Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Tattoo Tuesday V.74

Name and blog name: Sara Marie //  Little Yellow Kitten

Age: 28
Occupation: High School Art Teacher

Age of first tattoo: 18

Favorite tattoo: My yellow finch

Featured tattoo/location: Ferdinand the Finch on my left foot

Artist/shop/location of feature tattoo:
Mez Love formally of Katalyst Koncepts in Fort Collins, CO and now of Tattoo Bugaloo in San Francisco


1) Tell us about your featured tattoo- is there a background story or special meaning? Why did you choose this particular piece of art?

Ferdinand the Finch on my left foot: This tattoo is for my mom (although she rolled her eyes and said that was just an excuse when I told her that! oh mom!). We are incredibly close and she has taught me so much!  She really did an amazing job instilling a love of plants and nature in me that I still cultivate to this day.  When I was little she used to point out when the yellow finches would come to make a nest in our back yard and then we would enjoy watching them make the nest, waiting for the babies to hatch, and watching the babies grow.  I also wanted to incorporate one of her favorite flowers, blue bachelor's buttons, in the tattoo as well.  This is my first highly visible tattoo so I wanted to make sure that it was done right and I knew that I wanted Mez to do it for her highly realistic style.  I pretty much had to beg Mez to do this tattoo.  She was in the process of moving from Colorado to California and wasn't accepting any new clients.  I panicked that day and wrote her a long email about how she HAD to do the tattoo and we even had the same amazing high school art teacher and this tattoo was always planned with her doing it!!! She was gracious enough to do the tattoo after all my begging and pleading.  She is amazing artist and an amazing person. 


2) Do you have any other tattoos?  If so, what do you have and where?

I do! On my 18th birthday I walked into a tattoo shop to get my first tattoo of a fish on my lower back (this was before the term "tramp stamp").  While waiting for the artist to draw it up I received a call from my mom saying "I know where you are at.  Can you please just wait a day?”  Although I felt bad I stood up and informed the artist I would be back tomorrow.  I also have flowers going around both sides of my hips, a star with ivy around it on my chest and my back piece of two poppies and a spider mum, which is a giant, cover up of a poorly planned tattoo when I was 18. 

When kids ask me about getting tattoos I looove to tell them the story of my back tattoo.   It originally started out as a tattoo of the pagan symbol of the maiden mother crone or also called the triple goddess.  Although I am not a pagan I love the symbolism behind the maiden mother crone of the three stages of womanhood represented by a full moon and two crescent moons on its side.  However this tattoo was so poorly planned out on so many levels.  I presented the idea to a complacent tattoo artist who presented it back to me as a solid black tattoo.  Being 18, not very confident, and not wanting to hurt his feelings I said okay.  How stupid I was!  He used the wrong size needle so it faded terribly over the first two years and I got a lot of questions of what in the world my tattoo was.  The most popular guess was a bat.  As I grew older and wiser the tattoo became more and more embarrassing.  When I was planning my wedding in 2008 I was so uncomfortable with the idea that I had acquired all these other beautiful tattoos and the only one that was going to be visible during my wedding was the one I was not at all happy with.  So I had Heide Unger of Millennium Tattoo in Fort Collins, who travels the country teaching other tattoo artists how to do cover-ups, fix the tattoo.  It took over 12 hours, 4 sittings, and a lot of money to completely hide a terrible solid black tattoo.


3) Do you plan on getting more?

Yes! But no! I don't know!  I have a lot of ideas but my husband laughs at me because every time I get a tattoo I say it is the last. I have lots of ideas and it seems like I change my mind a lot so I have found that if I have an idea for a tattoo it is good for me to sit and think about it for a while (like years) and if I still want to do it then I start planning it.  For the longest time I have wanted a half sleeve of Quan Yin who is an eastern goddess of mercy and compassion.  However I don't know if this will ever come to fruition.  The idea of tattooing my arms is something that I am not comfortable with yet.  Probably the newest tattoo will be of a jeweled honeybee but I am still planning this one out in my head. 

