I’ve wanted a tattoo for years. I love the way a good design looks and the way it becomes part of a person. I love the way they can mark a moment in your life and make you look at your own body in a new light. I love the way it’s a beautiful piece of artwork that you can carry around with you for the rest of your life. I wanted a design for a tattoo I was sure I would love forever but I could never think of anything that I didn’t change my mind about after a few months. When Simon wrote a guest post about tattoos for this blog last October, I considered it again but no decent ideas sprung to mind so I reverted to thinking that tattoos just weren’t for me. My main problem was that the tattoos I absolutely love are all large designs, and I just couldn’t think of something big that would suit me.
A while ago, I was talking to Amanda (who got the outline of a beautiful new piece done just last week) about someone who’d had a flower on her ankle added to, until the plant was ‘growing’ all the way up her leg and across her back. I loved the idea of a design that could be added to like that, leaving the option of starting small and building into a tattoo of the size and complexity I love. Once this idea lodged in my head, I started thinking about which plant I would like to have growing across my skin if I was to go for something like that, and the answer was obvious: roses. From the Ladybird book of Snow-White and Rose-Red I owned as a child and the climbing roses that grew up the front of our house back then, to the rose on the cover of Depeche Mode’s Violator album, they have always had lots of meaning for me. Anton Corbijn’s cover art for what is still one of my favourite albums was actually my first ever, swiftly dismissed, tattoo design consideration in the 1990s.
My favourite flowers are yellow roses, but I’d have to ditch the colour in this instance because that would never suit me. Still, I have had the beginnings of this idea for months now and am still not bored of it. I like botanical drawings of roses, with their many leaves, and know that I would like something like that done in a delicate monochrome style, but that and the placement is as far as I’ve got with my planning. Working it all out slowly is definitely best before putting needle to skin, but it looks like I might actually be onto something this time.
I have a reprint of Albert Sebus' A Cabinet of Natural Curiosities, an 18th century natural history catalogue (http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/gallery/2011/may/09/albertus-seba-cabinet-natural-curiosities) It's stunning and I am dying to get something out of it tattooed, if I could only pick one!