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Body Tattoo – blog about tattoo art
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Tattoorism: Sean’s Leg Piece Represents His Transformation from Child to Adult

February 20th, 2009
This installment of Tattoorism comes from Sean, a reader who offered up his leg piece for our viewing pleasure. The detail above is my favorite aspect of the tattoo, which wraps around Sean’s entire left leg.

In Sean’s words:

“…Even though this was done in about 4 or 5 sessions, I could not describe this in any other way except as one big tattoo. Each piece works together with each other.

I consider this my growth-themed tattoo. I started the tattoo, at the age of 18, right before I graduated from high school and finished it right before entering my first year of college, a period of immense growth in my opinion. As long as I can remember, I have been drawn to Asian artwork, so at an extremely basic level this tattoo is just extremely aesthetically pleasing to me, but there is also deeper meaning.

From the Japanese folklore I have heard, koi fish are said to grow into dragons.

That was the basic premise of my tattoo, maturing from childhood to adulthood. I decided to have the koi swimming upwards to portray the different struggles experienced in this growth. The dragon has always been such a powerful image to me and a great symbol of courage and strength, two qualities I constantly strive to achieve and portray myself.

There are also two other major images in this tattoo, the pagoda and the lotus flower.

The lotus is another symbol of “growth.” I always loved the idea that a lotus begins its life in murky, dark, ugly waters, but eventually grows to become a beautiful flower despite its surroundings. It’s a reminder that no matter how hard things get in life, I can make it through those times and blossom as a better person.

Finally, the personal symbolism I hold for the pagoda is a house of knowledge and discipline. I hoped to achieve, and believe I have, a great amount of knowledge and discipline through my years in college and during the growth from childhood to adulthood in general.

The tattoo was done by Mike Schweigert @ Electric Tattoo in Bradley Beach, NJ.

Thanks to Sean for sharing this amazing leg piece with us here on Tattoosday!

Sean recognized that our “posts kind of drop off, completely understandably, during the colder months.” Not only did he help us with content on an ink-less day, regular readers will recognize that I generally don’t run sleeves, or wrap-around tattoos, on the blog, as their characteristics make them very difficult to adequately display in their full glory. It’s tough to capture them fully when on the street. So a double thanks to Sean for not only sending us an elaborate leg piece, but providing a well-written synopsis of the personal meaning behind the elements in the design!


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