What My Tattoos Mean to Me

 
 
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Daisy

The flower one is a representation of the women in my life who I admire. For instance, the rose is for my mother, that is her favorite, the orchid is for my sister, and the daisy is for myself. 

Ubuntu is a daily reminder that along your journey through life your community is there to support and for me everything I’ve accomplished has been because of those who have helped me along the way.



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Frances

I have my run crews logo tatted on my forearm.  I am a self taught runner who was determined to live a healthier & longer life. a lone runner for 7 years, running every morning, same routes, rain or shine; I lived to run, I run to live. I was in search of something more but I just didn’t know what. I felt something missing so I began a quest of filling this void. Fast forward to now; I am one of the Captains of the Pioneers Run Crew. I was able finally fill that void but also able to change & better myself. They’ve taught me to create my own spaces, go against what people think & just go for it. I’ve gained new friends, reached personal goals & have the privilege to inspire others to do so. Being part of this crew has open doors that I didn’t know even existed. So the tattoo is big, it’s loud & covers my forearm. This crew has changed my life completely in a way I never thought possible.


Victoria

Everyone calls me Vics 💕 I have a tortoise and a hare tattoo'd on my left and right calves as a nod to both my running life as well as Aesop's fables. Personally, I've never been the fastest or fittest runner, but what I lack in speed I make up for in fortitude and an iron-clad determination to always see a task through. For this reason, I rely on the hare on my left (dominant) leg to get the momentum going, and the tortoise on my right (weaker) leg to run with heart and finish strong. My other quarter sleeve tattoo on my left arm is a tribute to being raised in a family involved in the restaurant industry and being the dessert baker of my family, but the colourful composition is also a reminder for me to enjoy life and not take things (myself included) too seriously. My newest tattoo of magpies on my right arm is there to bring good luck and love to my loved ones, as magpies are carriers of good fortune in Chinese culture.


Elizabeth

The number 350 represents how much I use to weigh.
350 represents an old life that I never want to revisit!
It’s also a daily reminder of how strong and resilient of a person I am.


 Lionell

Family and friends call me Mista. I have 14 tattoos, but I’ll talk about the four that mean a lot to me. Praying hands with quote  “Only God can judge me” in life I learned there will always be someone that’s has something to say about you. I keep this tattoo as a reminder, no matter what people say about you only the man above has the last say. My chest reads “Success is the best revenge”. In life I learned that things aren’t always going to go your way, in that process people are goin to do you wrong but the goal is to NOT stoop down to their level. Prove them wrong and show them how your growth is better then stooping to their level. Lastly other two tattoos are from my heritage.


Daena

Ok, so I have 3 tattoos. a lightning bolt on my right wrist, a half a heart with an angel wing on my left foot and my maiden name on the back of my neck. I value my maiden name because it’s my dad’s last name. although I don’t have his last name any longer, it’s still stamped on me, literally. The other two were dumb decisions when i turned 18 lmao


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Chris

My oldest son “Michael” is tattooed to my arm.
It means showing off the love I have for my son and how proud I am to be a dad.


Heather

Pakistan or Bust:

This is my newest and most cherished tattoo. This tattoo is a collage of some of the monuments I traveled to while visiting the country of Pakistan: Mohatta Palace, Empress Market, the National Mausoleum, the flag of Pakistan, a minaret, and Teen Talwar. The centerpiece of the tattoo is taken directly from a photograph. It is of myself and my friend atop a camel riding on Clifton beach which borders the Arabian Sea. The inspiration for this tattoo stems from many places. Before visiting I spent two years studying the country’s history. My interest turned into obsession and I desired to go no where else but Pakistan. After visiting, my heart only grew fonder. The world greatly lacks an understanding of this beautiful place and its people. And so, I decided to immortalize my experience in ink for the country, the people, and for the love of a place so beautiful my heart aches for others to see it. 

The Asp:

Cleopatra rescued herself from enslavement to the Roman Empire by allowing the bite of an Asp to poison her. She wasn’t going to let anyone control her future and I commend her decision with the same type of snake wrapped around my left forearm. 


Chris

A little about my tattoos:

While I've always appreciated the way people utilize their tattoos to convey a deeper sentiment or tell their story - mine simply don't. I enjoy the aesthetics and they make me feel confident and happy. I've met people who were perplexed by that notion, but to me, a flower tattoo is just a flower tattoo and you can get tattooed solely because you like them.


Orlando

As a kid, I always wanted to be tatted. I have an uncle I grew up with that had the old school barbed wired tribal around his bicep. I use to think it was so cool. From that point, I always wanted a tribal tattoo. As I got older, and that tattoo got outdated, I decided to research more on tribal tattoos. I came across Polynesian tattoos,  immediately I became fascinated with the artwork. Now the only problem was, what did I want to get?! Polynesian tattoo is very unique. It is its own language within itself. I researched for some time and always pushed it away because my parents did not agree with tattoos. I desperately wanted it, that I went to a well-known tattoo artist that many of my friends have gone to. Not knowing what I was going to do, I just asked him to wing it, so he did and this is the final product! I absolutely loved it, and still do. In the end, my father did not speak to me for about a week and my mother loved it. Was it well worth it? Fuck yeah!!


