Pinned Permission

Permission from the artist to modify his work was not what I sought, well it was, but I wanted him to do it – not me.

The first time I saw the piece was in a magazine. It was being used to promote a biker event somewhere down South. The second time I tore it out and pinned it to a wall. A couple weeks later I looked online for this event, which led to more searching until finding the artist Jeral Tidwell. I began following him on Social Media and eventually purchased his book Sketches. It has two versions of this design, one rough pencil and one finished in ink. Again I felt drawn to it, but not completely.

Surfing the Internet a few months later led to a notice that Jeral would be at Bumbershoot the next week as part of a printed poster art exhibit.

“Really like your work, this one in particular – found a version in a magazine.”

“Oh great wasn’t sure I’d have much of a following up here.”

After about a half hour of talking and purchasing some prints to be autographed, “Hope you don’t mind but I’ve been wondering what you’d think about changing this one a bit, something like this.”

“That’s a cool idea, do it.”

“Uh… Okay great, thank you.”

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About a year later I met with another artist Roni Falgout who blended the work, added her touches and pinned it to my skin.

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Treasure

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As I watched them meet for the first time it was obvious that Heather adored Sarrah.  Their initial meeting was when Heather returned to our home after a surprise eighteenth birthday party dinner for her (my first ‘in person’ celebration of her birthday, in sixteen years).  She had only seen pictures of Sarrah, so the occasion was a little anticipated.  Heather had not been to my house since she was a little girl, so Sarrah helped ease any tension from the occasion.  After all, a cute Dalmatian could not hurt my appeal to a teenaged young lady.

Heather was drawn to Sarrah.  She drew two fabulous pieces of artwork in pen and ink, from photographs taken by others; one of Sarrah and me walking on the beach as the sun was setting (taken by Nissa) and the other of Sarrah peaking from behind a bush, magically enhancing these moments… capturing them in their time.  These drawings were gifts to me, from my daughter, of gifts to me, from Sarrah.

Participating in another of Heather’s artistic passions, she also photographed Sarrah, often.  I don’t think you can have too many pictures, especially those taken by people close to the memory.

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I had heard of memorial tattoos in the past, typically those emblazoned with names and dates.  More recently with the evolution of the art form, portrait types have become popular.  I had even heard something about a more extreme commitment, using a little cremation ashes in the ink.

I have collected a few tattoos over the years, prior to their current popularity.  They are mostly personalized designs; with no special meaning attached other than being decades’ old souvenirs of simpler times.  So the idea and realities of inked skin was not new to me.  I pondered the idea, with my twist.  The thought of replicating some of Sarrah’s favored spots around what I already had, seemed appealing to me.

I went to a tattoo convention January Twenty Second, Two Thousand Eleven, in Marysville.  This in itself was an interesting and distracting new experience that I found to be mostly tailored to the kind of artwork that I already had.  Out of all of the colorful artists I found a few potentials and let my mind work further.  If I decided to have this done, I wanted the right vibe to be part of the experience, in some kind of appropriate atmosphere, where the intent of meaning could be felt.  I did some internet surfing of these possibilities, viewed more of their artworks and refined my search.

I visited the Hidden Hand tattoo parlor in the unique neighborhood of Fremont, tucked under a building; interestingly just down the street from where Sarrah had gone for acupuncture and ultimately her last trip.  I met with the artist Roni, who combined with the atmosphere and locale, seemed right.  I gave her artistic freedom with photos of Sarrah and tracings of my foot.  My initial reaction to her emailed design was, “Wow, that’s bigger than I had envisioned” but I kept it to myself to live with the idea.  And like Sarrah, the artwork quickly grew on me.  I decided that a design to honor my best friend, deserved Big.

The unedited work of art with some of Sarrah’s ashes in the black ink was done June Seventeenth, Two Thousand Eleven; on what would have been her 13th birthday.  Now, she can walk with me… for the rest of my journey.

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I am not promoting tattoo’s in any way (I actually liked them more before the herds gravitated), but to my un-expecting open mindset, I did feel some relief in the pain of it.  The artwork healed nicely and serves me with a little visual solace, which most likely only I understand, making it better.

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