Working with Kevin was a total dream and privilege. He commissioned four tattoos, the most I've ever done for any client. The first time I saw these photos I gasped with astonishment. What a privilege to be granted so much real estate! The translation of the first tattoo, in Gaelic, is, roughly, "I will love you until the end of time." My gratitude to Kevin, Nex and Erich. 

Why does anyone get a tattoo, really? 

I can't say the reasons I've chosen to decorate my skin with images and words. There's no eloquent story of change or struggle or growth that led me to my first tattoo some (nearly!) twenty years ago. It just felt like something I needed. And I've continued this vague pursuit of self as I've added tattoos and tattooed over tattoos. 

Each is intensely personal. Each is a story. An element of me. They speak of my frailties and failures, my successes and loves. They are totems of fatherhood, heritage, the people most important to me.

The expression of these things – these deeply meaningful, particular things – through Mara’s designs are elegant and striking and seem at once foreign and perfectly at home on my body. They are too beautiful for me but are mine and mine alone. They are an idealized representation of thought that is yet unexpected. A cherished surprise. A fortunate, emotional reminder of the things that make me who I am.

Why does anyone get a tattoo, really? To express their feelings as eloquently as Mara’s art is perhaps reason enough.

Tattoo by Nex (Chicago, IL). Photographs by Erich Schrempp.