Jefferson

This was a way of staying close to my grandmother.


Nadine & Maria : )

So, Maria (mother) got her tattoo (the names of her two children) because family is very important to her and she wanted to have ‘us’ with her at all times.

 I (Nadine, daugther) got the lady portrait because to me, she symbolizes a strong, secure, independent and thriving woman - but at the same time she’s also very unique, loving, caring and vulnerable. All of those are attributes I consider to be quite important and I try to live by all of the above : )

ps: the feather underneath the portrait is a homage to my mom because she’s got the feather in our names too


Devon

I have a mix of meaningful tattoos and ones I got cause we’re here for a good time, not a long time.

The one reads, “Keep me in your heart, I’ll stay there forever.” Each word is written in one of my six siblings’ and my parents’ handwriting. I’m a big traveler so keeping a reminder of my loved ones everywhere I go is most important to me. 

“Half blade & half silk” is a quote from the poet Rupi Kaur. The particular poem is about women being told to stay quiet and complacent and sit pretty, but we were made to be strong and vibrant and full all on our owns. So this is my homage to women and my feminist beliefs. 

The upside triangle represents my spiritual and religious sides. It shows both my asotrological symbol, Scorpio which is a water sign, and then the three points of the triangle represent the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit. 

If you can see it in the picture, the little slice of lemon is one of those “here for a good time” tattoos.


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Anonymous

My tattoo represents Faith , Hope & Royal Love .. before the cross , it’s a small flatline (meaning I was dead , then after the heart there’s life).

My heart will always be open because life teaches you lessons all the time.


Sarah  

For my largest and favorite tattoo I chose a sleeve of yellow flowers that to me symbolize freshness, happiness, clarity, energy, optimism, and enlightenment. Personally, I love this tattoo so much because it is a piece of art I get to keep on my body for the rest of my life, no matter where it takes me. I wanted to do something bright and fun which is also why I chose yellow because is the brightest color of the visible spectrum making it the most noticeable color to the human eye.


Kristene

My spoon means a couple things to me.  First I love tea.  I drink far too much but, everything is better, easier to deal with, with tea. So I also love the accessories of tea, pretty cups and saucers, tea kettles, and obviously spoons, etc.  So that’s the base.  Next is my love for Istanbul, Turkey. It is my favorite city in the world. I maintain that it’s magic.  The Turks take tea very seriously. They use these delicate tulip shaped cups and small spoons.  So I felt like a tea spoon with Turkish elements (the hamsa hand and the floral motif) would be a good stand in for Istanbul and the place it holds in my heart.   So those are the most important meanings to me. The fact that my husband’s nickname is spoon is the cherry on top.


Abeo

Many of my tattoos represent strength, whether it’s 🇹🇹 along with my grandmothers’ names strategically placed on my arm, a reminder in Arabic, a majestic 🐘 or artwork featured in Rupi Kaur’s ‘Milk & Honey’.

||Marathon Continues|| 2015, I had a life changing surgery that encouraged me to view fears and challenges through a different lens. It led me to taking on a challenge I never envisioned for myself, the marathon. In 2017 I ran the Chicago Marathon against many odds that day. I included the date of my surgery (7/31/2015) and the marathon (10/8/2017) to honor this journey. I found my strength in Chicago and I’ve applied it in all areas of my life. This past April in Boston, I learned what I can do with that strength.

||Queen Supreme|| Atabey is the supreme Taino goddess representing earth and fertility. My tat guy, who’s Puerto Rican, donated all of his earnings from Taino and Puerto Rican inspired tattoos to help with hurricane relief. Shoutout to him for using his craft to show love back home. Ironically, I got this tattoo on the side where my remaining ovary lies. It’s a reminder to remain hopeful of my dreams of motherhood someday.


Giorgia

I started tattooing myself at the age of 18. I got my very first tattoo in the USA during a school trip in the summer of 1992: it was a Pegasus on my left shoulder. That tattoo is now covered and surrounded by many others I have on my back. I decided to have my sleeve done last winter and I wanted to have a Geisha whose face reminds me of my second and fourth daughter. I completed my arm with the Hannya demon mask (in honor of my first born daughter) and a chrysanthemum which symbolizes strength and positivity (like my son). This last sleeve tattoo I have was added to the butterflies and peach blossoms that were done years ago. An unusual element I have in the same composition (just above my elbow) is the Bon Jovi  “have a nice day”. The meaning here goes without saying... 😊


Milourdes

My tattoo's literal translation is "All the little pieces make me whole". It is written in my native language, Haitian Creole. I got this tattoo during a really challenging time in my life and I wanted to remind myself that though things may seem dark and falling to pieces, I can always pick-up those pieces and but them back together. Being broken is not the end, almost anything can be mended, including me. This was 4 years ago and I've since then learned how to properly read and write in my native language and realized that there's  a spelling error  and slight grammatical error (maybe more than one lol) but this has made me love my tattoo even more. My journey has been painful, joyful, messy and funny and this tattoo is a direct reflection of a particular moment.

