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

06 Jul 2016 | 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, 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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