Every so often someone comes along to remind me why I love this project — Karma has made it clear that seeing these photos have really had a positive impact on her. If my photography can play even just a little part in improving someone’s outlook, I guess I’m doing something right.
About Karma’s Tattoos
I firmly feel that tattoos should be an expression of the individual. I do not see them as decoration, but as a way to remind one self of the things that make us unique and beautiful. Every tattoo has meaning and is pivotal to me during a huge part of my life. Whether it marks something simple or significant, they are each powerful reminders of where I was, am, and will be in life, love, and relationships.
With that being said, my first tattoo is the Celtic tricycle in the small of my back. I got that one when I turned eighteen years old. The importance of the tattoo is that my dad’s family is Irish and the tricycle also brings good luck. I am pretty superstitious and I thought having it would bring me good things. I got my second tattoo on my right wrist. I wanted a piece that would be connected to the Irish again and selected the Celtic knot of life. I got that one right after both my children were born.
The Chinese symbols in the center of my shoulder blades mean “good friend”. I actually made sure that was what they meant by my friend that can speak and read fluent Chinese. I got it at Tattoo Mania in Hollywood back in 2004.
The rest of my tattoos have a strong, significant meaning to me as they were after I managed to leave a ten year long abusive marriage. I was living in Germany and had just started skating roller derby with Kaiserslautern’s team, Roller Girls of the Apocalypse. I had just passed my very first minimum skills assessment, including my 25/5 (back before the 27/5) and had just selected my approved derby name. My students helped me design the tattoo. The one on the back of my neck has the skates with wings with my number, 82, between. Then beneath is my original name, Karma-Killer. It was such a huge accomplishment and I had felt so empowered I wanted to remember it forever. Then I moved to Colorado Springs and had skates added to my left shoulder with my current derby name, Karma.
After the skates I had the circle tattoo added to the right shoulder. It was done by Jeremy Misery at 3rd Layer Tattoo in fountain. The symbol is the Buddhist symbol for Karma. It was added during a time when I was feeling particularly at peace with myself and since then have a deep love of this piece.
The quote on my ribcage is also very special to me because it was translated into Latin by my mentor and the quote itself is also important because it reminds me that “change does not roll in on wheels of inevitability but comes through continuous struggle”. I have had a lot of obstacles that I have had to overcome, some with support but most without. This one is a reminder that I can do anything I want or need to do.
The three circles on my left inside wrist are actually punctuation. I teach English and love the ellipses and what they are intended to do within the structure of a sentence. Yeah ellipses means that there is more to come, the story isn’t finished, what is next is a mystery…
That is pretty perfect for where I am in my life right now. I don’t know what is next. I don’t know where my life will go. But I do know that I am happy and excited for the adventure.
The most recent tattoo I have is the one on my right calf. It is the first one on my legs and was done by one of my team mates from Rocky Mountain Roller Girls, Sweetie Ramone. The tattoo is a stamp with my new home team’s logo in the center. The United States Pummeling Service! The date in the logo is the actual transfer date for when I joined RMRG.
Overall I think tattoos are an amazing expression of life, love, and all our stories. I definitely plan to get more as each phase of my life continues.
This lovely woman is a relatively new addition to RMRG and we couldn’t be happier to have her! Couldn’t be happier to have her in the Rocky Mountain Tattoo Project, either…
About Shaniqua’s Tattoos
OK so for those of you that don’t know the band In This Moment, they are absolutely my favorite by far! When I first met Kiki and Dustin we started talking about them and how much we love their music. That’s when Dustin gave me my derby name, S** M**** B*****. It is one of my absolute favorite songs by in this moment and helped me through so many difficult times. When I was in college, I survived a six-year abusive relationship which finally came to an end in 2011. I was moving out of my apartment as well as my ex fiancé’s… listening to Pandora radio when I suddenly started listening to the lyrics of ITM, discovered who they were and instantly fell in love. I particularly connected with the lead singer, Maria Brink. She too is a survivor of abuse and I very much connected to all of that. I started writing her letters in 2012 and then finally was able to see her in concert two times here in Denver. I waited for hours after her show to try to meet her, and luckily my patience paid off! I got to meet her, talk to her and hug her. The funny part is that she knew exactly who I was and mentioned she had received all of my letters. She told me to be “a strong beautiful goddess and that survivors like us need to stick together”. I am so incredibly honored that I had the opportunity to meet her and let her know how much she has impacted my life. I have her face tattooed on my left thigh with song lyrics, “you’ll love me for everything you hate me for”. I thought it was fitting with roller derby being that everyone always says “if you respect me you will hit me,” so basically, you will love my hits, but you’ll hate me for the pain I cause 😉
As far as the back of my neck, it is Maria Brink’s autograph the lead singer of in this moment. I got it the day after she sent me a blood mask in the mail with her autograph.
The gun tattoos are pretty self-explanatory. I started shooting when I first moved here after surviving in abusive relationship. I decided I wanted to be my own hero and never allow anyone to hurt me ever again. For the past 4 1/2 years I have won the Annie Oakley award for one of the best shooters in Denver County. But of course the most important thing about guns is safety!
The phoenix on my left love handle represents the Holy Spirit to watch over me. I got it right before I left for college and I pretend like it has what has saved me from dying many times.