4) How do your family and friends feel about your tattoo(s)?  Have you run into any adversity or negativity because of them? Do you have a significant other? Does he/she have tattoos?

Some of my friends are heavily tattooed so to them it isn't a problem (as seen in my lovely bridesmaids photo!).  My husband doesn't have any tattoos but he has never been shy about his support of me getting them.

On the flip side I somehow came out of two highly conservative parents. I was their free spirited wild child and an only child so looking back I have to laugh because there were times I know they had no clue what to do with me.  My mom was always hesitantly supportive when I would show up with pink hair but there were periods of time when my dad would just stop talking to me and then he would accept it and life would go on as normal.  When I started getting tattoos I think they honestly knew it was coming.  Still though, each time I get one I am always so nervous to show them!

I am also a high school teacher and when I started teaching I was very careful not to even admit that I had tattoos let alone show them to the kids.  I just wasn't comfortable going there. I was 23 when I started teaching and I didn't want to do anything that would make them think I was their friend and not their teacher.   I was also being protective of my job as well.   The town I live in is changing but it still somewhat conservative.  I just assumed that showing tattoos was not okay for a teacher to do.  Once I got tenure as a teacher I put my stud back in my nose and realized that there are some teachers at my current school with visible tattoos and I started planning my foot tattoo.  I also realized that in my job I am completely professional and I do a good job trying to be the best teacher I can be.  Having one visible tattoo wasn't going to discredit the reputation I had built.  I am also extremely lucky to teach in an amazing school with an amazing staff that focuses on the important things, like what is best for kids, and not superficial things.  Now my bird is usually out in the open and I don't mind telling kids the story of my back as well.  They usually find it entertaining and hopefully they learn from my mistake.

5) Any advice for those interested in getting tattooed but haven't gotten one yet?

It hurts. A lot.  A bunch of needles jabbing into your skin isn't going to feel good and your body is going to react.  Concentrate on your breathing while getting tattooed and bring a snack!  This will help your blood sugars level out.   

Get ready for the attention.  The biggest reason I don't have many tattoos that I can't cover up is because some days I don't want to show my tattoos. Some days I really love showing them off and some days I just want to run my errands and not have someone stop me and ask if it hurt or if my mom knows I have that tattoo on me. 

Do it for yourself!  Don't do it to fit in.  Don't do it because you think you should have one. And don't be impulsive about it! Do it because you genuinely want to wake up everyday and see that lovely piece of art on you.  Its also okay if your one tattoo doesn't wrap up every single defining moment in your life!  Sometimes tattoos can be about respecting the art form as well as documenting one part of yourself or one moment in time of your life.

Pick a really good artist that has the style that you want and has been tattooing for a while.  They are going to know what is best for what you want and where you want it on your body.  They are also artists permanently putting their art on you!


  1. This might be one of my favourite 'Tuesday's' so far! I love this story :)

  2. It's great to hear from a teacher with tattoos. Mine are only small, and I do feel I should keep them low key because of my job....but my mind is being swayed....

    Love all of this. :D

  3. I love that finch tattoo, it is really beautiful! I also love to see other tattooed teachers, makes me feel less alone as I sit here in my full length cardigan!


  4. Oh man I love that finch! It is so beautiful. By far my favorite tattoo shown on Tattoo Tuesday

  5. I think this is my favorite tattoo tuesday. I love the finch but I also love the story of reworking your back tattoo. everything is lovely.

  6. The designs are all great! I love it ;)

  7. I love the flowers and the finch! Beautiful. This is definitely one of my favourite Tatto Tuesday's!

    I also like the fact that she's a teacher. I'm in the process of becoming a highschool teacher and I have some visible piercings. I worried a lot about this and how this would affect the way my students would see me. I'm glad that I haven't noticed any differences, except a curious question now and then.

  8. I'm not a tattoo person but I do like the birdie one :)

    Very interesting about tattoos and teaching. I guess they always make you cover up?

    Our Growing Garden