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In January last year, I began the long process of getting myself a large tattoo. I was thinking about handprint-size, left upper arm, able to be covered by most t-shirts (mostly for preservation of the tattoo from damage by the sun etc), definitely not going anywhere near the sensitive skin of either back of or under the arm.

I made enquiries and was duly assigned to the most fabulous artist for which I could have hoped. Her name is Lauren Fenlon, and she’s a fine portrait artist upside of her day-job, which is tattooing. She was great. We chatted about the colour palette I wanted, the pose I wanted the figure in, placement and size and all the other nuances. She took copious notes, and then I went away till August, which was the first opening she had in her appointment calendar. A week before the appointment, we caught up again for me to vet the art she’d drawn up. After so long, it was unsurprising that I wasn’t quite satisfied with it, so she redrew it from the ground up. Overnight. She’s amazing, I tell you. We agreed that the level of detail I wanted required more real estate, so the piece was suddenly a half-sleeve, but hey, whatever. I would, of course, have to find quite a lot more money for it…

Over the next six months, I went back to her another five times – six sittings, in all, I think. Each time she worked on a different bit, and it was hard for me to see with her artist’s eye and watch it coming together. But eventually, it was done. Some progression shots (crappy, unfocused, badly lit) follow.

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And the finished piece? Amazing. Awe-inspiring. Truly a work of art.

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(Goosebumps in those final photos, sorry. Yes, it’s cold here.)
 

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