This is Rose, the second person that I had the pleasure of meeting through twitter(courtesy of @miss_lucifer). I have to be honest - for the first time in a while for whatever reason, I really didn't know what to expect. Usually I know the person better, and have had some sort of an introduction prior to the shoot, but this time I was going in totally blind. Well, my fears were unfounded, as Rose was nothing short of awesome, and a wonderful and genuine human being. Rose is a full-time librarian, who also spends a lot of time at Artisanal Tattoo, where this shoot took place. When not at these two places, as an art lover, she runs two websites - The Famous Living Dead Brigade and Twisted Peppermint, both of which offers her fresh outlook on art and culture. The tattoo shop she works at also has an art space which is managed and curated by Rose. Amongst other things, Rose also has quite a fascination with Jack White and Nick Cave. How she got into tattoos is a long story, and for the first time in the Tattoo Project, I am going to post the entire interview, because it's a very interesting read.
Thanks to Leah, the owner of Artisanal Tattoo for letting me use their space.
Rose can also be found on twitter: @sheisanarchy003 - I highly recommend a follow, as she will keep you entertained with her random musings throughout the day.
Oh, and Rose loves her new glasses - if/when you meet her, compliment her on them - she will love it :)
Q.What first got you into tattoos, or how did your first tattoo come about, and what was that experience like?
A. got my first tattoo at the age of 18. I think I was really just craving a way to "own" my own body after dealing with an abusive home life. It was a way of making a statement and taking control. The first tattoo was a very small one on my ankle of a symbol I'd created to represent me. I actually still use it when I sign things at the end of my name. It is a heart w/ an "x" that I used to sign all of my writing with when I was in highschool. That first experience started an addiction. I wanted another one immediately. I loved that I had this ability to use my body as a canvas for self expression.
Q.What does each tattoo mean to you, and what is it important that you had to have it?
A.Hmmm...well some of my tattoos are the usual ones people get that you kind of don't put much thought into and those are some smaller ones that i have. But my most important tattoos are probably my small bat on my chest, which I got when I was about 19 or so w/ a few friends. It was a bonding experience we had over the film "The Lost Boys" of all things! The bat on my left arm is very important to me. He was the first tatt I put so much thought and energy into. It has a banner that says "Unapologetic Apathy" which is a message to many people in my past who didn't seem to care to help me through my childhood and I now kind of just don't bother with a lot of them because now I'm taking care of myself and I'm not sorry that I don't care what they are up to in life or how their lives are going. It sounds harsh but it has helped me to come to terms with a lot of my past abuse. The bat in general is important to me as an animal as I've always related to it because it is a very misunderstood animal, so I have and will have many bats tattooed on me. I almost feel it is like my animal protector. My elbow piece which is a peppermint candy all kind of warped and cracked is my tribute to Jack White. It's cracked and warped because it had to match my personality as well which is a little darker than a cute piece of peppermint candy! I have a pincushion heart on the inside of my one wrist which represents the idea of not being able to get close to people. It also has an "NJ" next to it for my tribute to New Jersey, a state that has altered my life quite a bit. I also have the words "I'm not sleeping" which is a reference to a lyric from the U2 song "Bad" which was a song I attribute to saving my life growing up. Bono is my hero and one person I have always felt changed my life at a time when I really needed it just through his words. I have a baby sea turtle on my one arm next to the kanki for "Ikiru" which means "To live" in Japanese. The baby sea turtle has to make his way into the ocean and its a struggle but he does it because that is what he needs to do in order to live. I believe the struggle to live is what makes us who we are and so the film Ikiru by Akria Kurosawa deals with making a difference in life and it all came together in a way that I understood my own life. I guess it is a tribute to making a difference and the struggle to live and make a difference in the world. I have Gary the snail from SpongeBob Squarepants on my one calf because I love that show and I esp love Gary. That is as deep as that one gets! On my right thigh I have a portrait of Nick Cave started. Nick Cave is a huge influence on my writing and artistic expression. And on the back of my neck I have the words "ProtÃ¨ge-moi de mes desirs" which is from a Placebo song and means "Protect me from what I want" which is kind of a tribute to my struggles with my addictions. PHEW! That's a lot...I don't think I left anything too big or important out.
Q.How has tattoos (if yes) influenced your choices for other types of art, or vice versa..
A. Having tattoos and being a part of the tattoo community has made me look at art differently for sure. I mean I realize that art means something different to every single person and the use of your own body to express that art is a huge symbol of our freedom in this country.
Q.When did you start the living dead brigade, and what prompted you to start it, and what has it become now, and what do you see it becoming in the future?
A. I started the Famous Living Dead Brigade after a bad bout w/ depression. I realized that the only thing that would make me happy with my life was if I knew I was making a difference in the world but that that difference had to start with me. Once I started to focus on expressing myself artistically or in any way that I felt was putting the real me out there, I decided that I wanted to share the idea with someone. So I decided to find some folks who would be willing to get dressed up and go to rock shows and maybe "perform" or express themselves in the queues of shows. This inspiration came from three places: the book 101 Alternatives to Suicide by Kate Bornstein, the Dirty Business Brigade w/ the Dresden Dolls and a few ideas I found in some My Chemical Romance lyrics. Right now it exists primarily online although we do manage to get groups together to do fundraisers at times but it really is an idea more than a "club" or "group" so its open for anyone who embraces it to go out there and do their thing and if they want to do it in the name of the FLDB then, that's great! The most important thing is that they are taking the idea and being themselves and expressing themselves. Staying alive. Living. In the future, I'd love to see it become a full on non profit organization. I'd love to be able to provide a place where people are safe to be themselves, express themselves and possibly to sponsor artists and shows and do it all not only online but in the real world.
Q.Explain the fascination with jack white a little bit more - other than the fact that he's awesome.
A.Haha! Jack White...wow. That man is an inspiration. He started out wanting to become a priest and ended up playing music. Not only does he play music, he is a genius at his musicianship and also in the business itself. He's a workaholic who takes his dreams, goals and ideas and nothing holds him back, he just does it. Watching him perform and work is like watching someone who was just born to do what he is doing. Everything just comes natural and he seems to really have a great way of not giving a fuck what anyone else thinks...and he's just doing it all right. I'd love to just sit down with him and talk and get him to do an I Am Art picture for my art project. Better yet, have him do a song with me for it, that would be ideal.
Q.The two online screen names you have - sheisanarchy and ladymothrarose - can you explain a little bit as to what is behind these names? (if there is any significant story behind it, that is)
A. She Is Anarchy is the name of a poem I wrote once. It was supposed to represent myself in the sense that I have never done what was expected of me. I never seem to do anything the way anyone wants me to. I go about things my own way. I'm not good at being told what to do. So I started to use the name online. LadyMothraRose comes from the giant radioactive moth seen in Godzilla movies...I just happen to be a big fan of Mothra and so I wanted to sound Regally SciFi and came up with that and it has stuck. Between the two I get called "Lady Mothra" and "Anarchy" outside in the real world now, which is cool to me..I really like it.