Earlier today I posted an article a "Reporter" wrote about how meaningless and pointless tattoos are, I posted the article on "Thank A Soldier" and quickly people started posting their tribute tattoos on the page and something ugly turned in to something amazing. A friend of mine Ivan Henderson who is a tattoo artist sent me the following response and I wanted to share it with all of you.
Ms. Lisa Khoury,
please allow me to introduce my self. My name is Ivan Henderson. I have been an owner operator of a tattoo shop for approximately 28 years. My intent with this message is not to impress you nor to intrigue you into the world of tattoos. My intent is to inform you intelligently and without judgement.
I will admit I have not read the article that has raised concern to my friends, but enough information has crossed hands and a trust in my friends allows me to trust what they have come to me with.
My understanding is that you find tattoos to be “classless and worthless. How you have come to this conclusion I am unsure. Be it personal taste, how you were raised, religion or a bad man/woman with a tattoo frightened or hurt you. In any event I assure you tattoos can be classy and full of worth to its owner and often times to those who view it.
My throat has recently been tattooed with the image of a white poppy. Although white poppies have many meanings, I have chose the one that best suits what I wanted to represent. I tattoo outside of a Canadian military base and am very close to the community and the people that live within. Soldiers for many missions around the world are deployed from this base and some have not come home. I have personally known over 50 soldiers/friends who have died overseas, be it in an aid type of deployment or in a war type of deployment.
The tattoo on my throat represents all soldiers who have ever died at war. Including other countries. I extend it to include those soldiers who died doing what ever they may be doing in the name of our country and military. Is this not a class selfless act in itself. Getting a tattoo to represent something so meaningful?
Have you ever heard a mother tell you how her husband has shaken their child to death and seen the pain in her eyes? I have, watching her pouring over a stack of images that cause this young childless mother to heave and cry as she chooses a design for a child that can never come back. Her decision made by using little Melissa,s birth flower to represent her death and that oh so blue that used to be the blue in her living eyes. Is this a classless or meaningless tattoo?
How about the guy who carried his friends face off of the battlefield in his own personal helmet, then rode beside his headless friend for two hours as they made there way back to the base camp. His tattoo would have class and meaning when it represents what he saw, felt and endured in those horrific days as well as what he will see, feel and endure the rest of his life. Does this not represent class and meaning?
These are but a few instances where I believe tattoos have class and meaning. I see selfless decisions made on an almost daily basis where people labor over which tattoo best represents their mom who just past away from cancer as well as many other heart wrenching situations. I have to admit. I have cried with some and laughed with others, as not all tattoos are about sad endings. Even the guy that had me repair is eyebrows because he had burned his face badly in a motorcycle crash. He never again wore painted eyebrows and low lying hats to hide his disfiguration.
From what I understand you wrote with passion on the topic. I now beseech you to have compassion and at the very least walk away knowing that for some if not most, their tattoos mean a lot and put them in a class of their own.
Ignorance is a bad thing if you do not learn from it. Tolerance is something we can all use just a bit more of. Tattoos are treated very much like the black who were enslaved by the whites. As time goes on and people learn, both situations are becoming better as is this world in so many ways. Be a part of the movement Ms., Khoury.
If this message causes you to want to reply, you may contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org even if it is a negative reply or if you would like to debate the issue in an intelligent way.
Thank you for taking the time to read from a different point of view.
This past Remembrance Day Ivan & the staff of his shop took part in "Poppy Day" where they did over 100 poppies tattoos in a day in honour of our fallen veterans. I think this letter says everything I have been trying to gather together with my thoughts in the past eight hours, Thank You Ivan.