Aug 29


Tag: introspection,musings,victoriesJonathon Haradon @ 9:01 pm

(refers to events that happened most importantly on July 20th)

I have toyed with the idea of getting a tattoo for about eight years now, starting right at the peak of my young adult ‘I’m-trying-to-find-and-define-myself’ phase.  We all have one right? Back then, my ideas for a tattoo ran the stereotypical Chinese or Japanese character, or a Greek or Latin word.  How cliche right?  Thankfully that phase passed before I acted on it.

Matt rekindled my interest three years ago when he suggested Jonny, Matt and I all get similar tattoos to mark our journey, something with a sailing theme.  I toyed with a number of drawings.  Again nothing inspired a decision.  When it was clear the trip would not happen as planned with the three of us, our inaction seemed prescient.

When, however, I was going to join the trip again, I knew the last last five years of effort towards a sailing trip and this past tumultuous year in particular deserved a special remembrance.  So I began researching traditional Polynesian designs and locations on the body.

For a location, I settled on my right shoulder; my right because for some reason it feels more natural to look down at my right shoulder.  As for the design, Polynesians frequently make use of a spiral.  Most often, one path spirals around itself; Karen’s tattoo is an example of this.  Part of Matt’s tattoo has two paths that spiral around each other.  In all the pictures I looked through, I never saw a tattoo with three, so I painstakingly made a sketch that had three symmetrical paths that spiraled each other.  I then re-worked it on a computer.

As for a design, I wanted a tattoo I could attach my own personal symbolism to, and my idea had three distinct parts representing three phases of life over the last five years.  As for location, I wanted to be able to see it.  This ruled out the popular Polynesian location of the entire ass-cheek.  It also needed to be somewhere I could live with should I rejoin the proper business world.  This ruled out the less popular but very traditional facial designs.  Recalling all the styling I had seen of Polynesian tattoos, I made a terrible sketch, I am a terrible artist, of what could be within each spiraled path.  My sketch was by no means what I actually wanted, just a visual to attach my very visual brain around.  One was a basic geometric design; simplicity and un-complex. Another, a dark swirling, heavily inked pattern; change, turmoil, confusion, loss, sadness.  The third, many Polynesian symbols and a smiling tiki face; looking forward, happiness and a trip realized.

I took the outlines of the spirals (but not my styling sketch, I didn’t dare show a true artist my awful renderings!) to Simeone.  His shop is upstairs in the main market of Papeete, tucked away behind one of the myriad of jewelry and cloth booths.  Friends of Jerome, whom I stayed with in Papeete for a week, highly recommended him.  The many awards on his walls of contests won spoke to why.  I flipped through five books of pictures of tattoos he had done, pointing at styling that was similar to what I envisioned.  I then tried to indicate that he was free to do what he wanted within the spirals, let him do his artistry.  As usual, I was reduced to pantomiming and basic phrases; Simeon was not talkative and did not seem to speak much English.

It took two and a half hours to draw and ink.  Normally, there wasn’t much pain, but a few times it was more painful that I anticipated, but not unbearable.  I am extremely happy with the result; Simeon did an excellent job reproducing the spirals and his artistry within them is definitely to my liking.  All in all, I know I’ll be happy 30 or 40 years down the road looking down at my shoulder.

2 Responses to “Tattoo”

  1. Tucker Bradford says:

    I’ve wanted a tattoo for decades but haven’t been able to think of anything that I would want permanently affixed to myself, until i saw this.. Reading about your process and seeing the result gives me some new ideas to work with. Hopefully by the time I have earned my ink, I’ll have an equally solid starting point.

  2. Dave Haradon says:

    With all the many friends you have around the world, I am so surprised that no one has commented on your tattoo. So, I feel it is my duty as your father to comment. “I think it’s pretty cool”. I loved reading about your methodology and reasoning for the design. As is usual for you, you thought this through with great deliberation and came to a conclusion that was the right on for you. Be aware, I have shown your tattoo picture to several people and they have all said …”Oooo, that’s pretty cool.” Several of the ladies to whom I have showed the picture too and also commented something like, “he’s cute”, or “he’s pretty good looking” or words to that point. So the plethora of opinion is (my you’re your grandmother loved the work “plethora)” that you did a good job on this selection. Can’t wait to see it LIVE and up close some time in the future. – DAD

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