Tat Chat: Liberation’s Wolf
What’s your name and what do you do?
My name is Liberation. I’m an artist and I work in social media.
How many tattoos do you have?
Right now, 27.
Which is your favorite tattoo?
My favorite tattoo is the wolf on my neck. I had it done last year.
What’s the story behind it?
It’s inspired by the German proverb “Fear makes the wolf bigger than he is.” When I was younger I was pretty fearless in my risk taking, like moving to New York City when I was 22. As I got older, a little voice started creeping into my head that said, “I can’t do that because…” and then create some rational excuse to not take risks. Anything good that’s ever happened to me happened because I took a risk and went outside of my comfort zone. I didn’t want to live a fear-based life and I don’t.
Where did you get the tattoo done?
White Rabbit Tattoo Studio on 10th Street in the East Village. I work with Rachel and I absolutely love her. She’s a talented artist with a unique style and I have a real collaborative process with her which is incredibly important to me. She gets all of my esoteric references to things that inspire me whether it’s a Lars Von Trier film, or a book of Russian prison tattoos, or the Dutch Masters, and she creates brilliant custom pieces for me. I also like the atmosphere in the shop; Jes and Mark are friendly and the music is chill. They don’t blare Bad Brains for hours at a time like some other shops I’ve been tattooed at.
What do you feel is the biggest misconception people have towards tattoos?
I’m not sure if it’s the biggest, but the misconception that irritates me the most is the theory people become “addicted” to tattoos. I got my first tattoo 22 years ago when I was 15. I gradually added new pieces over the years but it wasn’t until I hit my mid 30s that I really dove in. Last year alone I added 7 new pieces and I currently have 2 in the works. It’s not that I’ve suddenly become addicted, it’s that the older I get I’m more confident in my decision making. I know how to translate milestones in my life into visual concepts and fine-tune them into a tattoo. There’s a great quote I love by my friend Penny Arcade, “As you get older your own authenticity becomes a great comfort to you.” It’s so true.
What advice would you offer to someone thinking of getting their first tattoo?
I would suggest starting small. This way if you decide you don’t like it or your taste changes, you can rework it, add to it, or get a cover-up. You’ll have options. I suggest browsing tattoo sites like CheckOutMyInk.com for ideas, inspiration, tattoo placement, etc.
And don’t overthink it. People think they must have this major moment with a tattoo, that it has to mean something. Most of my tattoos have meaning but not all of them do. I have a tiny pork chop on my arm, it’s from a David Wojnarowicz painting and I got it for no other reason than it makes me laugh.
Photo courtesy of Dina Regine