Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Anja's Ink: Not Your Type-ical Tattoos

One of my favorite tattoo encounters in 2011 has yet to see the light of these Tattoosday pages.

How can this be? You’d think I’d be rushing to post wonderful tattoos but, in some cases, I have what can only be described as blogger’s block. I can go around this encounter and “save it for a rainy day,” but those days turn into weeks, which become monrths, until I see an anniversary approaching on the horizon.

Such was the case with Anja, a native New Zealander who I chanced upon last July in front of K-Mart in the Penn Station concourse.

What stopped me dead in my tracks when I spotted her was that she was covered in text:




She had words inked on her flesh, all different fonts, but not just scrawled, but arranged artistically in a type-setter’s fashion. It was like she was wearing a collection of Ina Saltz’s greatest hits.

And here’s the rub: I think that the complexity of the tattooed words running across her body gave me pause. How would I explain this coherently?

So let me try.

Anja’s clusters of words are poetry, but not poems; they are love letters to family members, and they are deeply personal. The photo above was deliberately framed in a way so that the reader could not necessarily see each entire piece. In this way, Anja maintains ownership of the tattoos and their sentiments.

She has these words assigned in different fonts to members of her family, her mother and her sisters. For example, her tattoo for one sister is in a “Loki Cola” font that resembles the Coca-Cola script and reads




“Under/Flesh/Within/Breast/This/Heart/Holds/Heidi”

Here’s a complete piece for her sister Saskia, using the Konspiracy Theory font:




The verse reads “Saskia/Skin/Belly/Laugh/The/Very/Inside”.

Each piece is a work of beauty.

Anja came to New York specifically to be tattooed by Stephanie Tamez, an accomplished artist outright, but whose reputation as a master of inking type is unsurpassed. Stephanie is based out of Saved Tattoo in Brooklyn.

Anja also shared this tattoo on her left hand:




She explained,
“This is my newest one [as on July 2011]. It’s an egret, or heron. Kotuku in New Zealand … me and my sister got one of these together. [The artist, Gypsy Nation] actually tattooed it on himself as well. He’s Native American and has the heron in his family.”
Gypsy Nation did the tattoo at Fineline Tattoo on the Lower East Side of New York, but has since moved on.

Thanks to Anja for sharing these wonderful tattoos with us here on Tattoosday, and for waiting so patiently for me to post them.

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