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Body Tattoo – blog about tattoo art

Body Tattoo – blog about tattoo art
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Tattoos from the Blogosphere: Introducing Mat’s Incredible Back Piece

April 20th, 2008

With the exception of one photo sent by my Dad way back at the advent of Tattoosday, everything on this blog has resulted from an encounter in the streets of New York City.

However, we’re branching out, and I am actually going to feature tattoos I have never seen in person. A cyber-field trip, if you will, to the canvas of a fellow blogger, Mat Giordano, whose This Blog Right Here, is a favorite web destination of mine.

Mat and I occasionally chat, and his blog and BillyBlog occasionally link one another for various and sundry reasons. A month or so ago, I mentioned Tattoosday to him and he told me he was heavily inked, and proceeded to e-mail me his amazing back piece:

Needless to say, this is one of the more impressive pieces I have seen, and I was eager to post it but you know me, I love the back story (no pun intended). I e-mailed Mat some questions and he didn’t get back to me for a while. Finally, through instant messaging, he not only sent me new pictures of other tattoos (subject for a later post), but gave me the full rundown of this incredible tattoo.

Me: I need to know what [the elephant] was all about

Mat: Well, it’s actually a simple one. I have a love for African black elephants: their patterning, symmetry, ear structure, [and] demeanor….and the platelets of jewelry and Tibetan skull crown symbolize a Tibetan tradition.

Me: Since you were a kid?

Mat: Yes, since I was a baby, I think. [The] tradition [is] where there’s five skulls: the three in the center

symbolizing my small family…being book-ended by prosperity to the right and longevity to the left, depending on how you are looking at it, I suppose.

[Five-Skull Crown: The skulls stuck onto the five points of the crown represent the five main afflictions, anger, greed, pride, envy and ignorance, conquered and transmuted into the five wisdoms–ultimate reality, discriminating, equalizing, all-accomplishing, and mirror wisdoms. Cited here.]

Me: How long did it take/how many sittings? Was it one shop that you had it inked in?

Mat: Nope, a friend that sleeved both of my legs started the basic line work….and in Orlando, I ran into this up-and-coming fella, BJ, in a bar. He whipped out his digital camera, took some snapshots, said ‘don’t make any plans on Sunday’. He went, bought some reference books, and free-handed the entire thing. Four sittings total, about 25 hours.

Me: So, BJ did the majority of the work in Florida, right? After a friend of yours did the basic outline in Philly?

Mat: My back credit will go to BJ at Built 4 Speed Tattoo in Orlando, Florida. It should be noted that Built 4 Speed is a custom shop only…

Me: …Custom meaning, by appointment only, no flash on the walls, all original work, right?

Mat: Yeah, no flash basically. That’s the point I wanted to make.

Well, there will be more from Mat down the line, but I wanted to get this contribution up on Tattoosday first. Thanks to Mat for sending the photos and giving me the scoop on this awesome back piece!


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