My baby elephant is a reminder of the importance matriarchy. Elephants are one of the most intelligent creatures on earth and their families are led by the famales who show strength,  courage and unity to protect their young. I chose a baby one blowing up kisses to represent my son. A reminder for the moments I feel like my strength is being tested, a kiss of encouragement is all it takes for me to dig deeper.  


Leah

My tattoo means to me that no matter what any one thinks about me that if I put my mind to something I can do anything I want to do.


Hailey

I got my 1/2 sleeve after I became a mother. I saw a similar tattoo on a woman years ago.

I think tattoos can be empowering - mine is empowering for me.

I hope my daughter finds many ways throughout her life to feel the same way.


Tiffany

Cancer ribbon, purple / lavender standing for all different cancers.

My grandfather passed away from lung cancer.

F. M. were his initials and 40-04 (1940-2004) was the year he was born and the year he passed away.


Teresa

My tattoo represents Natural Beauty, Freedom, Faith, Love and Luck 🦋


Rebecca

My tattoo is of Marshmello, an EDM artist. I got it done on my first trip to Vegas for the Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC). It was a split decision but one I’ll never regret. This tattoo represents not just an artist that I love, but a time in my life I’ll never forget. Music is an important part my of life and my tattoo is a daily reminder that all I need is a good song to brighten my day and relieve my stress.


Sophie 

Trust Women is about trusting women when it comes to their body and reproductive choice. It stems from Dr. George Tiller, who was a physician and performed abortions in Kansas. He sadly was murdered by anti-choice extremists in 2009, and is remembered by the pin he wore each day that said “Trust Women”. Now, more than ever, women and others who are able to get pregnant face extreme scrutiny and are barred from making decisions when it comes to their own body. I think it’s extremely important that everyone have 100% bodily autonomy.


Ian

A tribute piece for my mother, who lost an 8 month fight with cancer two years ago. The four roses represent my three siblings and myself. I’m not sure if my backpack strap is covering it in the pictures you took, but there is a bumble bee hovering next to the roses that is meant to represent my mother’s selfless devotion to seeing each of her four children flourish. She was our mama bee.


Alex

My Tattoo is actually a coverup. So this time at art school....my friend bought a tattoo gun and wanted real time practice. So my close friends and I all agreed to let him test it out on us, and we all ended up getting tattooed on my neighbors couch. It was a red skull and cross bones, that I thought was sick until it blew out a week later. It didn’t bother me as much, because I got it on my thigh, so it was likely that nobody would see it. Fast forward some years, to when I started running and wearing skanky shorts. I had to fix it. I took the opportunity to cover up the the scar tissue with a traditional black panther(favorite animal). Now I can wear even more scandalous running shorts.


Jim

My Buddha tattoo on my shin reminds me to stay humble and to be at peace with myself. My right sleeve is dedicated to Luck and the protectors of such fortune. Left sleeve is all about asian culture i love the concept of finding peace within ourselves.

Becca

My sleeve is all about recovery, hence the clock pointing to 801 meaning August 1st my clean date So that’s the meaning with the “This too shall pass” and my daughters name with a crown at the top of my arm.


Nelson 

The alien tattoo I got was because I had been in the U.S. for so long as an Illegal alien. When I got My citizenship, I then went and got the American Eagle as my personal stamp.


Leah

All of my tattoos represent something about myself. While I want them to showcase a work of art, at the same time it's important for them to also hold meaning of what it means to truly be "me." Here are two of them: Tigers have always been my favorite animal. They are amazing creatures. They embody the traits that I admire the most and strive to always hold: beauty, passion, strength and power. I just always knew that the piece I wanted to be most visible and most striking would include just that.  The second piece shown is my Pisces tattoo, which is pretty self explanatory. I wanted to include the beautiful colors of the water to truly represent my water sign. I try not to buy too much into astrology and the zodiac, but I do believe it holds some truth. This was a simple way to represent my birthday, my inherent qualities, and myself.


Cole

Worlds greatest woman .......Lisa Storr my mother who’s the strongest person i know best cancer poverty moving to this country being a single mother just a tribute to her which isn’t finished yet.


Leandrew

I got this owl as an ode to my mother. All knowing, wiser than any one I know. Growing up, I felt like she always had her head on a swivel or radar because anytime I got into trouble, she would magically appear. 


sarah

The first tattoo is from my 18th birthday card. My dad passed away in 2015, so i got it in his handwriting in his memory. My arm pieces don’t necessarily have a specific meaning, i just thought they looked dope. The same sentiment goes for my head piece. The one on my calf came to me in a dream in memory of my father. His favorite bird was a hawk and butterflies signify passed loved ones and in the summer of 2015 i was seeing a lot of hawks and butterflies so i got a butterfly with a shadow of a hawk to commemorate my dad


Jel

Leg tattoo: got it because of my Pacific Islander culture, had it traditionally done in a form of an armor, for strength and protection. Right arm tattoo: got it because of my catholic up bringing. st Michael the Archangel is known as a warrior angel, and defender against evil. Got both tattoos during my time in the armed forces (served 13 years). Seems fitting to get.


