With temperatures in Vegas soaring to a whopping 110 degrees, summer invites the freedom of flowy clothing, short sleeves and sandals which in turn reveals skin and tattoos otherwise trapped under sweaters and socks. And all I want to do is gander and take pictures.
I wasn't always curious about other people's tattoos, but a heightened awareness developed when I was planning to get my first -- much in the same way that once you decide on the kind of new car you are going to buy, all of a sudden you notice that car on the road a lot more. While the images attract me as I would be attracted to a patterned fabric or mural, I also like the story and whim associated with tattoos. Not to mention a degree of bravery.
The more I think about body decoration, the more I liken it to interior design. In both instances, one is dealt a prescribed amount of surface area and volume (forget renovations and additions for the sake of my point) on which to dole out color, pattern, and scale with intention. Placement of tattoos on the body is sort of like a furniture plan or an electrical plan that is more fixed. There are big important furnishings that take up more volume and budget, and then the accessory items. This heirarchy exists in tattooing too, with customization for both house and body decoration requiring patience and lead time. And while your clients want a room that is fully functional, I personally adhere to the concept of a house that is never "done", meaning there is room for another cool occasional chair, or an object on the bookshelf, or a paintings over a doorway. There's always room for one more smallish tattoo placed just so.
Alas, see what some of my new and old design industry friends are wearing on their skin.
At Sunpan, I spied Kelli Ellis's Fearless Journey tattoo (an image created by digital artist Zhelong Xu) through a peek-a-boo opening in the back of her blouse. Offering to pull up her shirt and let me see the rest, I suggested she send me a photo of the whole image instead which she did (above). Kelli also pointed out her Wonder Woman tat which suits her kind and indomitable personality. She and her two daughters also have several tattoos in common. They each wear a Triskelion, a Celtic talisman which depicts the sacred number 3 and represents the ideal balance of mind, body, and soul. And then they also all have the "100" emoji. "They can't all be deep," Kelli says. Laguna Tattoo in Laguna Beach is where Kelli goes to get inked; she got her first one when she was in college.
Public relations guru Andrew Joseph is happy to be working in a creative field where self-expression is valued and appreciated. He views tattoos as permanent fashion accessories. Andrew got his first tattoo, the VItruvian Man, at 36. When he opened Andrew Joseph PR he got the serpent tattoo which is also his company logo, chosen for its powerful rejuvanation symbolism. All of Andrew's tattoos relate to his love of design and the art of storytelling. He says, "Public Relations is certainly about perception and I believe I am conveying that I am original and unique if not just a little rebellious and fun. " Joseph is loyal to the work of artist Blaise Locasio's of Ink Inc. Tattooing of Saugerties.
Here are a few tattoos that caught my eye at Las Vegas Market:
Christie Zumbrunnen, VP of Creative at Trio, rocks an incredible epaulette tattoo / Happy feet are decorated with natural motifs and a pair of Tory Burch ballet flats / Joseph Haecker, recently annointed "Digital Nomad" and creator of FB's Design Talk Live, is branded with his show's logo etc. /From Irma Shaw Designs, spied at Wendover Art, (and that's Thom FIlicia as hand model pointing out various body decor), Nicole Sears and Kayla Sandridge bear San Diego coordinates on their forearms. Nicole also sports a totally hip giraffe which caught Thom's eye as well.
(Lead photo: Adapted from a painting by Alexander Calder, these forearms belong to me and my boyfriend.)