Partially inspired by:
Here’s the start of my Plague themed sleeve done by Nick Chaboya at Seventh Son tattoo in San Francisco. (http://www.nickchaboya.com/)
This was about 3.5 hours of work and I tapped out. To be fair, I have a stomach flu as well but I waited a long time for this appointment and there was NO WAY I was going to miss it.
This is the inside of my bicep. The image is of a Plague doctor. The top part is not finished yet. He’s going to be looking down on a girl with a gas mask that will be located on my inner forearm. Her hair will wrap around to the back of my arm where a hyper-realistic skull will be. On the outside of my forearm will be a window looking out on a desolated scene- bare, burned trees, maybe a moon some clouds… Anyway, I’m super excited.
If you don’t know what a plague doctor is, read below. It’s one of the spookiest things I have ever heard of and possibly one of the darkest images of disease in existence through out history. They put on these outfits that were designed to keep the evil off of them, stuffed the beak looking things full of herbs and spices so the smell wouldn’t get to them and literally went out into fields of death looking for survivors.
A plague doctor’s duties were often limited to visiting victims to verify whether they had been afflicted or not. Surviving records of contracts drawn up between cities and plague doctors often gave the plague doctor enormous latitude and heavy financial compensation, given the risk of death involved for the plague doctor himself. Most plague doctors were essentially volunteers, as qualified doctors had (usually) already fled, knowing they could do nothing for those affected.
Considered an early form of hazmat suit, a plague doctor’s clothing consisted of:
-A wide-brimmed black hat worn close to the head. At the time, a wide-brimmed black hat would have identified a person as a doctor, much the same as how nowadays a hat may identify chefs, soldiers, and workers. The wide-brimmed hat may have also been used as partial shielding from infection.
-A primitive gas mask in the shape of a bird’s beak. A common belief at the time was that the plague was spread by “bad air”. There may have been a belief that by dressing in a bird-like mask, the wearer could draw the plague away from the patient and onto the garment the plague doctor wore. The mask also included red glass eyepieces, which were thought to make the wearer impervious to evil. The beak of the mask was often filled with strongly aromatic herbs and spices to overpower the miasmas or “bad air” which was also thought to carry the plague. At the very least, it may have dulled the smell of unburied corpses, sputum, and ruptured bouboules in plague victims.
-A long, black overcoat. The overcoat worn by the plague doctor was tucked in behind the beak mask at the neckline to minimize skin exposure. It extended to the feet, and was often coated head to toe in suet or wax. A coating of suet may have been used with the thought that the plague could be drawn away from the flesh of the infected victim and either trapped by the suet, or repelled by the wax. The coating of wax likely served as protection against respiratory droplet contamination, but it was not known at the time if coughing carried the plague. It was likely that the overcoat was waxed to simply prevent sputum or other bodily fluids from clinging to it.
-A wooden cane. The cane was used to both direct family members to move the patient, other individuals nearby, and possibly to examine patients without directly touching them.
Leather breeches. Similar to waders worn by fishermen, leather breeches were worn beneath the cloak to protect the legs and groin from infection. Since the plague often tended to manifest itself first in the lymph nodes, particular attention was paid to protecting the armpits, neck, and groin.
I love the idea. And it looks like it’s going to come out sweet, it looks great so far.
gsouder, its gonna look killer. when do you back for your next sitting. And your tattooist’s online portfolio is fucking rad. San Fran is such a hot bed for tattooing its ridiculous. im gonna enjoy seeing your progress. keep everyone updated. looks sick man, congrats.
Thanks Guys! It took me a long time to find someone that matches the style I wanted… Nick is amazing! He’s also a pretty right on dude, way into what he does. He drew the whole thing on there by hand first and then just started going at it. I wish I was feeling better because I really wanted this part to be done so I could look forward to the rest. The gas mask girl is going to be along the same lines as something he did before:
Although it will be a lot different based on the theme of my tat. She’s going to be laying down and the doc is going to be looking down my arm at her. I guess waiting is part of it but fuck it’s going to be hard!
I’m hoping for a cancellation sooner by my next appointment is in AUGUST. I have no Idea how I’m going to wait that long…
As a funny aside, I had to go to the doctor today- which my wife and I have been calling Doctor Kevorkian due to his strange views on health (“don’t bother going to the gym because when you get older all that muscle will turn to fat”)- and he was eyeing my plague doctor tat. I wonder if he felt a kinship? lol!
well thats some creepy stuff , as a school kid i remember going to a local village where the plague broke out and they had the doctors mask there . very crow looking .
quality work look forward to seeing the next stage
That’s a really original idea 🙂
It could be really cool if the deserted outside are was venice – that’s were the plague dr mask comes from I think, and they still sell them there amongst all the really pretty carnival masks; its so creepy when you’re there. At one point Venice lost a third of its population to plague
That also give opportunity for really creepy architecture. They still have these two pillars in the middle of st mark’s square that superstitious venetians won’t walk through – because they held public executions there. Just a bit morbidly beautiful
Obviously ignore that if you’ve sorted all the design out – but I figured it couldn’t hurt to suggest it just in case it’s of interest!
Twas speechless childhood taught me these, as music may, in sound
I remember learning about these guys during my senior year of highschool.
Very very cool concept for a tattoo…and even better execution.
Congratulations on the piece and for finding such an awesome artist.
Very original and great work. You are going to have an amazing piece when it is done, can’t wait to see it!
this sleeve is going to be so fu#*en rad when its finished cant wait to see more progress
Beautiful work there bro. Credit to your artist.
Thanks everyone! I’m going back in sometime next week to finish the doc and then it’s along wait for the rest of the sleeve….
OK, so I went back in this weekend and the doctor is all finished…. But he’s all bruised and red and icky looking so I’m going to wait to post photos for a few days.
I will say this: getting a tat under your arm near your pit SUCKS BIG MONKEY BALLS!
OK, Since you put so many vowels in this post I decided to take a photo tonight. It’s a little yellow due to bruising and I still have a lot of those little red dots but you can see the pretty much final product. He’ll make one more pass for details but the next part is going to be my forearm in August or sooner (hopefully).
Anyway, here’s where I’m at now. It’s surprisingly hard to get a cohesive photo of a tat that goes around the arm so I put two photos up.
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