Lauren

First  I gotta give credit where its due...I've been going to the same guy for over 10 years now: Jebb Riley at Redemption Tattoo in Cambridge is the absolute BEST. I met Jebb at a shop called Lightwave Tattoo in Saugus and that's where he did this gorgeous gypsy tattoo for me- the first of what became a full sleeve, followed by several others scattered across my other arm, back, leg and a MASSIVE 14 hour cover up masterpiece across my stomach, hip and ribcage, and finally ending with the Boston Terrier sailor on my right bicep. So, I'll be honest, the days of needing a reason or meaning to get a tattoo are long gone for me. Being somewhat of a contrarian, tattoos have always appealed to me simply because I thought they looked cool and they checked the anti establishment box. Now, of course, I've come to appreciate them as the works of art they truly are. That being said, sometimes I just want to enhance my aesthetic by getting a new tattoo in a certain place on my body and will start looking for ideas and inspiration then consult with Jebb to come up with something that I love, as I did with my gypsy. Then there are other times where I feel compelled to get a tattoo of something because it means so much to me, as I did with the tattoo of my dog, Floyd, who I consider my shipmate on this crazy journey of life, hence the sailor hat. 



Jeffrey

I always liked tattoos and when I got my first job those were one of those things I did, I was 22 at the time I'm 35 now and never got new tattoos hahaha.


Peter

I got these wolves on my chest for a couple reasons. I wanted this middle one to always be staring out front making eye contact with whoever is in front of me, and the two on the sides create a focal point, so it’s like they’re bearing down on whoever or whatever is in front of me. I guess the wolves are kind of how I feel about life in general - whatever or whoever is in front of me - I’m coming and I’m not stopping until I disembowel you like a pack of wolves on a moose. I got the smiley face because this girl I was seeing drew it on my wrist, the eyes are two small scars I had from surgery, so then I got it tatted because it looked sick.


Rachel

The pinup on my arm is modeled after the Secretary with Maggie Gylenhal. I love the character she played in that movie, this woman who isn’t embarrassed to claim her own sexuality. Women should be able to claim their sexuality without judgement. It’s a bold statement. The elephant on my leg is designed by the Spanish surrealist painter Salvador Dali. The symbolism is that, no matter how weak we feel, our baggage is never too heavy for us to keep moving forward. I admire that symbolism, but I also just love elephants and the unique aesthetic Dali created. 


Christine

Rose: my Nanas name was Rose. She died when I was a sophomore in college  her favorite color was pink and she always put her head on that shoulder when we hugged. Circles and lines: I’m a huge nerd and I love dungeons and dragons. In dungeons and dragons you make life and death saving throws when you fall to 0 HP. You don’t die. You have 3 more chances. 


Carmelo 

 On my left forearm I have a anchor with my mothers name on it like a anchor my mother always held me down she was always there for me through my ups and downs on my right forearm I have a cross piercing my arm with in loving memory and my grandmothers name on it.The cross piercing my arm just symbolizes the pain I felt when we loss her.


Christian

The lion one represents being courageous and strong even in the toughest battles and challenges from life.  

The other is to always be confident and not let doubt cloud your perception. 

And my astronauts  is when music takes me out of this world 



roya

Dream catcher tattoo: i never had one growing up, i thought maybe life would be different with the perspective of imagination of what a dream catcher does. spontaneously, i decided to finally get one, permanently so i never had to worry about what my limitations are. Mandala (long arm piece): i wanted something different, creative, big, yet simplistic because that is my personal style. i was inspired by a photo that wasn’t an actual tattoo and wanted to bring it to life. i did just that, and it’s like my mantra. it’s the biggest tattoo i have that expresses my appreciate for art, in many forms. the permanence makes it personal. Rose: i always wanted a rose, to me it’s always been the most beautiful flower with a history of pure elegance and a beautiful smell. it’s rich, classy, and reminds me of what i aspire to be: someone who is looked at as a rose in the wild. The cherry blossom: this is just pure beauty. it also includes my favorite color. i appreciate the vibes wrapping around my wrist, it brings the flower to life. The ekg: i once was in an extreme sensitive space at too young of an age and wanted to end every feeling within my bones and this is something to remind me how far i have come and how far i am able to come while growing and inspires me to never stop just that. The bones love sign (top right wrist): this is the love sign in sign language. i throw it up when i feel good, positive vibes, which is what i’m all about. the style shows off the edgy part of me, there are multiple sides to discover. “it’s only temporary”: what i had to remind myself the moment i first experienced what anxiety felt like, always triggered by a person, a negative feeling i, to this day, cannot describe. it’s a constant reminder of how strong of a woman i can be in any situation and to always take a breath and remind myself, i’ve only got myself, and i’ve got this. i am my best protector.


