We decided to take a trip out to Asheville, which is a VERY interesting city. While FAR from my first time in North Carolina, I'd never made it as far west as Asheville in the past... and I have to say that that is my loss. We made up for it though. It's a very comfortable "southern" town with all of the trappings of the old, Mid-Atlantic cities - i.e., Baltimore, Norfolk, Charleston - that remind you that you're still standing in one of the eldest areas of your nation.
We stopped into a little street-side cafe for lunch and while we were munching on sweet potato seasoned fries and a less-than-appetizing Brunswick stew, Anne said "You know... you HAVE been wanting to get your tattoo for a while now. We're probably not going to be able to make it out this way again anytime soon. If you want, we could look for a place here and use it to commemorate the trip?"
It was a fantastic idea. I've been wanting a caduceus tattoo since I passed my nursing boards. To me, it represents a massive turning point in my life - professionally as well as personally - and, in a sense, "consecrates" my flesh to the ideals and my personal philosophies attached to my being a nurse.
So we did some quick polling of some locals in the general area around us who seemed to boast some impressive work to determine which direction to head. The overwhelming consensus was "Empire Tattoo."
Anne and I have had some disagreements over some of the things that I would like to have permanently tattooed onto my body. I like martial images... pagan shapes and iconography as opposed to "tribal" stuff. I like hard, sharp edges and deep blacks. Solid, unmistakable lines, stuff like that. You get the idea. Basically, Anne calls my "taste" in tattoos "pretty much towards a Skinhead bent." Now, initially, the idea was to have a very stylized, martial, eastern-European-esque "Aquila," or "two-headed eagle" with iron wings incorporated INTO the traditional caduceus design and have it take up the whole of my back with the wings stretching for shoulder to shoulder.
Needless to say, that got a nice, solid veto.
So we compromised. I talked to the artist about my idea for a caduceus with a more "intimidating" wingspan. I wanted wings like a raptor on mine... not like a swan or a dove. Joachim, the guy that ended up designing what I envisioned and doing the tattoo itself, knew exactly what I wanted and I never once had to repeat myself or clarify much at all.
We talked about some of the finer points of the sketch, came to an agreement, decided on my left calf, and in about an hour, the final result came across like this:
Now, I know you might be thinking "What's up with the serpents? They look like Slimey, Oscar the Grouch's pet inchworm, man!"
Joachim and I decided not to put a whole lot of extraneous detail into the serpents, as to do so might detract from the wings... and that's REALLY where I wanted the focal point and attention. At a distance, the serpents actually look pretty cool... and they're detailed just enough so that you can tell that they're "alive."
So there it is. I'm more than happy with it, and if you ever find yourself in or near Asheville, NC and are looking for a good place to trade blood for ink or steel, then check out Empire.Empire Tattoo Parlor
83 Patton Avenue
Asheville, NC 28801
All the best,
Anne, Zack, a couple of the dogs and myself just got back home from a four-day trip up to Franklin, North Carolina. We stayed in a cabin in the foothills of the Smokies. All things being equal, it was a relaxing and much-needed retreat from the foetid humidity and general skank of Florida in January. The trip was conceived for us to take a trip up to the Hickory and Boone areas of NC to kind of scope out the "lay of the land," if you will and to get an idea on what real estate and housing prices are like up there.