Hi, my name is Shotsie Gorman. I’m here as
a tattoo artist, a professional tattoo artist for Expert Village. This particular tattoo
has a tremendous story behind it. It is a tattoo taken from newspaper photographs of
two children being saved from a burning building by a fireman. This fellow came to me to get
this first part of the tattoo which was just this picture of his father, the fireman looking
down at the infant after he brought him back to consciousness. And we did that tattoo,
he was very happy with it, very satisfied. He didn’t really talk much about beyond the
motivation of getting something in reference to his father. He didn’t talk to me much about
what was going on. When he came back the second time, he said that he actually was estranged
from his father, hadn’t spoken to him in about ten years. And decided he wanted to go ahead
and finish his entire back with the photographs taken from this scene where his father was
actually giving mouth to mouth resuscitation to the infant, and have the eight year old
brother lying on the fire escape. So we started the project, which took quite a long time.
Probably about thirty hours total tattooing to complete. And during that time, he began
to tell me about this estrangement with his father. Once we completed the tattoo, he had
read about a tattoo convention that was going to be held in Philadelphia, and decided he
was going to go and enter his tattoo in a competition. He entered the tattoo, it won.
It appeared in many national magazines, got picked up on the internet. And he was contacted
by a national fireman’s website called “Matchbox.com”. They were so excited about the tattoo, that
they gave him a special page in the website, and included the information about him winning
the awards, and the fact that he was honoring his father with this tattoo. And as a result
of that, it ended up being picked up I think by the water services, and picked up nationally
in the newspapers. And he made contact, his father made contact with him, after the tattoo
had gotten out into the fireman’s community. He was a retired fireman at the time. So this
tattoo not only allowed me the opportunity to create a very powerful piece of artwork,
but it created a transition in this man’s life where after ten years of estrangement,
he has reestablished a relationship, a loving and ongoing relationship with his father.
Which I think demonstrates a connection to the tradition of what tattooing has always
been about. Tattooing has always been about a rite of passage, it’s always been about
a talisman, a connection to ancestors, a way of protecting one’s self.