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Monday, 12 May 2014

Art Deco - A Tribute to Mom

Well, Happy Monday everyone!

I know, Monday has a bad reputation. It’s the worst day of the week, by far. That being said, Monday is the start of a new week which means there are all kinds of wonderful things that can happen. Say for example, the first themed post of Art Deco Divo!

At the tail end of last week, I was thinking intensely about what my first post would revolve around. Would it be a landmark? Some furniture? A cocktail? I decided to sleep on it for a few days and resolved that the idea would come naturally. Well, it did. In the spirit of Mother’s Day, the first post of my blog will feature an Art Deco tribute to my late Mother, Mary-Beth.

My mother and I were incredibly close. I have fond memories of us sitting in the surf at our summer home in Florida, chatting about life under the stars. She was a remarkable woman, loved and admired by many, and wise beyond her years. She even knew I was gay before I did, and in her own way let me know at the tender age of 11 that it was okay to be a boy and like boys. We used to stay up late and watch James Bond and classic films, or on a sunny day in June she would tell the school she forgot that I had a doctor’s appointment and we would sneak away to golf. She loved life. We are a lot alike, her and I.

Other times, we would just chat like best friends while wrapped up in the haunting vocals of Billie Holiday.  She taught me all about jazz and cultivated my love for music. She encouraged me to do whatever my heart desired to do and taught me to believe fiercely in myself and my capabilities. Sadly, she died of a brain aneurism at the age of 36. That was almost 17 years ago. The good do die young, it seems.

We erected a bench in her name at a local park, and I still have some of her ashes. For years and years, I wanted to do more than hold onto her ashes and visit her bench, I wanted something permanent that I could see every day to remind me of my love for her, something that others could see and in a way, be introduced to her. The idea came to me last summer.

 A good friend of mine had just gotten a tattoo on his chest; it was the classic sailor heart tattoo with “Mom” inscribed on a ribbon.  It looked awesome on him, and it got me thinking. I loved the idea, but I wanted something incredibly unique, something personal. I decided that I would get a heart tattoo, but it would be Art Deco inspired and would say Mary-Beth instead of Mom. I stumbled upon a photo of an Art Deco apartment with the most amazing windows (see pic) and that was part of inspiration (you’ll see why). 

 I decided to start the design myself before going to my tattoo artist in order to best communicate my vision. You can see my original design, which was pretty basic, but it was a great starting point.

I then met up with my tattoo artist Chino who loved the idea and said that it was the first time in his 30 years in the business that he'd being approached to design something like this, nor had seen anything similar anywhere else. It was truly unique. He wanted a month to research Art Deco and prepare a design based on my inspiration. The wait near killed me but on Friday September 9th, 2013 I walked into his shop and he showed me this:

Honestly, I felt a lump in my throat and had to choke back some tears. It was breathtaking.  It was perfect and I knew that she would love it. A total of 9 hours went into this piece and it truly exhibited everything I love about Art Deco; it had amazing line work, it was elegant, it actually reminded me of a Film Studio logo that would be displayed at the beginning of a classic film. How appropriate, I thought. It wasn’t cheap, as no tattoo should ever be, but it was worth every penny.

Yesterday may have been Mother’s Day, but I look in the mirror every morning at my tattoo and am thankful for being able to have had such an incredible woman in my life, if only for the first 13 years. She will be with me forever, and immortalized in this beautiful piece of Art Deco body art. 

For those who love Ink, check out my incredible talented artist Chino's shop 

I hope you enjoyed today's post! 

Your Art Deco Divo,


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