The illustrious Don Ed Hardy is doing my tattoo. He did Forbes, many years ago, and I have been a fan ever since. He made the world of tattooing what it is today, bringing the traditional Japanese imagery from the vibrant outlaw tattoo culture of the samurai and blending it with old school nautical themes, while at the same time making huge innovations in technique, introducing the tribal phenomenon, editing, curating, teaching, learning, growing, of course tattooing, and all in all, making great strides in establishing tattooing as a fine art form. He lives in Hawaii and commutes to his shop in San Francisco, called Tattoo City.
San Francisco is tattoo city, so the name is sweetly appropriate. Because of Don Ed Hardyâ€™s incredible influence and vision, the best tattooists in the world have set up shop here, and the city dwellers sport some of most impressive artwork around. Itâ€™s my hometown, so I never need an excuse to go up there. Forbes hooked us up, and I was fortunate enough to get a little time with Ed, in the midst of my own hectic schedule. The most challenging thing about the whole process was scheduling, since I am all over the place all the time and so is Ed, but miraculously it worked out so well, I can only conclude it was meant to be.
Ed designed a beautiful back piece for me, a very large and lush peony (my name in Korean â€“ â€œMoranâ€) with two snakes curling around a branch of cherry blossoms, with falling petals. The snakes curl around to the front, and then back again. They have a dear and protective disposition, and I am proud to wear them for life.
Before heading to Tattoo City, Suhaila and I spent all morning at her home in Kensington, where she let her snake Pierre rest on my shoulders. I am terrified of snakes, but I love them too. I had never held one, but Suhaila said that since I am going to be wearing not one, but two, for the rest of my life, I had better get used to it now. Pierre was gentle, curious, climbing up and down my back and shoulders, his long, black licorice tongue darting out to catch snippets of conversation. His boa constrictor body supple and fine, slowly settled in the valley between my breasts and around my neck. His triangle head rested on my hand, and every once in a while, his tongue would dart out and lightly surprise my fingers. He liked me, I think.
Snakes are magnificent creatures, like nothing else on earth. I donâ€™t know why I am afraid of them. Possibly because they are so different, mysterious and unknowable, unpredictable. But on my back, they will be my protectors, my guardians, my cheerleaders and my friends.