The lips on my rib cage are my best friend’s lips. She and I have been through the absolute worst times. We have been best friends for almost 20 years and decided to get that tattoo of each other’s lips to celebrate after she had her daughter. Which of course is now my goddaughter.
The tattoo that says “me” on it was put there after I moved to Denver and broke off my engagement. I got it to remind me that from now on I live for me and only me. I don’t belong to anyone but myself.
Finally, another addition to the Rocky Mountain Tattoos Project! She recently jetted off to New York, and we already miss her — the lovely Sophie’l the Pain…
Check out the NSFW Page 2 from more…
About Sophie’s Tattoos
Rose on wrist: This was my first tattoo done by Will Mordecai at Certified Customs. I got this when I was 16 to cover up a not so great stick and poke I did with a friend.
Left thigh: My derby piece! This was my second tattoo, drawn and tattooed by Kevin Hennessy at Landmark Tattoo.
Right shoulder blade/side: The watercolor on my shoulder blade and the geometric design along my right side were my third and fourth tattoos, both by Eon at Mr. Tanks Tattoos.
Right Bicep: Taco Dad! My fifth tattoo and one of my favorites done by the amazing Sweetie Ramone (er, Lilith Jacobs I guess..) at Lady Luck Tattoo.
Ankle: Another amazing piece by Sweetie! It was my 18th birthday tattoo and is a cover up of another stick and poke I had.
Stomach: My seventh tattoo, done by Amy Shapiro at Lifetime Tattoo. Done on impulse, just because.
On July 30, 2016, I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to photograph Melody Sweets‘ burlesque show, Call of the Wild, at the Absinthe tent outside of Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas. The entire show was outstanding and I’ll have many more images to share as soon as I can get to them (I’ve posted a few over on Instagram — you can check those out RIGHT HERE).
For this particular act, I wanted to share a full set of photos rather than just a single favorite image. It’s not often that I find 16 photos from one 3-minute act that I’m happy with. But as that was the case with this act, you’re getting the whole bunch at once (pun definitely intended).
Without further ado, I hope you enjoy the banana act, as performed by the delightful 2015 Miss Exotic World Queen of Burlesque, Trixie Little…
Turns out I have pretty good luck when it come to the Queens of Burlesque. This was my second time shooting the 2015 queen (Trixie Little) and the previous queen spent her reign (and many years prior) in Denver, so I’ve been able to shoot her many times. And as an extra bonus, the 2013 Queen of Burlesque was also performing in this show!
I’m excited to welcome the lovely Chi Chi Chong to my little tattoo project — just as we were happy to welcome her to RMRG when she transferred recently! Enjoy the photos!
…and, of course, check out (NSFW) page 2 for more of Chi Chi.
About Chi Chi’s Tattoos
The one on my ankle, that’s my first. 18 years ago. When I had my son. It says “JJ” his name, over a dainty rose.
My MADNESS is my matching tattoo my wife and I share. The name of a song by Muse, it’s the right word for our love.
I have a space theme going on for my sleeve. I’ve always been head higher than the clouds, and I’m into astronomy and astrology. I’ve got sun signs for myself (gemini), my 2 kids (Pisces), and my father who passed away (Aquarius). Most of my sleeve has been a cover up, covering some old space stuff, that wasn’t what I wanted.
My chest piece is my permanent necklace I got done about 6 years ago. I couldn’t find a necklace I could wear all the time, so I made a permanent one!
My alien woman, (left forearm) she is a reminder for me, that it’s always mind over matter, as she tries to heal the dead bird with her mind, that is attached with wires to the birds brain.
I’ve got song lyrics by Stained that read, “….tomorrow will be OK….”, A spur of the moment to remind me that whatever happens today, can be started anew tomorrow.
Lastly, my most recent is my vintage hand mirror with a galaxy reflection. That’s what I see when I look into the mirror, I am a universe, all trapped into this human body!
Last September, I shot what has to be one of the most unique and unusual set of photos I’ve ever taken. And then I never shared them. I know I put one or two up on Facebook at some point, but I somehow managed to completely forget to share a larger collection of the images.
And so now, nine months later, they finally get to enter the world. I hope you enjoy them as much as we enjoyed creating them. Meg, thank you so much for inviting me to your home and asking me to take these. You rock!
Be sure to click on the individual images to see them larger…
Mars is an up-and-coming jammer at RMRG and an all-around awesome person. I love that she brought a prop to match her back tattoo! Check it out…
Once you’ve had a look at these, don’t miss the (NSFW) Page 2.
Don’t forget to check out the NSFW Page 2!
About Mars’ Tattoos
The image on my back was inspired by a book cover for The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera. I took that simple yet surreal image of the hands holding up a bowler hat to my friend Kevin Hennessy at Landmark Tattoo and he came up with this fun, circus-y surrealist image. That was in 2014.
On the inside of my left arm there is a stick and poke tattoo of a grandfather clock with crescent moons on either side. This was my first tattoo. It is based off the first line of a Robert Louis Stevenson poem saying “The moon has a face like the clock in the hall…” My friend Dani did it while she was staying with me in this basement apartment I was living in when I first moved to Denver around 2012.
Sometimes on Friday the 13th shops in Denver have deals on smaller tattoos. I went to one at Marion Street Tattoo in 2014 and got a small sinking ship on my leg.
I also have smaller stick and poke tattoos. A tiny heart on the inside of my right hand is my favorite of those. It feels like a secret. 🙂