Danaé

My tattoos have so many meanings. Mine are all traditional so they have bold colors and lines. These are parallel to my bold, colorful personality. A lot of my tattoos are cats, because I like cats. I have always enjoyed the fact that I am able to be a walking canvas for an artist. I like that I am able to connect with an artist and they pick my brain and take what I have as a vision and put it on me. I love the fact that my tattoos are unique to me, again, like my personality


Brittany

My birth month is March, a month when daffodils typically begin blooming. They are synonyms with rebirth & new beginnings. Lilacs are the state flower of NH, my home state. When I was 11 years old I went through a traumatic experience that my mother was also a part of. As a symbol of overcoming, healing & moving on, we planted 2 lilac bushes at my childhood home, 1 for me & 1 for her. We’ve since moved to 2 different houses, taking them with us & replanting them each time. I got the lilac tattoo to remind myself just what my mom & I have overcome & to remind myself that the experience has made me a stronger person. It also reminds me that my mom is a badass woman that I’m very fortunate to have in my life.


Nicole

My tattoo represents a huge musical influence of mine Biffy Clyro. The artwork is from the first tour I saw them live in Boston. For me, it represents strength, persistence, resilience, determination, and self-reliance. Their music got me through the darkest time I’ve ever experienced, when I felt stuck and lacking all control in my life. It inspired and motivated me to rely solely on myself to make a change, leave my hometown, and build a life for myself from the ground up. It reminds me how far I’ve come, how strong I truly am, and how I’ll always possess the fire and capability to overcome.


Betsy

I get tattoos to remind me of people and things I love. Even if I grow out of something, I have a visual reminder of how I got to be who I am today.


melody

My tattoo I’ve had for about 3 years now. It represents strength, prosperity, determination, independence, perseverance and most importantly good luck.


Angela

What I consider to be the divisive life events that have shown up to challenge me, to break me open and to learn, have been very powerful to me. I’ve learned to Take the Long way around (my foot). I’ve learned to jump, even when it scares me and Dare Greatly (my wrist). Each relationship and evolution of loves, friends, etc, I’ve gotten stronger in myself, my values and what I stand for, what boundaries I have and what I won’t stand for, so I always speak my truth (lip).


Austin 

I traveled a few months after college, my favorite place I went was Nepal. There were dirt roads and the people had, by western  standards, very little. But there was this overwhelming sense of ease in Nepal. People were content. I got invited to a wedding while I was there! I loved the people, the history and architecture. The craftsmanship. So when I got back to Boston, I found a tattoo artist who’s work I truly admired, gave him 14 photos from my trip and told him about my experience there. Since I’m not an artist, I have him free reign. And Jase did a phenomenal job! His use of negative space and attention to the little details are more than I could have hoped for. He’s a kind soul and a gifted artist. Every time I look at it, I am reminded about my trip, about how this world is so big and I’m just a tiny fraction of it. And I am content.


Kit

Story time: I truly enjoy the Asian art because of the stories behind them. I’m a very positive person and most of the Asian art have positive meaning/energy. My right sleeve (which isn’t finished) is actually my Chinese zodiac of my family. I was born in the monkey year, mother in the dragon year and my father and sister are born in the rat year (which I still have to get done on my hands)


Audrey

My tattoos are simply the things I love in life, and the deep respect I give to nature and animals. I drew some flowers myself, the letter M is simply for my mother, and the cat on my arm is the portrait of one of my cats. I have been a vegetarian for ten years and one of my goals is to become vegan to be as much as possible in keeping with my values.My tattoos are simply the things I love in life, and the deep respect I give to nature and animals. I drew some flowers myself, the letter M is simply for my mother, and the cat on my arm is the portrait of one of my cats. I have been a vegetarian for ten years and one of my goals is to become vegan to be as much as possible in keeping with my values.


Victoria

Amanda walked into my Spanish class freshmen year of high school and sat down in front of me. We ended up having almost every class together. In the 10 years we were friends we shared secrets, laughs, tears, and a bond that is unexplainable. She was the type of person to walk into a room of strangers and leave with a bunch of new friends. Sadly, we lost her in January of 2018 to a fentanyl overdose. The two intersecting arrows represent how our lives crossed paths leading us different directions. The roses are for her name, Amanda Rose, and I chose to color the heart blue because it was the color of her eyes.


David de Colombia

mis tatuajes son una liberación, me encantan los ángeles los demonios, el bien el mal y todo esta en mi cuerpo

My tattoos are a liberation, I love angels, demons, good evil and everything is in my body


Izzy 

The question “what do your tattoos mean to you?” has always made me laugh because honestly I have no idea! Whenever I get a tattoo idea I kinda just message a tattoo artist whose work I love and see what they draw up for me. Getting a custom tattoo done by super talented tattoo artists whose work I admire is just amazing. Plus being able to decorate my own body and stand out from a crowd is a great feeling.


Serena

For me tattoos are a way of healing and processing. All of the black work flowers are ones that once grew in my grandfather's garden. After he passed it was a way to keep part of him alive. Tattoos are also a way of expressing self love. It's a time and money investment for purely for myself. The wolf sleeve I am working on with @dmuggg is certainly that. It looks rad and it make me feel beautiful.


