My Arm Tattoo

From reader Alex: Is your tattoo of a dreamcatcher? Is there some sort of meaning behind it?

This tattoo, which I got right after I moved out to LA following graduation, is my own design: a mix between a dreamcatcher, a star, and a compass. It used to have little white accents, but apparently white ink fades very quickly.

When I brought my drawing of what I wanted into the tattoo parlor I sort of expected the artist to use it more as inspiration than as a template – you know, bump it up a bit – but he basically just copied my exact doodle, wonky lines and all. I was initially a little less-than-thrilled with the result – if you look closely, you can see that the spikes are uneven and that the “glow” that I requested around the star looks a bit more like smudgy bruises than luminescence – but now I love it exactly because it’s so imperfect, and so personal. I’ve never regretted getting it for a second, although it has meant a few extra minutes in the makeup chair on occasion (airbrushing machines cover up tattoos flawlessly, and many makeup artists even add a few tiny freckles to the area to make it completely natural-looking).

My other tattoos: two stephanotis flowers (for good luck and travel) and a gemini sign (sigh – I was 18, moving on) on my lower back (sigh again – I was 18, moving on), and a “K” on my foot (for guess who?).

Recommended NYC tattoo parlor: Addiction Ink, on St. Mark’s Place. Kendrick, my mom, my dad and I have all gotten tattoos there (they did the flowers on my back), and they do gorgeous work.

Photo credit: Bevan Mahaney.

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