36 Tattoos

According to yet another arbiter of hip, The Wall Street Journal, "Human barcodes are also hip. The heavy- metal band Slipknot has a barcode logo, with the stripes emblazoned across their prison-jumpsuit outfits. Barcode tattoos are also big, says New York tattoo tycoon Carlo Fodera."

image: Mirko Ilic'

Who owns these words?

In Galatians 6:17, Saint Paul says, "From this time onward let no one trouble me; for, as for me, I bear, branded on my body, the scars of Jesus as my Master."

"Since a tattoo to certain levels of society is the mark of a thug, it becomes also the sign of inarticulate revolt, often producing its only possible result: violence." —SAMUEL M. STEWARD

In order to demonstrate their corporate loyalty, many Nike employees wear on their legs a tattoo of a swoosh.

The Greek philosopher Bion of Borysthenes (circa 300 B.C.) described the brutally tattooed face of his father, a former slave, as "a narrative of his master's harshness."

John Allen, who was Mr. Pennsylvania Basketball as a prep star in 2001, said, "I think that on the court, if I didn't have as many tattoos as I do, people would look at me as—not being soft—but people would look at me as average. When they see me come in with my tattoos and the big name that I've got, before you even play a game, it's like 'Whoa! This guy, he might be for real.' "

Asked what his tattoos mean, Iverson replied, "I got 'CRU THIK' in four places—that's my crew, that's what we call ourselves, me and the guys I grew up with, the guys I'm loyal to. I got my kids' names, Tiaura and Deuce [Allen II], 'cause they're everything to me. I got my wife's name, Tawanna, on my stomach. A set of praying hands between my grandma's initials—she died when I was real young—and my mom's initials. I put shit on my body that means something to me. Here, on my left shoulder, I got a cross of daggers knitted together that says 'ONLY THE STRONG SURVIVE,' because that's the one true thing I've learned in this life. On the other arm, I got a soldier's head. I feel like my life has been a war and I'm a soldier in it. Here, on my left forearm, it says 'NBN'—for 'Newport Bad News.' That's what we call our hometown of Newport News, Virginia, because a lot of bad shit happens there. On the other arm, I got the Chinese symbol for respect, because I feel that where I come from deserves respect—being from there, surviving from there, and staying true to everybody back there. I got one that says 'FEAR NO ONE,' a screaming skull with a red line through it—'cause you'll never catch me looking scared."

Iverson's Philadelphia 76er teammate Aaron McKie said, "A lot of guys get tattoos because they think they look nice and sexy wearing them. But I don't need them. One reason is because of my old college coach, John Chaney. He didn't allow his players to wear tattoos or earrings or stuff like that. The other reason is because I guess I'm old-fashioned. I don't see any good reason to pierce or paint my body. I'm comfortable with my natural look."

"The publication of International Archives of Body Techniques would be of truly international benefit, providing an inventory of all the possibilities of the human body and of the methods of apprenticeship and training employed to build up each technique; for there is not one human group in the world which could not make an original contribution to such an enterprise. . . . It would also be a project eminently well fitted for counteracting racial prejudices, since it would contradict the racialist conceptions which try to make out that man is a product of his body, by demonstrating that it is the other way around: man has, at all times and in all places, been able to turn his body into a product of his techniques and his representations." —CLAUDE LÉVI-STRAUSS

Detroit Lions fullback Brock Olivo, who has only one tattoo—an Italian flag, on his back, to honor his ancestry—said, "That's my last tattoo. No more. I don't want to scare my kids or affect things in the business world by having all kinds of crazy stuff on me."

Tattoo You

There are plenty of places to go during your lunch break for that Tasmanian Devil. But for a really good tattoo, in a space that's comfortable and even pleasant, here are five of the best establishments New York City has to offer.

Dare Devil Tattoo (174 Ludlow Street, 533-8303, daredeviltattoo.com), a six-person operation co-owned by beautiful Michelle Myles—who "specializes in glorifying the American girl"—is a downtown favorite, peerless for its impeccable traditional, badass aesthetic and for being friendly, professional, and classy in a nice, old-fashioned way. The emphasis is on custom work.

MacDougal Street Tattoo (231 Sullivan Street, 529-6268), famous for giving tattoos to firefighters post-9-11, boasts a "combination of popular artists from different shops," says tattooist Joshua Lord. When the celebrated East Side Ink recently closed, MacDougal absorbed much of their staff, including Andrea Elston, an old-timer in the New York scene. « Previous Page

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