Tuesday, October 15, 2013

My latest ink: St. Albans and Burning Man collide

Hey there,

I went to St. Albans School for Boys for 8 years. I was there from 5th-12th grade, 1991-1999.
From the top of Mount St. Alban, St. Albans School looks up to the Washington National Cathedral and out to the United States Capitol. Our location serves as an embodiment and constant reminder of the School’s motto: Pro Ecclesia et Pro Patria, for Church and Country. Since the School was established in 1909 by the Protestant Episcopal Cathedral Foundation, our mission has been to prepare boys to develop and use their spiritual, intellectual, artistic, and physical gifts not for themselves alone, but in service of the greater community.
Needless to say it was a very formative experience of my life, which, at the age of 32, accounts for a bout 25% of it. Here is our high school emblem:

Want to know more about the school? Check out the Wikipedia entry for it.

So I'd been wanting to get the emblem for a while...and I have to be honest, partly because I actually lost my class ring. But that's besides the point, after thinking about it for a while, I realized that the emblem would make a good tattoo.

That leads us to the week or so before I had my appointment scheduled. I went to Burning Man for the first time this year. Although only 8 days and not 8 years, my time at Black Rock City was very life-changing. If you're not familiar with Burning Man, I would start by checking out the Ten Principles:
  • Radical Inclusion
  • Gifting
  • Decommodification
  • Radical Self-reliance
  • Radical Self-expression
  • Communal Effort
  • Civic Responsibility
  • Leaving No Trace
  • Participation
  • Immediacy
So I threw the logo to Blake Becker, the tattoo artist who's done all my work actually, and asked him if he could incorporate the logo into my high school emblem.

My appointment day came up, and I went to the Tattooery, Blake's shop in College Park. He showed me what he came up with, I thought it was perfect, and this is what it looked like:

What I like is that it definitely reflects my playa name, which I found thanks to Playa Name Help. Here's a photo of me with my helper, courtesy of their Facebook page:

It's actually kind of meta now that I think of it. What kicked of the discussion which led to my name, were actually my existing tattoos. I shared that beyond their meaning, I also got each one done on a significant date related to it.

So from talking about how time and place being significant to me, it led to a conversation about how my artistic and creative work is also about an intersection, but of communities. Anyway, long story short, they ended up helping me find my playa name, Nexus:
A means of connection; a link or tie; the core or center.
And so, my latest tattoo...kinda brings it all full circle.

What do you think?

JR aka Nexus
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