Turtle Tattoo – Czech Republic

Jan's Turtle TattooIn November 2009 a young man from the Czech Republic emailed me regarding one of the turtle’s I had done for Simon’s painting. Initially he was asking for permission to use that image for a tattoo for himself.

“I found your web site today by searching for man in maze symbols. I was very absorbed by the turtle with man in maze. In this time, I am going through a hard time in my life and I am searching for what I wanna really do – job, be happy with that and doing good things to other people. As a reflection for this I would like to get a tattoo with man in maze – symbol for my life path, for good and bad times, and searching for higher spirit. So my question is if you will give me please the allowance to use the painting of turtle with man in maze as a base for my tattoo.”

I thought that showed great integrity and class that he emailed me for my permission to use it. As an artist, all my work is copywritten, however that does not necessarily stop anyone from using it without my permission. I was grateful that Jan took the time to send me an email, explaining his desire and understanding of the symbol, and the reason it was so important to him.

I replied stating that he could indeed use the symbol, but he must allow me to change it slightly for him. As I’ve stated before, all of my work is one of a kind, and the original symbol he saw was for Simon, and Simon alone. So, I suggested I could alter the image for him slightly to better fit his personality. Jan replied,”I would be very happy about the changed painting, it would be a honor to wear for the rest of my life symbol from person like you.”

Jan and I had an immediate connection and I very much enjoyed our email conversations over the next few weeks as I designed him a new tattoo. His knowledge of symbolism and mythology rivaled my own.

Jan sent me all his information, his affinities to certain symbols and numbers and the reasons why. He was so fantastic to work with. I’ve said it before, it is one thing to paint something for someone that they put on their wall, and perhaps “out grow” over the years. It is another thing to design something that a person embeds upon himself permanently.

Some of the things I added to this tattoo, from our conversations, included 7 rays of fire in the turtle’s head (for Jan’s affinity to the number 7 and the fire symbol). I used a bear claw print in the fin of the turtle (a symbol and totem of good luck in the native culture) since Jan told me his totem animal is the Grizzly Bear. I also added an Owl at the top of his life path since Jan also explained to me how his guardian symbol is the Owl.

Lastly, I threw in a few Koru symbols (swirling ferns) as one of the photos Jan sent me of himself was from an trip he had taken to New Zealand. I too had an amazing / life altering trip to NZ, so I added the Koru which symbolizes spirituality and new beginnings.

I think Jan also holds the record for the fastest turn around time from the time he received my final image, and when he had the tattoo done (just a couple of weeks). In December, Jan emailed me a photo of the finished product.

“so its done. Thanks to you I have a new beautiful turtle tattoo. I hope you will like it. Thank you very much again for all what you have done for me. I wish you peaceful Christmas time, enjoy it in peace, health and love with your family and I hope only the positive energy and good things will follow you in the year 2010.”