By Sean Herman
This past Hell City I was fortunate to tattoo three different collectors. Collectors are a whole different breed of client getting tattooed. They are passionately pursuing specific tattooers, and getting pieces to signify the work from that tattooer, no matter what the subject matter of the piece is. That always makes it an honor to tattoo a collector. During the weekend I had some people who were close to me tell me, “Hey, you keep going on about how awesome it is that they love tattooing, how about you write a blog about the collectors, like the one’s you write about tattooers.” She was right, why didn’t I think of that. Genius. After Hell City, I decided to get a few of them together to tell us their stories, I hope you enjoy… [Part I] [PartII]
I first saw pictures of I saw of Y’all were when he was getting tattooed by my friend Tim Kern. The main thing I remember was this huge smile on his face, grinning ear to ear, just stoked on life. At the recent Hell City convention I saw him walking around, and that same smile followed him. The guy just looked stoked to be alive.
I was introduced to him by two of my clients from that weekend that were friends of his. He was probably one of the most polite people I had met. When I finished up my piece on Sunday and had started packing up he came up to me and asked if I had time to tattoo him. That right there, that meant the world to me, I couldn’t believe the guy wanted to get tattooed by me. Y`all has work from everyone from Robert Hernandez to Filip Leu, it’s an amazing collection he is working on. Y’all’s love for tattooing is infectious, and I knew right there I had to tattoo him. He told me he wanted a piece that covered his entire thumb.
Right away all I thought was, “Oh god, this guy lives in Puerto Rico and wants his thumb tattooed, it’s all gonna fall out and I’m not going to be able to touch it up.” I sat down with him, and did everything I could to try to talk him out of it. He just looked at me, smiled that Y`all smile and said, “This is what I want, and I want YOU to do it. I know, no matter what, I’m going to be happy, even if it all fell out.” What do you say to that? There is nothing you can say, his honesty makes the situation comfortable. Y`all has an amazing love for tattooing that is really rare. I saw this and realized the honor it would be to tattoo him, so I did. Luckily, months later, it didn’t fall out.
Here’s Y`all’s story about how he became a collector and why…
Well I never know how to start a description, but I can start that the only portrait I have is a portrait of Picasso… He once stated, “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life…” Since I was young I have always understood the language of music and art. It can be the most sincere and true form of expression, I believe it is the most powerful thing there is, while religion, nationalities, politicians, so-called world leaders divide, I learned that art itself unifies.
I live in Puerto Rico, I can just relate and understand so many people in any part of the world that share the same passion that there is no way I could not fall in love with this… Along my journey to complete my bodysuit I have met the most amazing people, artists, enthusiasts and collectors, most of the ones I consider my family. I love ART, looking at so many great pieces done on boards and canvases… When I first saw the beautiful thing that could be done on skin, art that I could just wear forever, made and custom-made just for me, I knew I wanted to be covered.
I just wish I had more arms and legs… We, as collectors, decide who we want to add their work on us, this makes us different, it is a statement… to stand as ourselves the way we want to be, look and live. I do not seek a meaning on the tattoos I own, I just love art and love to see what those chosen artists create or make fit on me, as a tailor-made suit by people I respect, not just as artists but as people too. I have a medieval dragon piece on my back. Later, after getting it, I found an interesting story about the dragon that made me think about so many things, like people who pre-judge people with tattoo art on their bodies as well as for many other things in life:
“The dragon has always been slandered and misjudged, persecuted and hounded by man, simply because they are different. Like so many other living beings, he has experienced death and persecution in the name of so-called superiority of civilized man. Perhaps, in the future, man will learn with the death of a single animal or plant species an irreplaceable asset – something more precious than all the wealth in the world is lost. Only then will the Earth continue to be a brilliant blue jewel in the universe, for in its heart will be locked the priceless treasure of the diversity of the species, and man will have recognized his duty to cherish every single one.”
I work for a government corporation in Puerto Rico in the customer service department. Thanks for thinking about me for this and sorry for the LONG story, I tried to make it short but when your are passionate about something there are never enough words. Ha-ha.
(Sean Herman is a tattooer and contributing blogger for Tattoo Artist Magazine.)
Sean can be found at:
Mobile, AL 36601
251 432 4772