Q1. Where did you get your first tattoo and do
you know by who?
A. I got my first tattoo, a small rose on the inside of my lower calf,
at Body Art Graphics in the Pennsauken Mart, Pennsauken, NJ. A guy
named Heavy did my first three tattoos.
Q2. What was going through your mind when you got your first tattoo?
A. I was thinking about how much it hurt and hoping nobody I knew
would see me.
Q3. Is there a meaning behind your first tattoo and what is it if you
care to share?
A. I really didnít get into meanings for tattoos until much later.
Q4. What is your favorite tattoo, where is it and why?
A. My favorite is on my left shoulder. It was done by Steve Tiberi at
Olde City Tattoo in Philadelphia, and it shows a Tibetan hand gesture,
or mudra, with flames leaping out of it. Flames are an expression of
wrath in Tibetan iconography, but I didnít know that at the time. I
like it because itís beautiful and because it is the first tattoo
drawn specifically for me.
Q5. What advice can you give people who are looking to get ink for the
A. First, look for a clean shop. If the shop or the artistsí
technique donít look clean/sterile, it doesnít matter how cool the
art is. Second, ask to see the artistís portfolio or workbook. The
flash on the wall doesnít tell you that much about the artist. Ask
if thereís one particular artist at the shop that specializes in
designs like the one you want. Third, talk to the artist about the
work at least once before you sit down to get your tattoo.
Q6. Any Additional Comments
A. I probably will never go back to flash off the walls.
Q7. also tell us about your experiences with body art....
A. John Durante did a strike branding on my back in 2003 at Infinite
Body Piercing in Philadelphia. I brought him a simple design, he cut
and bent three strike pieces, and had a transfer made to apply the
design to my back. I laid down on a table, James the counter guy
pulled the skin of my back straight and taut, and Jon Weir the shop
manager held a butane torch. John Durante did the branding in about 15
strikes. Each strike hurt for about a second or two and then ceased to
John Durante came back to Philadelphia in 2004, and I had him to a
scarification on me. I had a handprint placed on my hip as a symbol of
22 That night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two
maidservants and his eleven sons and crossed the ford of the Jabbok.
23 After he had sent them across the stream, he sent over all his
possessions. 24 So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him
till daybreak. 25 When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he
touched the socket of Jacob's hip so that his hip was wrenched as he
wrestled with the man. 26 Then the man said, "Let me go, for it
is daybreak." But Jacob replied, "I will not let you go
unless you bless me." 27 The man asked him, "What is your
name?" "Jacob," he answered. 28 Then the man said,
"Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel,  because you
have struggled with God and with men and have overcome."