#33782
Mens Libera
Participant
@mens-libera

Hello everyone. This is my first post on here. I’m pleased to have found you.

I’m 19 years old and have been very keen on getting inked for about two years. I’ve given it time and much thought – mainly to be sure as, at 17, dawdling indecision isn’t out of the ordinary (not that two years can validly be seen as a long time compared to a tattoo that will live for as long as I do!) – and I am certain that this is what I want. I always knew deep down that somehow, someday I would end up tattooed, and I would like this artistic and expressive process to commence sooner rather than later!

Since tattoos should presumably say a lot about me as a unique individual, I have always been allured by meaningful, philosophical ink, either as obscure words (apophthegms, quotes etc.) or symbols. The particular ‘theme’ that works for me is liberty. Freedom of the mind, freedom of adventurous pursuit, freedom of expression, and so on. And equally the transition or journey from being figuratively ‘locked’ or constrained to attaining that freedom and self-knowledge. Whether this means anything to you at all is obviously irrelevant; it’s its importance to me that counts.

The tattoo I would like is on my upper arm (my cousin’s first tattooist said that’s the best place to start, although that isn’t the reason I want one there) with γνῶθι σαυτόν in a large, calligraphic style at the very top, just below my shoulder, a large symbolic representation of freedom/liberation and/or adventure/(self-)discovery, followed by “A prayer for the wild at heart, kept in cages” in another language (most probably Arabic or Persian). Here is an in-depth analysis of the semantic subtleties of the adage:

“The last thing ‘being wild’ means is seeking drug-thrills or being promiscuous. Wild does not mean hanging out in a bar, getting drunk, and wrecking your new car in a cow pasture. Wild is not about your gang slipping into the school at night and trashing the hallways and running off into the night howling with feral laughter. Wild is about real adventure, either in the world, or in the mind. Understanding that WikiHow is about answers and not questions, our task is to think out a 12 step plan, a ‘how-to’ that teaches the caged bird to fly free, and the free bird to accept the limitless sky. Go forth and unleash your heart.

Begin by considering the essence of Tenessee Williams’ quote. The quote precedes this article. There are two implied characters. The wild at heart who is “caged”, and the wild at heart who has managed to ‘fly free’. But, there are two conditions implied here as well. Ought we not to also consider what it means to be ‘caged’ rather than ‘free?’ And what is ‘free’ after all? How you perceive freedom makes all the difference between contentment and discontentment. Freedom exists as much in being amongst those around you as it does in being away from them. Once you accept this, it will be easier to stop feeling overwhelmed by company and the busyness of the world.”

My problem, though, is I don’t know what symbol or representation I could have for the concept of freedom or self-knowledge. I’m very open to suggestions (I’m mainly thinking on the lines of an animal or an actual shape/symbol that is emblematic of those notions). The only thing I’ve come up with is a lion (which relates to my real life name too), but I’m not overly satisfied. I would prefer an actual symbol, if possible. Up to now, the proposals have been a pair of chained hands releasing a dove or a woman (Virgin Mary) with chained hands releasing a dove (not that I’m religious at all, just that it’s a nice, fitting touch and covers up more space. By all means, make alternative suggestions if you have any).

Could any of you wise and wonderful folks help an ink virgin out? All help is welcome and much appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

#88038
Gsouder
Participant
@gsouder

Wow, now THAT is how you ask for advise on this forum! Good work!

I really like the theme of your tattoo. there are a million different ways you could go. The first thing that came to mind for me was an open fence gate. Looking out through an open fence gate with a broken lock out onto a scene of some sort that represents freedom to you. Rolling green hills, ocean, something surreal like a sky with crazy clouds, etc. On either side of the open gate you could have a plaque with your saying on it.

Personally, I would advise against words in a different language. To me, unless that is your natural spoken word, it just comes off kind of toolish. I think you could make this work with english and have it make a lot more sense. Besides, everyone will ask you it means and the first 100 times you explain it it will be cool and then it will just be annoying.

I’m sure other people will have other ideas but think this one over, could be cool.

#88039
Gsouder
Participant
@gsouder

Wow, now THAT is how you ask for advise on this forum! Good work!

I really like the theme of your tattoo. there are a million different ways you could go. The first thing that came to mind for me was an open fence gate. Looking out through an open fence gate with a broken lock out onto a scene of some sort that represents freedom to you. Rolling green hills, ocean, something surreal like a sky with crazy clouds, etc. On either side of the open gate you could have a plaque with your saying on it.

