Rhonda’s Seahorse

About 2 months before Rhonda and I ventured down to see U2 in San Francisco, she started to contemplate the idea of getting a tattoo on our trip. She said if I designed something for her, she’d definitely get a tattoo. Great, it was decided. Then I promptly drew a blank… for a month. Calling up memory banks….. wrrrrrrr….. nuthin.

The dragonfly had recently come to me, but I wasn’t sure if that was meant for Rhonda or for Ralph’s hanging (see Follow Your Bliss for more info) which I was also doing at
the same time. I thought the dragonfly would work as it reminded me of the R.E.M. lyric “the dragonflies are busy buzzing me,” and Rhonda is the biggest R.E.M. fan on the planet (she has traveled all over the world to party personally with the band). But the deeper I got into Ralph’s painting, the more I knew that symbol was meant solely for him. Rhonda is an architectural technologist, so I wanted something representative of angled design that also incorporated swirled refinement. The days were ticking down and I was feeling the pressure of finding a symbol. But nothing was coming to me.

Then one night about a month before our trip we were standing by our cars after a movie, I mentioned an idea I’d had earlier that day about a seahorse tattoo. I don’t even know where it came from (I don’t recall ever drawing a seahorse in my life), I just woke up that day and there it was. It seemed like a great symbol for Rhonda. I don’t know if I subconsciously thought of this or not, as I wasn’t aware until she pointed it out, but the second line of the R.E.M. lyric quoted above is, “I’d see horses if we were in the sea.” Wow… that totally (consciously anyway) slipped right past me. She said she loved the idea. I drove home, walked in my house and before I even took off my jacket, grabbed a piece of paper and had this drawn out in under a minute. I scanned and emailed it to her, and she was in complete agreement, it was exactly what she wanted. I even threw in the sun and the moon in the middle of the back of the seahorse (in blue) for her otherworldly persona.

We were quite lucky to find a great tattoo place (Sacred Rose Tattoo) in San Francisco that we liked the feel of that also could fit us in. It took about an hour and a half to get done. As Rhonda stated, the pain of getting the tattoo was nothing compared to breaking each of your legs twice a year (at least), every year, throughout most of your childhood. My friend Fiona also mentioned that her tattoo was nothing compared to child birth. Since I have not experienced either of these things, this explains why I screamed like a girl when I got my tattoo done.

THANK YOU for the seahorse! It is truly a work of art on my back that I am happy to say I will have FO-EVA. The timing could not have been better and somehow you were able to figure out what I wanted. You are exceptionally talented and I wish you much success! – Rhonda DeJong

Seahorse
November, 2005 / San Francisco, California