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Jay Lake
Date: 2011-04-29 05:17
Subject: [cancer|photos] Owning the pain through tattoos
Security: Public
Tags:art, cancer, friends, funny, health, photos, portland, videos
Yesterday I went over to Sea Tramp Tattoo here in SE Portland and marked my cancer experience permanently on my body in symbols of my own choosing. This is to contrast with the surgical traces across my abdomen and chest. [info]kenscholes came with, as did [info]mlerules. Being who we are, we brought cameras.


The inside of the shop

Tattoo artist Eric S. Quale was very patient with my desires and worked with me on properly sizing my provided art. I think he was amused by the intent of what I was doing, as well as by the general misbehavior of me and my friends.

Eric clipping art from my printouts

Me and Ken acting like we usually do

The art itself is intended to symbolize my experiences thus far. I wanted three zodiacal cancer signs, one for each surgery to date, and a biohazard symbol for my one chemo so far. (Yes, I know 'biohazard' is a tattoo often worn by AIDS patients, but when I'm on chemo I am a literal biohazard in the technical sense. If someone really needs to know, I'll explain the difference.)

The art

I wanted them done the way fighter pilots put kills on the noses of their aircraft, to symbolize the dogfights I've been in so far.

Of course, I had to sign The Papers.

Sign the papers, old man!

Then we got down to business.

Eric with tattoo gun
Eric with the tattoo gun

Yep. It hurts. Not a lot of hurt, just a little sting. A little sting over and over and over. After the past few years, I've become kind of an expert at needles, though.

Take a good look at my face

Here, too

And the result...

My left wrist

Three surgeries and a chemo. Next year I'll add one more of each, to mark this year's medical adventures. Because this cancer does not own me. I own it.

As a bonus, because we're us, Ken recorded a short video interview with me. The sound is crappy, and I'm trying to Tweet some of the tattoo process so I'm a little distracted, but it's still fairly amusing, methinks.

As usual, more at the Flickr set.

Photos and video © 2011, Ken Scholes and Joseph E. Lake, Jr.

Creative Commons License

This work by Ken Scholes and Joseph E. Lake, Jr. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

Post A Comment | 12 Comments | | Flag | Link

mlerules: dragon
User: mlerules
Date: 2011-04-29 12:44 (UTC)
Subject: Two By Two, Hands Of Blue...
And there're s'more photos here, too, also, as well. Haven't listened to my videos, so dunno if'n the sound's any better (or even whether I even had my vid running when he was filming).

Edited at 2011-04-29 12:46 pm (UTC)
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2011-04-29 13:47 (UTC)
Subject: Re: Two By Two, Hands Of Blue...
Nice photos! It's like you were there or something.
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Jim C. Hines
User: jimhines
Date: 2011-04-29 12:56 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Cancer can go to hell, but I really like the way the tattoos turned out, and the attitude behind them.
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The NewroticGirl
User: newroticgirl
Date: 2011-04-29 14:23 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I like the t-shirt! And the pics!
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User: rekre8
Date: 2011-04-29 15:21 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Love the t-shirt too. If only *I'd* seen that warning . . .

Look forward to seeing the completed set.
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User: kshandra
Date: 2011-04-29 15:51 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:Fuck Cancer
Nice ink. Must show this to gridlore.
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slweippert: peeking around corner
User: slweippert
Date: 2011-04-29 16:48 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:peeking around corner
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Kari Sperring
User: la_marquise_de_
Date: 2011-04-29 17:16 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Very elegant. And very appropriate.
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jere7my: Shadow
User: jere7my
Date: 2011-04-29 19:05 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
You've kinda got a "mark of the Beast" thing going on there.
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2011-04-29 19:10 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
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☼ Jessica T.N. Lane ☼: English
User: windborne
Date: 2011-04-29 21:49 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Very cool idea, and I love that shirt. :D
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Misty Marshall
User: mistymarshall
Date: 2011-04-29 23:05 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
OMg I love the Tshirt and the tattoos are pretty damn cool too. You are inspiring me to get new ink! next Saturday I am getting something new.
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