Candace

The labyrinth and the Minotaur on my leg are @tattooer.nicky's unbelievably amazing representation of the quote, "A labyrinth, when it is big enough, is just the world." I like the reminder that our personal labyrinths are just microcosms of the labyrinth we are all wandering in. I got the masked skull with a dagger a couple of months after my dad died at the Boston Tattoo Convention. I knew I wanted something with a skull, and this design struck me: it makes me think of Hamlet ("Alas, poor Yorick!" hah), and that no mask can hide death, but that inevitability is okay, it's life.


Holly

I have lots of tattoos. They help me talk to my dad, who passed away. He was a great teacher and taught me about immigration, authenticity, and the sacrifice that can come with that. The homelands are going through the beginnings of war now, and I know he’s not surprised. His spirit lives on, in me.


Emily 

I’m 22 years old and I am the CEO and founder of Cosplay Realm Magazine. I have always wanted tattoos since I can remember. I used to see them as a kid and thought they were like coloring books or even comic books on people's skin. I always played with my fashion and style growing up and as an artist I feel like it was pretty widely accepted for me to do so. I got my first tattoo on my last day of high school. I went with my boyfriend at the time and a friend and we all got matching tattoos. I got mine on my hand (first tattoo...yeah I know don’t follow in my footsteps kids). After the hand tattoo I knew I wanted some real art on me. I started talking to my dad about how I had wanted to get some work done and he was saying that he also was kind of interested in some as well. My dad and I are pretty much best friends and he has helped me through a lot in my life. The tattoo features a ship and a Kraken ripping it in half with a very traditional style of work. Earlier in the year I had painted an Octopus underwater as a gift to him and he kept mentioning how cool he thought the tentacles could look in a tattoo form. That is how the scene really began to materialize. The text reads at the top “Be the one who got away.” The quote inspired by a New York Times video on a man nicknamed “Slow Mo” a former doctor that quit his job and found connection to himself through roller blading and a simpler life. Slow Mo became a positive public figure of sorts in the community local to him in California, many people saw him as a symbol of escaping a suffocating way of life that many end up in. The idea of being the “one who got away” really struck my dad and I for different reasons, some overlapping, some not. For me the idea of being the one who got away meant succeeding in my art and moving past trauma and all the bad shit that had happened in my life prior and not letting my anxiety and depression eat me up like a kraken consuming its prey. This tattoo takes up a lot of my arm and it also represents a lot of what I have been through and how I try to live. I don’t think all tattoos need a super deep meaning, but this one in specific does. The tattoo was done by Andrew Stortz at Hobos in Portsmouth New Hampshire, he is an incredible artist and drew our design from scratch himself.”


Tamika

My husband has tattoos and really likes them, he thinks tattoos are sexy. I used to work for government and I couldn’t get them, but now I don’t have to worry. Also i’m at the age where it doesn’t matter if I have tattoos. 


Juankarlos

I made these tattoos because I like the representation in all the roles of strong, sexy women and capable of achieving everything they want, without forgetting the greater power they have to engender life.


Sebastian

Skateboarding is a big part of me and my life wouldn't be the same without it, tattooing it on my skin makes me remember how important this piece of wood is. Even if someday i can't skate anymore ill be grateful and won't forget the good times riding and learning to never give up on anything


Bruce

The heart shaped tattoo is called The Sickle Cell Warrior Heart. My great nephew has Sickle Cell. He has a life long battle with Sickle Cell. So it’s my tribute to the little guy. Also when he’s old enough to understand what this tattoo means. He’ll know that Uncle Brucie has his back. The Runners High Tattoo: It’s legal in all 50 states. Get your high on after mile 10! I retired my basketball sneakers and picked up a pair of running sneakers. I’ve been running ever since. I wanted something simple to show my love for running. So the Runners High tattoo was an easy choice. Dreaded Guardian angel tattoo: It’s my angel. I needed something on me, that I felt could protect me and watch my back. I found this tattoo and the artist tweaked it to my liking. 


Kassandra 

The tattoo on my chest is my husband's name I got the tattoo to symbolize how much he means to me and how much I love him my husband is a big impact on my life and my biggest support without him I would be so alone and clueless about everything he made me the person I am today aside from the mental health issues and everything I have been threw in my life hes always been there to pick me back up and wipe all my tears away and to make sure I am always good hes my best friend my everything I couldn't have asked God to bring me a better person cause it doesnt get any better than him we have a bond that's unbreakable and no matter what obstacles we come across we still the next bonnie and clyde I love you honey forever and a day ... now the tattoo of chucky and his bride I got it cause I love their crazy love kinda like the joker and Harley Quinn which by the way Is my next tattoo lol 


Jess

The tree of life tattoo that I have on my arm was a matching tattoo that I got with my Mom (she got hers on her shoulder). The words read, "Honor, Integrity, Kindness, Family, Love, Respect, Forgiveness, Faith, and Hope." These words connect in a circle to each side of the roots of the tree to symbolize the roots of what we felt were truly important in life. If you do not have strong roots, you can not grow a healthy tree. I got the words, "What doesn't kill you, makes you stronger" (before the Kelly Clarkson song came out 😂👍) to be a reminder during the hard times that in the end, life's trials and tribulations are what grow you as a person and make you better. It was also my first tattoo and was very rough alone so to soften it up, I chose 5 different types of flowers for each one of my family members based on what the flower symbolizes to represent each family member.


kimberly

The tattoo says “the universe will have its way with me and so I am at its mercy.” I got it to remind me that I only have so much control in my life and sometimes, life is just going to happen. Rather than fighting it or imposing friction or stress by not accepting it, I make it harder on myself. We’re not able to control life’s curve balls, we can manage it and handle it with some level of grace. Plus, being in control isn’t always fun and I’m all for living in my joy and being in the flow. And in that, in some twisted way, giving up the control allows me to have all the power. Accepting is taking back some control.


