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For the Love of Tattooing, the Transformative Tattoo: Jason Taylor

Categories: General | Posted by: Sean Herman

Here’s an excerpt of the second story in our series “For the Love of Tattooing, the Transformative Tattoo”, that we are presenting with our good friends over at openoureyes.org. To learn more about this series, check out our introduction blog here. To read this full story, click here. We hope you enjoy!

-Sean Herman


Tattoo I did a few years ago dealing with anxiety

Anyone who has suffered with bouts of anxiety, panic attacks, or depression can tell you that it can be physically crippling.  Imagine being in a situation, one that you should be familiar with, but nothing about it feels familiar.  Something you have done everyday now becomes foreign and unreal.  Your brain begins racing, spinning, your pulse quickens, your breathing is labored, and the obsessive thoughts begin.  “Did I lock the door, did I turn off the oven, did I offend someone and say something wrong” and now the world is slowly crumbling.  Your vantage point is lost, your anchor is lost, and you are floating around, reality becoming harder and harder to hold onto.  From my experience, social interactions become less and less, and isolation becomes the norm.  Sleep is a hard thing to find, and time becomes a hard thing to judge.  Without having a strong foundation to stand on, we lose sense of who we are, what’s going on, and what reality truly is.  The spinning brain becomes enemy number one, and the hopes of overcoming slowly evaporate into the fog.  To make it through that haze, the best thing we can do is to relate, to find a common bond that can facilitate understanding, to eventually realize that we are not alone.

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Photo of Jason Taylor

As a tattooer, I am extremely fortunate to tattoo people everyday, people that are from all walks of life, coming from all kinds of different places.  Once in a while, after tattooing someone a few times, I get a chance to connect with them and share things that we both are challenged with and struggle with; I find a kindred spirit in hope.  I was fortunate to start tattooing Jason Taylor years ago, when I was in a much more difficult place, one that we both could identify with.  In Jason, I felt like I was less crazy and alone, and I began to realize that maybe there was something else out there besides the fog I had been in.  I really looked forward to his appointments, and it was during one of these that we came up with the idea of tattooing a little brain monster on him, representing that place we both found ourselves lost in.  Overcoming that brain became just as important to me, and I was lucky to watch Jason take the steps to achieve this, and his example gave me hope.  As tattooers we get called therapist, but in this situation with Jason, I found myself being the one finding hope in change.


You can find the full article here.

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For the Love of Tattooing, the Transformative Tattoo: London Reese

Categories: Featured Blogs, General, Interviews | Posted by: Sean Herman

This is an excerpt of the first story we are bringing you for the Transformative Tattoo series at Serpents of Bienville.  Learn more from our prior blog that you can read here. We are working with an amazing organization, openoureyes.org to bring you stories of lives changed through tattooing. For the full article, click here.


Written by Sean Herman

Hi, I’m Sean Herman, and I’m an over-planner.  It took me years to accept that I operate in a world that I tend to plan out to the last minute.  I don’t mean to do it, I just keep thinking about things that I want to do, and the best way to get them done is to write them in the book of life, sorry, I mean, my schedule.  It’s a disease I’m trying to overcome, but the first step is acceptance.  Those spur of the moment occasions, those are the ones that end up throwing a much needed wrench in my system.

Me tattooing Yall's thumb at Hell CityMe tattooing Yall’s thumb at Hell City

In my years of working tattoo conventions, I have always found that the unplanned walk-up will be one that ends up changing my life.  I was approached by a formidable presence of a man years ago while I was packing up my table, getting ready to leave Hell City, and make the drive back to Alabama from Ohio.  Yall Quiñones approached me to get his thumb tattooed.  His passionate love of tattooing, the work that goes into it, and his ultimate respect easily convinced me that Alabama could wait, and I had more important things to do.  That tattoo changed my life, but that is for a different story that I will tell later.  One of the other times that I was approached at a convention to do a piece was by a kind, soft spoken man named London, and little did I know, that experience would create a bond that, in the end, would help give me hope for someone I love.

 

photograph of London Reese Photograph of London Reese

London Reese approached me years ago, asking about an opening that weekend at the Motor City Convention.  Within minutes we had a common bond in punk rock and hardcore, and even more in struggles going on in family matters.  We both had a mother that was in a similar place, and it tore us apart.  In London, I found someone that not only understood where I was coming from, the pain I was going through watching my mother continue down a path of self destruction.  London had something I didn’t have though, and that was hope.  When we spoke about the piece that he wanted to get, a woman with tears streaming down her face, the thing he wanted to emphasize was that he wanted hope in her eyes.  Listening to him talk, I found that the only way I was going to find that hope was going to be if I got over my own anger and resentments, and focused on love, on showing my mother that same much-needed love.  That tattoo, that day, changed my life in more ways than one.


