattoo might affect a future relationship and how, sometimes, a less literal tribute can be even more powerful since, in the end, the meaning is yours.

If you opt to avoid the signature idea, don't be so literal in your thoughts about symbology. Perhaps there was a place you liked to go together, an activity you enjoyed together, a book, a movie, a song,,,all of those things could be turned into a design that would be reflective of your time and your love.

Time is the key. Don't rush it. Waiting 15 years to get my 9/11/01 tribute was the best thing I could have done and it took about a year in planning - I even got my first tattoo before that one. Anything this important deserves your best thoughts and the emotions, I am sure, are still very strong at this point. Find the artist you trust first. Talk with him/her and with others you respect about your ideas and your intent. I guarantee you will find the right design. No matter what you do, it is yours and should reflect your desires. Just don't move so quickly that the emotions of the moment cloud the possibility of a design that has a deeper, long-lasting impact.

Mark

Mark, you are so kind and sweet. I'm so glad I know you, friend!

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devious6, thank you again.  and thank you for sharing such a personal story.  i understand the intent of the story and how it relates to me and my choice.  i initially intended to get a tattoo on her birthday in June this year, but i will not rush the process just to make that date.

i think maybe i'll look around and find a local artist and see if they can help inspire me and help me decide on a tattoo that will honor my wife and the love i will always have for her.  something i will be proud to have and remind me of her.

 

dan, thanks for sharing that article.  it was a very interesting read.

 

question to all: is it rude, inappropriate or poor etiquette to discuss ideas with a tattooist but end up not getting a tattoo with that person?

also, i'm in the san francisco bay area, specifically santa cruz.  anyone have any recommendations?

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Hey! There are so many great artists in San Fran. Start checking out some of these shops...see what resonates with you. IMO, yes, it's not cool to work with a tattoo artist then not get something from them. Again, in my mind, you are pumping them for information, using their time and not paying for it. I suggest going to shops, looking at their books and flash and getting a general vibe from the shop. Look at the different styles, see what resonates with you. Instagram will be your friend in doing your research! These are four that popped into my head at 6:15 this morning. There are a bunch more shops..

Black Heart: https://www.instagram.com/blackhearttattoo/ (Scott Sylvia started this forum!)

Tattoo City: https://www.instagram.com/tattoo_city/

Idle Hands: https://www.instagram.com/idlehandsf/

Spider Murphys: https://www.instagram.com/spidermurphystattoo/

 

 

 

 

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