Victoria

My tattoos are mostly just flash designs i’ve really enjoyed from different artists. i really just love feeling like a human sticker book and collecting my ‘warm art’ through my travels and milestones in my life. a few of my tattoos do have a sentimental meaning for me. the floral massachusetts represents how rooted i’ve felt in MA my whole life and i got it after i came back from a trip that really made me miss home. the roses are for my great aunt rose, my mum rose, and myself (my middle name is rose). the banner underneath says ‘chin up’ because it’s something my family has reminded me of constantly during the rough times. and lastly my pinup and poodle piece was based off of the character wanda from crybaby because i love that 50s/60s rockabilly style. i wanted a bad bitch with a bad bitch after i had gone through a rough breakup and felt like i had to reclaim my body in some meaningful way.


Nate

My tattoo is a combination of two trucks; the truck my father had when I was a kid, and my father’s first truck. It is a tattoo I share with my siblings. About 6 months ago my father was diagnosed with liver cancer. My siblings and I all decided we had to get something in solidarity with him, and we came up with this design. He passed about a week ago and thus the meaning of the tattoo changed from solidarity to remembrance. My father and I would often say to each other “keep on trucking” while he was going through treatments for his cancer. This tattoo also serves as a reminder to do just that, even when he isn’t here to tell me to do so.


Annie

When I was growing up in Maine, we had a field full of these flowers across my house as well a local storybook on how they got there Miss Rumphius. The flowers are an homage to the town that raised me, as well as to the message of Miss Rumphius travel the world, live by the sea, but most importantly, do something to make the world more beautiful.


Em

I fell in love with the artist’s work who did this. I threw some ideas at her and left the rest in her hands. I didn’t see the final outcome of her design until the day of. I really enjoy finding an artist I connect with and can trust, then let their artistry unravel.


Daunielle

Tinkerbell was my first tattoo at the ripe age of 19. I knew I wanted a fairy, but what? I absolutely loved Disney, still do. A friend suggested I consider Tink. Turns out, she was perfect. I researched drawings, original sketches and discovered that Walt Disney modeled her after Marilyn Monroe - my then idol. Her body shape is not what we see as standard beauty now, but she is classic. As a petite blonde, with my hair in a top knot, my nickname was often Tink by many unknowningly. Her sassy, intelligent attitude drew me to her, and thus Tinkerbell. I didn't get my next tattoo until I was 30 years old after my first marathon - The Boston Marathon, and then it became an addiction. I am a lover of literature and I have taken many paths in life that seem disconnected to some but have been very deliberate on my part. Thus the quote by Tolkein, on my right shoulder, Not all who wander are lost. This sparked the idea to bring back the Disney in Peter Pan, a lost boy who knew exactly where he wanted to be - second star to the right and straight on till morning. I may add more there, stay tuned. The compass on my arm was inspired by the SeaWheeze half marathon in Vancouver, a favorite city of mine.@cthulhuisgod captured my vision (as well as my next tatt). I lived in Seattle for a year as a new nurse and fell in love with the PNW - by I am a New Englander at heart. The compass shows that truly not all who wander are lost, Seattle and I were meant to be at the time and so the Space Needle represents the PNW. Wherever I go, I will always find my way home, so the dial points to the NE, a Maine lighthouse. Even though I am from Mass, my heart belongs to Maine. Along my rib cage and sternum was my bravest tattoo, the most painful location. it depicts my change, my metamorphis over my life time. Sometimes it was painful, but it was always beautiful. I have a thing for birds so it made sense to have the feather, tinted with my favorite color blue - the same blue as the lighthose. It is blowing in the wind turning into birds flying free. The quote is in Latin, I am. I was. I will be. which describes what we all go through, who I am and who I've yet to become. At the core, there is always I, set free into what always was and is yet to be. That change comes from within, which is why this tatto is for me, not readily visible to others.My most recent is along my right arm. Most of it is towards the inside, because again it is intended for me, yet it wraps around the the forearm to give a peek into what's inside but not yet shared. Originally, I just wanted a few flowers, mostly because they were pretty, but also to continue the theme of blossoming into life.The hummingbird is my favorite, draped with the color of blue, which I added for extra beauty and personalization. @wickedgoodink crafted a simple idea into something so elegant.


