One year ago I started eating a vegan diet. I had been vegetarian for about 12 years at the time but was still fat and unhealthy. My cholesterol was the big problem, hovering between 160-190. My doctor had been advising me for a couple of years to do something to change it.
After watching Forks Over Knives My wife and I decided to try a vegan, low far diet for a month. After a month we both noticed we felt better and had more energy. We decided to go for two months. After two months we scheduled to have our blood work again. My cholesterol had dropped to 150! With that kind of result we saw no reason to go back.
Shortly after that I got an email from a potential customer wondering if our pigments contained animal ingredients. I had never even considered that and told her I’d get back to her. After making some phone calls and some Internet research I was delighted to learn that the pigments we use, Eternal Brand, are cruelty free!
As a business owner, I try to uphold my personal ethics with what I do only business. It is a great feeling to be offering vegan tattoos in Louisville.
Before & after by Justin - Preston Hwy (Taken with Instagram)
Whitney buying a TON of new jewelry for my Lexington studio!
Three hearts by Pike - Preston Hwy
By Pike - Preston Hwy (Taken with Instagram)
Fireflies by Pike - Preston Hwy (Taken with Instagram)
Reds pride by LUCKY-Preston Hwy (Taken with Instagram)
Jim Beam tattoo- Eric, Preston Hwy (Taken with Instagram)
Anatometal for your navel, in stock at Preston Hwy! Your little swimsuit isnt going to look that good with a crappy piece of jewelry :)
The Language Barrier
Consider this a more in depth extension of my previous article “What’s in a Name?”
Names, words, phrases, quotes and entire psalms from the Bible…these are but a FEW examples of what we, the artists, simply refer to as “Lettering”. The only difference to artists when it comes to lettering is type of font and quantity of letters.
As one would expect, English is the most common language chosen for tattooing (here in the US, of course). Foreign languages are at least as popular as English.
There are any number of reasons why people choose foreign languages over English. For some, it can be cultural/ethnic identity or pride. Some worship different religions or certain philosophies based on other cultures. Sometimes, some just find the aesthetic of a foreign language appealing.
Popular languages the tattoo industry sees today:
· French & Italian
This list goes on, although some languages are just less common to do.
You may have noticed that NOT added to that list is the MOST popular foreign language of ALL non-ENGLISH tattoos - Kanjis.
Kanji is a Japanese word for Chinese characters, that they adapted into their own written language. When people generally ask for “Kanji”, they are expecting or end up getting Chinese Characters.
Notice that I DID NOT say “Chinese letters” because there are NONE! NOT all languages have a standard alphabet. Most Asian cultures do not have an actual alphabet. Their system of writing consists of symbols/characters which are based on phonetics - the literal interpretation of what is heard.
The Chinese language, being one of the world’s oldest written languages started off as actual pictures - pictograms. The pictures became simplified over time, and shifted from basic drawings into symbols. Each symbol could stand alone or be combined with other symbols to create new characters. Each character was NOT a letter, it was an entire word.
For instance, to write out the word “sun” in Chinese would not end up being 3 characters, one for each letter. The symbol for sun is ONE character. And that’s where Chinese does have an advantage in that one character can mean less involvement dependent on the English translation.
Most people who get Kanji/Chinese do not speak or read the language itself, and that includes tattoo artists. Although the internet has become an invaluable resource for finding designs and reference material, a foreign language tattoo can present many challenges. Not everything you find on the internet is correct or accurate! Even if a customer brings in the kanji themselves, I will still try to cross reference the character on several different translator sights.
Because of how the Chinese language evolved in written form, it continues to evolve today. Over the centuries, with the advent of new technology, social changes, education, the Chinese just created more characters to define new things. Worse yet, some characters can have MULTIPLE meanings dependent on the context of the what is being written.
For example: The character for Strength can also mean Stone. If written incorrectly or having chosen the wrong character instead of a “Man with strength” you may end up with “a stoned man”.
Unfortunately, many people want their OWN name translated and written in Chinese. Since there is no alphabet, the closest you can hope for will be a Phonetic interpretation of your name. This is where things can go horribly awry for some people. What may SOUND like the name “Jennifer”, broken down into 3 syllables - you will have 3 characters that will be the closest approximation to what sounds like “Jenn-ef-fer”. And while it may sound like Jennifer, it may mean something random (if you’re lucky) or it may interpret into something less appealing. Unless you can READ Chinese - I highly advise against this.
Another common mistake is the DIRECTION of a character. I have personally seen Kanjis done backwards and even upside down! Again, unless you or the tattoo artist is aware of which way to place your design..you may have to spend the rest of your life avoiding Chinese people.
Chinese characters are not just random zig zag lines thrown together to make a word. They are a precise series of symbols and strokes written in a uniform fashion. Every character regardless of whether it’s made of just 1 stroke or upwards to 20+ is ALWAYS written the in same way and order. The directions of the stroke lines are most apparent in Chinese calligraphy. If you look carefully at painted calligraphy, you can see where the artist will have used more force on the brush tip and where he/she lifted and tapered the brush off the paper. These sweeps and tapered ends are always going in an outward or downward direction.
If you get a foreign language, regardless of language, and you have it done in a visible spot be prepared to always be “read” or constant questions of what it means. Sometimes, you may happen upon the person of that ethnicity who can read your tattoo and appreciate the meaning and the design. It’s sort of a tattoo industry urban legend that you hear about someone who thought they got one thing but it turned out to be be completely inaccurate or worse, obscene or vulgar.
Personally, if your knowledge of Chinese runs no deeper than a couple of dinners at PF Changs, you don’t need a kanji. While Angeline Jolie’s Thai tattoo is displayed prominently on her back, you know as well as I do, that she cannot actually read the writing, even if she’s completely sure of what it should say.
“What’s that mean?”
“What’s that say?”
“What language is that?”
Be prepared to hear these questions often when you get a non-English tattoo - unless you wisely choose a discrete location. Again, if it it not your native language YOU are responsible for the design and accuracy of meaning.
Tattoo Charlie’s Lexington