Personally, I would advise against words in a different language. To me, unless that is your natural spoken word, it just comes off kind of toolish. I think you could make this work with english and have it make a lot more sense. Besides, everyone will ask you it means and the first 100 times you explain it it will be cool and then it will just be annoying.

I’m sure other people will have other ideas but think this one over, could be cool.

#88046
Poesy
Participant
@poesy

Heya

I’m also an ink virgin but I’ve been working mine for about a year and when I finish these sodding exams I can actually get it. So i know how important the right stuff it.

If you’d like the release of a bird, why not simply have an empty, antique looking bird cage with an open door? Then add the dove, either flying out, or even above the quote, so you can see how far the bird has come? Even better, why not replace the dove with a butterfly? Apparently they are symbols of freedom and rebirth, and it’s a nice twist on the caged bird theme?

Here are some of the cages I mean, but you could make them even more filigree like if you wanted them prettier?

http://buttertoastboutique.files.wordpress.com/2009/08/antique-decorative-bird-cage.jpg

http://www.burchardgalleries.com/auctions/2002/aug1802/l73a.jpg

http://www.midwaypartyrental.com/images/products/cardbox_bird_cage_rnd_wire.jpg

Hope this is helpful, or at least sparks off some other ideas!

Poesy x

#88047
#88048
Benjaminho
Participant
@benjaminho

ahh cool, i tawt i taw a puddy tat

#88056
Mens Libera
Participant
@mens-libera
Gsouder;68175 wrote:
Wow, now THAT is how you ask for advise on this forum! Good work!

I really like the theme of your tattoo. there are a million different ways you could go. The first thing that came to mind for me was an open fence gate. Looking out through an open fence gate with a broken lock out onto a scene of some sort that represents freedom to you. Rolling green hills, ocean, something surreal like a sky with crazy clouds, etc. On either side of the open gate you could have a plaque with your saying on it.

Personally, I would advise against words in a different language. To me, unless that is your natural spoken word, it just comes off kind of toolish. I think you could make this work with english and have it make a lot more sense. Besides, everyone will ask you it means and the first 100 times you explain it it will be cool and then it will just be annoying.

I’m sure other people will have other ideas but think this one over, could be cool.

The ‘scenic tattoo’ you’ve suggested is great as a form of art, but wouldn’t work as ink (for me). It’s a nice idea though. 😀

The Greek quote is very well-known and widely understood and would be wrong to have it in English; plus, I am of Greek Cypriot ancestry, so it works. I can see why you would argue that I should keep the Tennessee Williams quote in English, but I am fascinated by language and speak other languages too (I shall be studying Arabic and Persian at uni after summer). I think it gives it that kick, that extra sense of subtlety and obscurity to have it in another language. I have contacted four of the best scholars in Arabic and Persian with a full, in-depth description of the quote in order for it to be rendered as fluently as possible in the source language, so that really isn’t a problem.

Poesy wrote:
Heya

I’m also an ink virgin but I’ve been working mine for about a year and when I finish these sodding exams I can actually get it. So i know how important the right stuff it.

If you’d like the release of a bird, why not simply have an empty, antique looking bird cage with an open door? Then add the dove, either flying out, or even above the quote, so you can see how far the bird has come? Even better, why not replace the dove with a butterfly? Apparently they are symbols of freedom and rebirth, and it’s a nice twist on the caged bird theme?

Here are some of the cages I mean, but you could make them even more filigree like if you wanted them prettier?

http://buttertoastboutique.files.wor…-bird-cage.jpg

http://www.burchardgalleries.com/auc…g1802/l73a.jpg

http://www.midwaypartyrental.com/ima…e_rnd_wire.jpg

Hope this is helpful, or at least sparks off some other ideas!

Poesy x

I don’t like the idea of the cage, sorry. But the contribution was most welcome – I’m just very fussy and reserve the freedom to be so when it comes to life-long body art. 😉 I don’t like the idea of a butterfly because I’m a man.

Talking of re-birth though, I did originally want a tattoo of a Greek phoenix until I decided that the quotes were more important and probably wouldn’t fit in conceptually with what the writing was saying. I wouldn’t rule out having a phoenix in the future, but I don’t think it could fit in with this tattoo. I don’t know what you guys think about that?

Another thing I failed to mention in my first post was ink colour. My thoughts so far have been black for the writing and grey for the hands and dove/Virgin Mary, hands, and dove (and maybe red if I had a flower or something with Mary, but I guess it depends on how productive my advice-seeking proves to be :p).

Thanks again, people. Keep ’em coming!

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