Andrew

In 2012, I was fortunate to be part of a delegation from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston to attend the opening of “Japanese Masterpieces from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston” in Tokyo. Over 100 pieces were in the exhibition, most of which hadn’t been in Japan in over 100 years. One of the pieces in the exhibition was Soga Shōhaku’s “Dragon and Clouds,” a 35-foot long painting that would have originally decorated sliding doors. The painting stood out, even amongst all of the other pieces in the show.  Being there on opening day, seeing the crowds of people lined up, and meeting a Princess, was one of the greatest experiences of my life. I knew the painting would make an amazing tattoo, and I was really happy it was my first. @ChadChesko at Fat Ram’s in Jamaica Plain did a great job translating the painting onto my leg.


Sophia

My Pura Vida tattoo is there to remind me to live life purely, or to its fullest. It reminds me of the time I spent in Costa Rica. All the lessons I learned and people I met in those weeks mean a lot to me. My microscope symbolizes my love for science, learning and my future in healthcare. I plan on adding many more healthcare/science themed pieces to this arm!


Jessyka

I am constantly evolving and learning and I am not the same person I was yesterday, or 5 years ago. My tattoos remind me of who I was at a certain point in my life, and what I was going through at that time. My checkered heart tattoo reminds me of my love for ska music, that it’s a part of me I will never grow out of. My sunflower tattoo reminds me that sometimes when your thoughts are dark, to remember there’s still light and beauty in the world. The frog is also to remember my uncle who passed. My inner bicep tattoo is a song that was sung to me when I was younger. It’s actually a tattoo I got with my mother, who has the first verse to the song, and I have the second. 


Micheal

Hey 👋🏼 I got my tattoos when I was younger and really just wanted to showcase my personality. I borrowed some details from a few of my favorite musicians, while adding in a few unique traits about Boston and my family.


Stephanie 

My roses on my back I had gotten custom a long time ago, at first they weren’t anything symbolic. However when I did some digging, a long time ago they tattooed red roses on prisoners to identify those who escaped. I found that extremely interesting, and went with the idea. I later added sunflowers to my garden to symbolize confidence and keeping your head high. Although sometimes I feel very trapped inside myself and my own self deprecation, sunflowers are a nice reminder to remain confident, to always remember to keep your head high and above all else. The jellyfish fish was a cover up tattoo, I chose a jellyfish because of the transparency they represent, the free lifestyle and the tranquility in life. I chose the jellyfish because transparency means a great deal to me, especially for those who come in and out of my life. I’ve been through more things in my life then I’d like to admit. It’s nice to look down and have a sense of calm.


Kenny

So my first tattoo is the Penguin, it's something I drew on things since I was in middle school, and just got associated with me. It was originally Kenny's Penguin, which eventually how I became Kenny Penguin. The tattoo I got at a house party for 10 bucks. The 2nd tattoo is a goat bunny. A close friend of mines favorite two animals that she mixed together and made. She had all of her friends design stuff and she had her whole body tattooed with their designs. One of the designs is my Penguin (like the one I have) so I returned the favor and got her design tattoo on me. The third tattoo has a little more significant meaning. The Filipino sun with DNA strands, kind of signifies that I'll always have the Philippines flowing through my veins. I originally had an idea, and described it to a close Filipino friend, and his idea was much better than what I had envisioned so I had that tattooed on me by a Filipino tattoo artist as well.


Hannah

"Self-Made Pin Up": She is the embodiment of who I am and what I have become. I started by business on my own, most everything I own I bought myself, I started my website on my own -- I am a self-made woman. Many of the women of my life are self-made and built themselves on their own. They have persevered, persisted and have never taken no for an answer. This tattoo is the representation of the women in my life, how important they are to me, the woman I am and I woman I continue to strive to become. Band Logo Sleeve: This sleeve is a work in progress and it will be for a long time. Rock and roll saved my soul when I was much younger than I am now. It was the one thing that made me believe in myself when I felt like I had nothing to live for. It gave me a purpose, something to hold to onto when I felt like nothing was there for me, it picks me up when I fall down -- it is my everything. There are so many bands that have meant so much to me and I want to wear that passion and that dedication to the music quite literally on my sleeve until my very last breath and beyond, so I began to create this sleeve. Each band that I carry with me on my left arm has crept their way into my heart and made it their home and, as a thank you, I wear their colors on my skin. Ink Well: Similar to music, writing and literature became my other saving grace. I used to be a very shy, non social person when I was in middle school and high school. I was and still am close with a few important teachers, but not really any of my peers. Along with my record collection, books and writing stories of my own gave me a way to express the things I was thinking and feeling. I could give a voice to the thoughts and ideas that kept me up at night or that kept my mind wandering throughout the day. I've developed a very stream-of-consciousness style of writing and it's allowed me to connect with others about a wide range of important topics. Being able to organize my thoughts and see them on the page, has also given me the ability to understand how much I continue to grow and how far I've come and how far I still have to go. For those reasons, and many many more, I had my friend and tattoo artist Markus Blanchard do this piece for me. It binds me to my calling and it keeps me grounded to see the well of black ink on my arm every day. 


Nick

The sleeve of koi fish symbolize the strength and patient. Japanese believe that when koi fish swim up to the top of the waterfall it will turn into a dragon. And the peonies symbolize wealth, good fortune and prosperity. 😊