For the longest time, I have loved tattoos and the tattoo culture/community. It is so much more than ink on a body. Tattoos are a rite of passage, and a visual record of someone’s life journey as expressed on the body. As soon as I turned 18, I got my first tattoo. People often ask me if it is painful, but the joy I get from expressing myself, with the magic, creative gift of the artist, far outweighs any pain. To date, I have five tattoos, three of which have come from my favorite tattoo shop, High Voltage, in Hollywood, California. The most amazing experience happened with my second tattoo. I had been getting, intuitively, through a dream, to get a tattoo of an angel, and to make it considerably large, when I found myself out in L.A., attending a spiritual retreat, Spirit moved me to go into High Voltage and ask about an angel tattoo. An artist by the name of Mojo agreed to do it. I gave him very little description or detail about what I wanted. The only thing I told him is that I wanted an angel with wings, and the words, “Angels Live” in script underneath the tattoo. After tattooing me for seven and a-half hours, the piece was finally finished. I purposely did not view the tattoo until it was finished, and this tattoo was somewhat painful because of the long duration for its completion, however, once again, I was so overjoyed, the excitement largely outweighed the pain factor. The other crew members were so impressed by my strength and patience throughout the process, they bought me lunch! That is one of my most treasured experiences with regards to a tattoo, because when I finally looked at the finished tattoo, it was an exact replica of what my spirit guide, or angel, Robin looks like, when she appears to me in spirit or my mind’s eye, and I was soon brought to tears. I am unsure of how, exactly, that happened, or if Mojo understood the magnitude of the image as representing exactly how my guide, Robin, has appeared to me since the age of four. Anyway, after that experience, I became an even bigger supporter of Kat Von D., the owner of the shop, who I have always admired, because of her talent, strength and determination to be successful as a young female tattoo artist, in none other than La La Land. Of course, one of my dreams was, and is, to have a peace sign done by Kat herself, and I know when the time is right, it’ll happen.
I recently had Christmas come early, when a close friend bought me a VIP ticket to her exhibition, of the American Beauty illustrations Kat created, to launch a new make-up line for Sephora and to give back to charity. 100% of the proceeds from the event were being donated to an organization that has artists interact with sick children in the hospital through drawing and artwork. Just one more reason to love Kat Von D.. The event was taking place on the notorious Miami’s South Beach, and it was important to attain a wristband that allowed you to enter the launching party at 6:00 p.m. at the Sephora store on Collins Avenue. I woke up early that morning, on December 1st, and did an hour meditation, asking and visualizing that I get the opportunity to have a conversation with Kat, as after reading both of her books, and watching episodes of her hit reality show, L.A. Ink, I recognized that she was a spiritual person and we would have a lot in common, if given the chance to meet. I knew that many people would arrive early, so I began my journey to South Beach (an hour and a half drive) at 8:30 in the morning, to ensure that I arrived by the time the doors opened. As the handicapped accessible cab I ordered, pulled up to the Sephora on Collins Avenue, there was already a line outside the door, of people waiting to get their wristbands. I was the first person to arrive at the counter and received my red Kat von D. wristband, which was immediately placed on my left wrist, so that I would be ready for the evening’s events. I was so happy to arrive early, as doing so allowed me the opportunity to examine and marvel over the amazing talent Kat displayed in the eight pieces that she created for the exhibition. As part of the VIP ticket price, we were able to get a print of one of the eight pieces signed by Kat. If I had had enough money, I could have easily purchased all , because they were each extraordinary in their own right. However, I chose the one print that was a portrait because portrait work is what Kat is classically known for, and the print was entitled “American Beauty.” The other pieces included one titled “Altruism” that displayed old lock and key combinations, and although I did not get the chance to ask Kat about her personal interpretation of the piece, for me, I saw the piece as expressing that altruism towards others and animals is the key to happiness, love and peace. The next piece was titled “Independence” and was a beautiful wing that was extremely detailed and, of course, this symbolized the freedoms that we often take for granted, a gift provided by our independence. Then, I noticed the sketch entitled “Creativity,” and