Contact Sean | Tel: 251.304.9008 | sean@seanherman.com

Interviews

For the Love of Tattooing, the Transformative Tattoo: Robert Waldrup

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

Here’s the fifth 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.  We hope you enjoy!.

Sean Herman


One of my most vivid first memories I have is based in the emotion of anger.  In my memory, I am sitting at the edge of my mother’s bed, her lifeless body hanging over the side, an arm hanging over next to me.  I am clenched in fear, having just shook her body, attempting to wake her up from what I didn’t realize at the time was a self inflicted attempt at an ending of her pain.   I remember frantically dialing the numbers for the only phone number I knew, my best friend Scott.  As he answers, what should be a childlike conversation between two 6 year olds begins with me saying, “Scott, my Mom is won’t wake up, what do I do?”  He quickly handed the phone off to his babysitter, and she walked me through calling the police.  From there everything speeds up in my mind.  Like a scene in a movie I sit in the center of the room while the world quickly moves around me.  Paramedics come in, taking her body, and eventually reviving her.  In a room full of chaos, I found myself alone and angry.

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From the moment I first met Robert Waldrup I felt we had a kindred spirit.  Robert has a passion in his voice, a way of speaking that is almost song like, causing you to want to listen and be inspired by his words, which I immediately was.  Our upbringings were similar, marred by divorce and isolation.  Robert had an intense relationship with anger, one that I knew so well.  Robert used this emotion to begin researching and working towards the ideals of social justice.  We bonded on the history of the Black Panther Party, resistance movements through history, and the ideas of standing up for the oppressed cultures and peoples whose voices could not be heard.  The radical movements of the 1960’s had a quote that was consistently repeated, “If you aren’t angry then you aren’t paying attention.

In the years since my first vivid memory of anger I have learned the power anger carries, and the ability it can have to isolate the carrier.  In Robert I found a brotherhood, an encouragement, and bond in an emotion marred with pain.  The power Robert commands from his anger, the way he can redirect it and use it for social justice is inspiring, and most importantly for myself, it reminds me that I will never be that alone child trembling in fear next to a lifeless body.

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Robert explains this relationship, its complications, and its ties to the tattoos he wears that we have created together for so many years now. Click here to read on.

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For the Love of Tattooing, The Transformative Tattoo: The Warechowski’s

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

Here’s the fifth 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.  We hope you enjoy!.

Sean Herman


Most of the time in my career, I am tattooing the same people, over and over again, for years.  There are some people that I have been tattooing for over a decade, watching their lives grow and flourish.  Marriages, births, and deaths all occur in these times, and I get to experience that with them.  I started tattooing Mike and Katie Warechowski almost a decade ago.  I celebrated with them as their business grew, and as their family grew when Katie became pregnant.  I was so excited to hear the stories after his birth, and to get the opportunity to meet this incredible kid.  With every appointment they shared stories about Mikey’s milestones, about how he could count to twenty, and how much he loved his stuffed animals and insisted on bringing them everywhere.  At one appointment they mentioned that through this, he was still having some issues walking, and they were going to different doctors to get tests done.  The next appointment I learned of Mikey’s diagnosis of late infantile onset MLD, or Metachromatic Leukodystrophy.

Mike, Michael, and Katie enjoying a day out.

Mike, Michael, and Katie Warechowski

Katie:

“Most people get a lifetime with their children. Not us. Not any of the parents of late infantile onset MLD children. Metachromatic Leukodystrophy is quite severe, progressive and fatal. Most children live to age 5, some to age 10. This disease causes it’s sufferers to require constant care as their brains and nerves begin to deteriorate, losing the ability to sit up, crawl, eat, see, hear and eventually, breathe. The only treatment for this disorder is a bone marrow, stem cell or cord blood transplant. Unfortunately, transplant is not generally recommended for late infantile onset of MLD so the we have decided not to put Michael through transplant but rather, to keep him at home where he is happy and we can share him with everyone who loves him.

To get the full story of Katie, her husband Mike, and their son Michael, click here.

Mike's left forearm that I tattooed.  It's a T-rex (Michael's favorite) coming out of Micheal's baby blanket.  The T-rex is chasing a purple butterfly (a symbol for MLD), showing Michael aggressively fighting the disease and being strong.

Mike’s left forearm that I tattooed.  It’s a T-rex (Michael’s favorite) coming out of Micheal’s baby blanket.  The T-rex is chasing a purple butterfly (a symbol for MLD), showing Michael aggressively fighting the disease and being strong.


The Warechowski’s medical bills are outrageous as they do not qualify for Medicaid. You can help this family by making a donation directly with your bank account via PayPal by clicking the link: https://www.paypal.com/home

* Please follow the instructions below to make the process as easy as possible:

-Click on “Send Money” (the third option on the horizontal navigation bar at the top of the page under the “Home” tab”)
You must click “My payment is for Friends and Family” so we can bypass any credit card processing fees normally charged to businesses for online sales

-You can pay with your credit/debit card but it will charge you a small processing fee based on the amount you donate. Or, you can pay directly with your bank account and you will not be charged a processing fee, but you will have to create a PayPal account and enter your bank account number and routing number and the process is a little longer

-Enter warkatie327@gmail.com in the To: {Email Address} field and follow the rest of the instructions on the screen

For more information on Mikey, updates, and how you can help, check out theirFacebook page for updates and to follow their story:

https://www.facebook.com/Mikeys-Mission-1386542568341019/

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For the Love of Tattooing, the Transformative Tattoo: Leigh Rooks

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

Here’s an excerpt of the third 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. We hope you enjoy!

-Sean Herman


“…tattooing can serve to heal, to empowering, and to promote body acceptance and self-esteem.” (1)

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“With a positive or healthy body image, a woman has a real perception of her size and shape. She also feels comfortable with her body. With a negative body image, a woman has a distorted perception of her shape and size, compares her body to others, and feels shame and anxiety about her body. Being unhappy with your body can affect how you think and feel about yourself as a person. A poor body image can lead to emotional distress, low self-esteem, unhealthy dieting habits, anxiety, depression, and eating disorders. Developing a positive body image and a healthy mental attitude is crucial to a woman’s happiness and wellness.”  (2)


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A few years ago I was fortunate enough to tattoo an awesome guy named Dayton.  Dayton is one of the most positive, easy going people I have ever tattooed.  The whole experience was easy and positive, and during that time, he told me about his wife Leigh.  Dayton is soft spoken, and doesn’t talk just to fill the air, so when he does, he has something to say. From everything Dayton told me, Leigh was strong, out spoken, and confident.  She set up a consultation with me, and I was able to experience it in person.  She had a viewpoint on tattooing that treated it as sacred and empowering, leaving her to be incredibly encouraging and respectful of me and the process of tattooing as a whole.  They are definitely the clients that you dream of, the kind that leave you feeling even better than you did at the beginning of the appointment.  The more I talked to her, the more I learned that this confidence I saw before me was created by her own recent reclaiming of her body and her body image.  I was amazed to learn how she had taken control of her life, and decided she wanted to be happy, and that she wanted change.  Tattoos were a part of that change, making me feel grateful and fortunate to get to take part in this woman creating a strong image for herself, one that has influenced more people that she will probably ever know. Click here to read Leigh telling her story, about where she was, and the power she decided to take back.


REFERENCES:

1. http://www.bradley.edu/sites/bodyproject/disability/modification/

2. http://www.womenshealth.gov/body-image/

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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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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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