First things first: Fuzzy and I were in Paris last week.
It was amazing. For many reasons. I got to see Christopher and Katie. I saw one of my best friends get married. I fell in love with the city of Paris, and I fell in love all over again with my husband (which I do every single day, but it was especially romantic in Paris). I am going to talk about these things some other time. Right now, I have something else I want to talk about.
Fuzzy and I got new tattoos.
Several years ago, Fuzzy used to subscribe to a number of tattoo magazines. We would look at them and ooh and ahh and talk about our future of tattoos. Both Fuzzy and I were big tattoo fans, though then, we both only just had a couple. One day, we got one that had a feature on Lionel Fahy: Lionel Out of Step, and we were both awe-stricken. I am pretty sure that this is the article we had, from International Tattoo Magazine in May of 2006 (found on Lionel's site--click each pic to read the whole article). We became obsessed with his portfolio, and we added to our life wish list "get tattooed by Lionel." We showed his work to all of our friends. We googled him and got alerts on his work and obsessed constantly. In May of 2007, Fuzzy emailed with him and got on a waiting list for a trip he was planning to New York for December of that year. Sadly, his trip was canceled, but in looking up this timeline just now, we would have had to cancel our trip then anyway, due to Dad's passing away.
So we started planning and scheming and dreaming about how to get to France. Fuzzy decided to save his entire right arm to let Lionel do whatever he wanted. I got my 2 arm tattoos by Esther, but still had space on my arms to get a tattoo from Lionel. He started a blogspot, which made for easy subscribing, and I probably tested the patience of Fuzzy daily with the constant repetition of me gasping, oohing, and saying "Fuzzy, look at this one" and then saving the photo to my phone. Fuzzy and I decided that no matter what, we were going. It became the plan.
From an email from my brother in January of 2011, when I said we were planning a trip to France sometime, he said "Are you going to get tattoos from that French dude you like?"
From an email from my bro on Aug 6th, 2012: "Looks like your French vacation plans may be coming to fruition: Jeremy and Jan are getting married on June 21, 2013 in Paris."
I emailed Lionel November 15th requesting a slot. We were to book our flights around the tattoo. Turns out, he was going to be working in Paris the week we were there. Meant to be. I paid our deposit, he gave us the info, and then we had to wait.
For months people would ask us what we were going to get. We would reply "whatever he wants to give us." As it got closer to the date, Christopher booked the apartment. One day, Fuzzy and I decided that since the tattoo was happening our first full day there, we needed to find out how to get there earlier than the day of, since we would be tired and jet-lagged. So we put the addresses into google maps and discovered that the parlor was literally down the street from our apartment. A short walk. The stars were aligned.
Before we left town, we compiled a list of things of his that we liked and what we wanted so he could have an idea of what to expect. Fuzzy wanted pictures and maybe a tribute to our old sweet cat Mustapha. I wanted lines and colors and abstract movement. My only request was for it to work with my flowers and birds that I already had. And then we were off.
LIONEL FAHY v Praze from jan dufek on Vimeo.
Monday morning, we had breakfast with the group in town for the wedding, then set off to the parlor. We were excited, only a little nervous, and very very ready. When Lionel entered the room, it was an amazing feeling. It was like meeting a celebrity to us, but a warm, compassionate and charming one. We got along great & made some jokes. He even asked about an episode of Drunk Monkeys that he had watched (I have links on my email signature about it). This guy was good.
We chatted about what we wanted, and he pitched an idea for me that I instantly loved. Then he sent us off for a bite so he could sketch some things up for Fuzzy.
And then, the magic started.
Fuzzy's stencil. After these were applied, Lionel did a lot of hand drawing to fill out the arm.
Then Lionel got to work.
Black work done--time for color!
All done! Fuzzy's took about 4 hours.
Amazing! SO GORGEOUS. I love it so much.
That's a whole lot of handsome right there, I tell ya.
Then, it was my turn. For me, he was going to do one in a series he was doing based on constellations. He hand-drew directly on me, anchoring many of the lines to my freckles and moles. Talk about custom work!
Here is me, doing a great job of looking like a turtle (above).
Mine goes down to my elbow, and across my back.
Down to business.
The lines are immaculate. I can't imagine how much concentration and focus that took.
Life passing by on the street outside.
A brief break for color, and then--All done! Mine took 1.5-2 hoursish.
Lionel and me!
I received lots of compliments on the tattoo the rest of the week. One person even thought that my previous tattoo was also a part of the new one. Mission accomplished!
Amazing. Perfect. Wonderful. I can't think of a better souvenir for a wonderful trip than original custom art that we get to wear every day from an artist that we've loved and admired for a long time. Unforgettable. And as each day goes on, I love them more and more. They are perfect for us. It really is a dream come true.
We still have some healing to do, but here we are, one week later:
Gorgeous! I'm so happy. So in love with it. I love that my flowers are mostly on the inside of my arm, and the constellations are mostly on the outside. It flows together perfectly, and it makes me feel beautiful.
I'm so happy that I get to look at these every day. Lucky me! Gorgeous tattoos for my gorgeous husband!
As we left the shop, Lionel made a comment about maybe getting more work done in the future. That would be yet another dream, but now we know that really anything is possible, right?
Oh yeah, and there's this:
I am so blessed to have had this experience.
Read Fuzzy's blog about it here! And I second what he said about checking out Lionel's band Copenhagen. I've been listening to it on repeat all week.
Lionel also gave us some amazing advice about buying wine while in Paris. And he was right--we didn't pay over 5 Euro a bottle (mostly in the 3-4 Euro range), and it was all amazing wine.
Thank you, Lionel, for sharing your art with us!! Hope we can meet again.