I turn 60 June 1. It’s a real right of passage and one I’m ready to make. Last year at this time I got my 3rd tattoo – it was a misfit bird with the word ‘fly’ on the tail. My artist friend Jackie drew the design for me, and a local tattoo artist in Waterloo did the work.
I also wanted a local small business person to do the work. I started by calling the shop who did it last year. That guy is no longer there. Apparently tattoo artists don’t stay in one place too long, particularly if they are good. So I called the woman who did Keri’s tattoo two years ago, Jameela, at Lasting Impressions in Ames. She was gone too.
However, Brandon answered the phone. He told me Jameela had moved to Colorado to be a stay at home mom and they were very happy for her. He also asked me what I wanted done. So I told him how important this one is, the need for beauty and to have it placed prominently on my forearm. Brandon then gave me his cell phone number and asked me to text the picture of what I had for an idea. When I was in Galena, I had stopped at a shop and saw this paperweight in a box. On the box itself was a beautiful peony, and I bought the piece because I wanted the box! (Yes, the paperweight is gorgeous too.) That is the picture I sent Brandon.
He sent me back a drawing he’d done of the peony and it was perfect. I made an appointment for 2 pm Sunday.
That was yesterday. I walked in and Brandon was ready for me, and greeted us respectfully. He’s a young man of 30 that has been tattooing since he was 13. He’s worked at Lasting Impressions since 2013 (2524 Lincoln Highway in Ames) and he’s also a watercolor artist. Brandon enjoys working for someone else (yes, I asked) because it gives him more flexibility. He knows that if he had his own shop, he’d be there all the time.
His tools were sterilized, the needles were new, he explained exactly what he was doing and he added shading to the image, and used colors that work well for me. I’d done some research on the symbolism about peonies. My grandmother used to have bushes in front of her house and they were splendid, smelled good and quite beautiful. According to Like Cool Tattoos the peony symbolizes wealth, prosperity, and good fortune. The peony is a potent symbol of beauty, of the fragility and fleeting nature of existence and the knowledge that acquiring great rewards comes only by taking great risks. At 60, you know just how fragile life is and how important taking risks can be.