Love for the Love Bug

Brenda’s Love Bug tattoo was done in honor of her daughter (it’s based on a drawing she did when she was a little girl). Brenda couldn’t recall the tattoo artist, and sometimes that happens. Tiny tattoos can have a lot of impact. Brenda is now a grandmother, but these days, you shouldn’t be surprised to see tattoos on people of all ages. Go Brenda!

Rosario: Fact

Rosario’s tattoo was done by Jon Gorman of Providence Tattoo. Rosario is a gondolier with La Gondola Providence. He provides the story behind his tattoo:

I have been working as a gondolier on the Providence River for seven seasons, as of 2016.  The gondola has taught me about tradition, balance, and service.  Meeting gondoliers from across America, I found myself to be a part of a fraternity of very talented, very genuine individuals who share a love of these boats and a passion for providing our guests with the best experiences possible.  Throughout my career at La Gondola, I have had the honor of being a part of six weddings, dozens of WaterFires, hundreds of engagements, and thousands of dates, family outings, and sightseeing tours.  My work at La Gondola Providence has shaped a large part of who I am today, and I wanted to pay tribute to that with my first tattoo.

Rosario: Fiction

Rosario’s tattoo was done by Jon Gorman of Providence Tattoo. Rosario is a gondolier with La Gondola Providence. Perhaps, at a Water Fire he may have ferried you along the Providence River. Rosario told me the story of his tattoo, an incredible story, which I relate below as best I can.

The gondoliers of Venice can be the nicest people you’ll meet, but there’s a level at which they don’t really want to talk to you. I found this out when I asked a gondolier about training to become one. He waved his hand around like he was suddenly swatting flies. He just “didn’t know about that.” Of course, he did, but I figured he was taking me for yet another tourist. I mean, maybe I was to some extent, but I came to Venice specifically to train with a Venetian gondolier. So, I wasn’t going to give up just then.

Brianna: Fierce and Mythical

Brianna Tran’s Dragon tattoo was done by Mike Lussier of Art Freek Tattoo, Providence, RI. We did our shoot during the Field of Artisans’ Night Market on July 21st, where I had the opportunity to set up a space to show work and photograph tattoos.
Night Market July16Brianna and I discussed the features of her tattoo during the shoot, especially the work done in gray, which came out particularly beautifully in her photos. The twilight and ambient lighting provided an ethereal cast that was better than thousand of dollars worth of lighting equipment. Her Dragon reflects a powerful part of her being, which I ask her to explain in her own words:

Brianna states:

“Fierce and mythical. An emblem and an epithet (@dragonkisses on Instagram). This work of art serves to protect and strengthen me. Not to mention: it looks cool as hell. ”

Juliet: More So, I Know My Mother

Juliet Loranger’s Kali tattoo was done by Dave Peavy of Federal Hill Tattoo, Providence RI. Both Juliet and Dave have turned out to be “frequent flyers” on this website, which is one year old now. When this project was just an idea I was trying to bring into reality, I know the earliest models and their tattoo artists had no idea where I was going with this. Still and all, they trusted me somehow and I am so very grateful for that. Juliet, owner of Yoga on Union in New Bedford, MA, expands her school in the summer for classes and events at the Stone Barn Farm in Allen’s Pond Wildlife Sanctuary in Westport, MA. Juliet explains the significance of her Kali tattoo below.

She begins:

This tattoo, like most of my tattoos, is not connected directly to a well thought-out reason of why I should have something on my body to represent something that’s meaningful. But it’s more of a piece of art where I give full trust to the artist to go forward with their work. And develop a relationship with the ink on my body as time passes. Over-planning a tattoo design, placement and meaningfulness has never been my approach or joy in the process.

Infrared Tattoo Photography by Eric

Eric Steinhart has been exploring infrared photography for well over a decade, and I have had the honor of being an Infrared model for him all the while. When I started getting my tattoos, we had no idea how they would appear in these kinds of photographs. Typically, black and very dark colors (except for skin) turn out completely white in infrared photos. It was fairly amazing to discover that black ink tattoos photograph more intensely black in infrared. Basically, I’m convinced that infrared is an important way to convey the artistry of Blackwork tattoos. See what you think!

Christian: Transitions

Christian Kline’s bird tattoo was done by Tina Bafaro of Seattle. He is a newcomer to New Bedford and the Providence-MA South Coast area. Christian used to hop trains, planes and automobiles, traveling from Scandinavia to New Zealand, working as a peanut butter smuggler in the underground peanut butter trade. He specialized in leading high-temperature juggernauts (yeah, you try keeping peanut butter together in that kind of heat) and complex maze navigation. The skills he learned during this period of his life made him uniquely qualified to read, listen to music, perform feats of daring and encourage others to do so.

About his tattoo, Christian writes:

Transitions: Birds fly away, they fly back, they flutter around, land and take off, they are confused. Sometimes when you admit to something, changing your mind, changing your direction drawing a line in the sand helps delineate them and now, my lines in sand often seem to be lines of ink on skin; reminders of then and now.

Sarah: Jump In

Sarah Mulvey rocks a traditional style ship tattoo of the Schooner Ernestina-Morrisey. Her tattoo was done by Chris Cautillo of The Torchbearer tattoo and piercing, Pawtucket, RI. You can find out more about the Ernestina-Morrisey on this website, and below Sarah explains how sailing on it shaped the person she’s become. She begins:

A little history lesson for you first – the Schooner Ernestina-Morrisey is a 122-year-old wooden gaff-rigged schooner built in Gloucester. She has done nearly everything a ship can do – fishing, Artic exploration, and commercial trade during her long life at sea. She is a historic landmark of the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park (whew), the State Ship of Massachusetts, and she calls New Bedford, MA her home.  I was fortunate enough to sail aboard Ernestina for a three-day excursion when I was thirteen years old.

That experience has shaped the person I am.

Molly: About the Moon…

Molly McCarthy is Development Coordinator at the Zeiterion Performing Arts Center in New Bedford, MA. We did our shoot on site at my recent opening for my exhibition in the members’ lounge at the theater, which runs through June.

Photos above by Penny Pimentel

Molly was also a Philosophy major at UMASS Dartmouth where I teach. When people joke about philosophy students’ job prospects, it causes me physical pain. People study philosophy to become skilled in the comprehension, analysis, diagnosis, and creative production of ideas. It’s not so funny now, when you realize what her degree is actually in, is it?  We could not be prouder of our graduates, including Molly, So is everyone else that knows her.

Molly’s tattoo was done by Cory Dufault of Darkstar Tattoo, Westport, MA. The phases of the moon have special meaning to her — She writes:

When I was a kid, my mother was constantly telling me to look at the moon- as if I somehow hadn’t noticed the glowing orb hanging there in the sky…