it was a blossoming rose that was settled in the corner of a page filled with shadows and dimension that made it look like you could pick it up right off of the paper. For me, personally, I saw this portrait as expressing that we all continue to blossom if we are on a creative path, and although shadows sometimes overpower our desire for success, or efforts toward a particular goal, if we keep moving forward and having hope, there is no alternative other than to bloom. Then, there was this magnificent drawing of a chandelier entitled “Strength,” and it had remnants of history, culture and perseverance. Therefore, for me it represented standing the test of time, and never losing its character or artistic beauty. “Individualism” was a sketch of the most beautiful eye and to me, it was the perfet example of how the eyes are the window of the soul, and regardless of our background, race, or experiences, we each have an individual window that is connected to our soul and it is when we look into each other’s eyes, that we can recognize the beauty in differences. The piece that I chose was entitled “American Beauty,” and it was a full portrait of a beautiful woman’s face. The next piece was an hourglass entitled “Presence.” For me, once again, this piece represents how quickly time slips away and why, for that reason, it is so important to be present in each moment and cherish it as a single commodity, that over time, adds up to the essence of how your time was spent, on this planet. The last piece, entitled “Wisdom,” embodied a stack of books that surrounded a skull, and a book opened wide in front of the skull. For me, personally, I interpreted this piece to express the importance to continue to learn even after our demise on the earth plane, and it is the wisdom that we acquire through the learning/living process of our lives, that determines how our wisdom is spread and carried on even after our passing and well on into the next life. There were also many different shading techniques that indicate the light and dark that a person may find themselves submerged in throughout their life’s journey. I hope that Kat does not take offense to my liberty of interpreting her work, but this was only my experience of immersing myself in her creative gift. For the rest of the day, I did readings on South Beach, while sitting by the ocean, and enjoying the ethnic delectable food choices provided by Collins Avenue. It was truly a wonderful day. Then, before I knew it, it was time to head back to Spehora for the event. Once again, I was the first person in, and before long, Kat entered the store from the back entrance. Everyone quickly scurried to the front of the store, to catch a glimpse of her. After several prompts by the personnel, I slowly began approaching the front. After I had received a wonderful make-over, by a magnificent make-up artist by the name of Melissa, (who was so spiritually connected that she had beautiful energy), we instantly connected. It turns out that she, too, beluieves in intuition and paying it forwad. I know that I will meet her gain, and we will maintiain a friendship because it felt like I had known her for years. Before long, I made it to the front of the store, where Kat was greeting everyone, and getting bombarded by photographers. I felt, at that moment, that time had stopped. I was taking in every second, in an effort to be completely present. As I knew this was one experience, that I would rarely, if ever, have again. the chance to watch the dance between such a dynamic and talented artist and her adoring fans. Before long, one of the personnel at Sephora got Kat’s attention, and introduced her to me. She immediately knelt down to my eye level, and began speaking to me directly, as though there were no one else in the room. Trying to hide my nervousness, and overflowing heart I handed her my book that I had personalized for her, as well as a bracelet that I had personally made to assist her with meditation and strengthening the heart chakra, although this is one person who is very loving and has an overflowing heart, because she gives so much, it never hutrts to get a little boost. I told her that Christmas had come early for me, and wished her a “Merry Christmas.” She took several photographs with me, personalized my print, and we discussed several things including the story behind my tattoo of Robin. Kat is every bit as gracious, kind, has integrity and gratitude, as I could feel the sincerity in our interaction, and both of us felt as though it would not be our last encounter with one another. I even asked her how she felt about designing a wheelchair for my upcoming appearances and projects, and she was thrilled and excited to consider various options and let me know how to proceed. No matter what happens, I will always be an admirer of Kat’s and I only hope G-d and the Universe allow us to connect again at High Voltage. This blog details how you never know how and when a dream can come true, and I am forever grateful for the experience.