For the full article, click here.

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For the Love of Tattooing, the Transformative Tattoo: An Introduction

Categories: Featured Blogs, General | Posted by: Sean Herman

The following is an excerpt of my most recent blog for Serpents of Bienville, for the full article click here.


Tattoos are a living, breathing thing, existing symbiotically with us.  They can change rapidly, making them one of the most impermanent arts.  The maximum life span for most tattoos is 70 years or so, aside from cases like Otzi the Iceman, whose lifetime was around 3300 BCE.  Most people will not end up being preserved in ice, the perfect storm of conditions, preserved via the wintery storm that took their life.  For most people, when their time comes and they move on to their next journey, their tattoos are left behind, quickly dissipating back into the air around them.  In essence, tattoos are just like our life spans, gone within the blink of an eye, and also fluidly moving, ever changing, and becoming something new.

 

Otzi Iceman tattoo

Example of the tattoos found on Otzi the Iceman.

 

As tattooists, we get to take part in a sacred act, opening up the skin that guards people, now making them vulnerable.  We then get to put something back into that wound, something either positive or negative.  We have the ability to give people something, during that time of vulnerability, that their body will heal over, and the skin that guarded them will wear for their journeys to come.  Scientifically, our tattoos are always changing.  Tattoo needles, made in various groupings, are pushed through the skin by small, precise machines, pushing through the epidermis at some 50 to 3000 times per minute, and distributing ink into the dermis, the deeper layer of skin housing our nerves and blood cells.  Our nerves produce triggers, declaring that a break has occurred.  These triggers tell our immune system to get to work, and attempt to fix break has occurred on our protective skin, creating inflammation.  In essence, the pain is a signal of something being fixed.  Job specific cells called macrophages come to triggered area, guided by following the inflammation, and they begin to consume the ink that has been pushed through the puncture wounds.  What ink that is left is then soaked up by skin cells called fibroblasts.  Much of the macrophages and fibroblasts are then trapped there, suspended in the dermis, in perpetuity.  This suspension of the ink in the cells are why we see tattoos as they are, but the slow dispersant back into the body is why they appear to fade over time.  Perpetuity can only be so long.  There’s that impermanence thing again.  Change is all around.

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To read the rest of this post, go to www.serpentsofbienville.com, or click here.

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God Don’t Ever Change, It Will Be Alright…

Categories: Featured Blogs, General | Posted by: Sean Herman

STORY BY SEAN HERMAN

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Out in the dark

I’m going to let it shine

Oh, out in the dark

I’m going to let it shine

Hallelujah

Out in the dark

I’m going to let it shine

Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine


“Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God,” words rise from a lone voice, growing from the small country church congregation, lying deep in the heart of the American South.  The voice barely has a discernible echo, floating to the back of the room.

“No higher power,” is proclaimed loudly by one single voice in front of a hungry crowd of worshipers.  The echo now fills the room. Head down, concentrating intensely, his movements look as though he is storing up a body full of potential energy.

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“Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation,” says another voice rising eerily out into the room.

“Whosoever resisteth the power of God,” is echoed from the man, now circling, almost nervously, his energy building.

“Come on, come on. Tell it,” a multitude of voices now filling the room, giving force and vigor to the man now circling the stage.

“Those who resisteth receive damnation,” proclaims the man, now breaking a sweat, as he circles the small stage once more.

“Amen. Come on,” rises like an on coming wave in the distance from out of the crowd.

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Voices continue. “For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? Do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same.”

We’re fixing to find out what the power was,” loudly proclaims the man on stage, now starting to pour sweat, with the room beginning to fill with the energy he is manifesting with his proclamations and movements.

Voices continue loudly. “But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.”

Silence.


This piece is an exert from the most recent blog I wrote for www.serpentsofbienville.com.  For the full article, click here.

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The Mythicist Podcast

Categories: Interviews | Posted by: Sean Herman

Podcasts are a part of Serpents of Bienville that we are really enjoying exploring.  We have a 5 part story series in the works for you, along with a conversational podcast that is going to be coming out soon.  That podcast will feature ghost stories, ufo’s, and conspiracy culture, all from our area.  Until then, enjoy this recent podcast I did with the great people at mythicist.me and Truthseekah.  I really had a great time, and we go over some of the stories that the prints I drew for Serpents of Bienville, explaining more of my thoughts on the pieces.  We also delve into my thoughts on cults, religion, ufo’s and conspiracy culture as a whole.  I hope you enjoy, and we wanted to thank Truthseekah and mythicist.me for the opportunity.  Make sure to check out some of the other episodes they have produced for you.

You can check out more of his work at awakenfire.com/truthseekah/

Listen Here

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