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12/98 - Tao

It all started with a visit to California in December of 1998. While out there visiting Alex Bonine (one of my first boyfriends and loves of my life), we went to Hillcrest, CA (just outside of San Diego). During our stay there, and after admiring his tattoos, I decided that I wanted to get my first one with him.

Son, on my right arm, I got the Chinese symbol for Tao. Tao, literally translates into "The Way" or "Path".   Originally tao meant simply a 'course of action', perhaps a military one:  The character combines 'foot' or 'to follow', with 'the leader' - a 'head' topped with the two plumes that were used to in ancient days to signify the rank of general.

To Confucius, tao became the 'way' of moral rectitude - the way we do what we do.  It was Lao-tzu who interpreted Tao as the law, or truth of the universe, the oneness from which sprang the ten thousand things, each of which contains within it, the law of tao of its own being.  In Taoism, to see not only things but the tao of things, it to follow the Tao.

02/99 - Virtue

The tattoo continued to grow when a few months later in Nashua, NH when I got the Chinese symbol for Virtue added right under Tao. Virtue literally translates into "the path of your true heart". The symbol to the left is the shortened symbol for foot, the top of the next character is "truth" and the bottom part is "heart". To me, having Tao and Virtue represent living my life by following the path of my true heart.

I should note that my friend Mike "Tab" Waciscko got the Chinese symbol for Chaos at the same time I got Virtue :)

11/03 - Dragon

Now we skip ahead 4 years and the ink continues. While out on the island of O'ahu visiting my friend Steve "Milkman' Mayou, I would add the dragon. I got him done at the same shop that Steve had his ink done at (really cool squid and octopus pieces down each arm). I would spend 2 hours in the chair while a Samoan with arms larger than my thighs worked on me and when he was all done, I was all grins :)

02/05 - Clouds

Now we move forward to February 2005. I'm down in Key West with Kevin Barnes and we walk by a tattoo parlor. I'm like, hmmmmmmmmmm, my dragon needs some clouds and so, it was done :)

02/09 - Phoenix

Now we move forward to 2009, a point in my life where I'm rediscovering myself. What better way symbolize rising from the ashes than with a phoenix! An so, the artwork would begin with intern Clio Sady at Black 'n Blue here in San Francisco.

03/09 - coloring


05/09 - more coloring and fire

Towards the end of 2009, Clio took off to OR. She had done a wonderful job with my tattoo and I was very pleased with the quality of the work. But durring her abscense, my good friend Ben Daniel's had found another fantastic artist Brian Hutflies, who was right down the street from me at his shop Warlock Tattoo. After chatting with him, he gave me some new ideas on the direction I wanted to take the piece, so I decided to let him continue on with the development. I was very happy with the results :)

12/09 - now we get down to some serious business. Brian rapidly begins
to take the piece into a whole diferent direction.

2nd session in 12/09. Fantastic color added and work continues

01/10 - Under the arm done (and yes, it hurt like a beeeeatch!)

02/10 - Dragon and Kanji symbols re-outlined and re-colored. A yellow border also added to symbols to make them stand out. DONE! :)

Brian did an amazing job bringing it all together! As of March 2010, Brian can now be found at:

Old Crow Tattoo
Brian Hutflies - 362 Grand Ave - Oakland, CA 94650 (510) 834-2796


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