Tattoo or not Tattoo

July 25, 2006 at 9:28 pm 38 comments

Now this is way off the normal subject material of this blog. I am thinking of getting a tattoo. Not a huge tattoo, just one about 5 to 8 cms long. I’ll put it on the back of my shoulder (haven’t decided right or left) and I’ll choose one of the following pieces which represent art works from West Coast Indians. I’d like some opinions about where to place it and which one (not that it would change my final decision). Anyhow, here they are and start the comments flowing.

Killer Whale – Heiltsuk

Salmon – Haida

Raven – Tsimshian

Bear – Tsimshian

Entry filed under: Blog, Tatoos, West Coast Indians.

Jenn’s Arrival Gordon and Jean’s Arrival

38 Comments Add your own

  • 1. joann  |  July 26, 2006 at 12:15 pm

    Bear on the right.
    Love to Alex
    JoAnn

    Reply
  • 2. HD  |  July 26, 2006 at 2:55 pm

    I like the design of the bear, but something “swimming in water” might suit you (tat)too?

    H.

    Reply
  • 3. Naomi Ebert Smith  |  July 27, 2006 at 5:33 pm

    I like the Raven. I like the idea of movement and freedom that a bird signifies. I also like the bear, because you kinda remind me of a bear.
    besos

    Reply
  • 4. Leonie Ebert  |  July 31, 2006 at 5:59 am

    Like the bear. What do you think of Naomi’s tatoo?
    So you have given Sara a flick? What did you get her so that she will not for get you? As though she could

    Reply
  • 5. banana  |  February 13, 2007 at 6:24 pm

    tha raven is nice
    where can i see tatoos like those?
    i like this

    Reply
    • 6. annonymous  |  January 22, 2012 at 8:45 pm

      these are tatoos AWSOME

      Reply
  • 7. Alan Bell  |  March 13, 2007 at 10:52 am

    These are drawings from North American West coast native tribes. There are many examples on internet

    Reply
  • 8. ....  |  March 8, 2008 at 5:11 am

    do you know what this art represents, the history, the spirituality, etc. i get a slight feeling you dont, just to how you refer to this as work from west coast indians. personally i think you need to really know how this art is represented, the generations and people it stands for, you shouldnt be asking people on the internet their opinion you should be talking to an elder if you want real feedback. as of yet ( im not trying to be rude) i think this art represents nothing to you, for if you knew what it stood for you wouldnt need to ask.
    thanks, and please dont take this offensive.

    Reply
  • 9. Alan  |  March 8, 2008 at 12:30 pm

    I am glad the feeling that I don’t know what this art represents is just slight. Being a non-aboriginal, I admit I do not have a sense of ownership or belonging to this art as I sense you do but it holds a very special place for me nonetheless.
    The Haida and Tsimshian art especially, move me deeply. So much so that the whale is now on my right arm. The one I chose is a member of the Wolf clan according to Tsimshian lore.

    Thank you for your comments and I did not take them as offensive.

    Reply
  • 10. kevin frain  |  March 22, 2008 at 12:39 pm

    While I have no preference on any of the above designs, I,d just like to add my own comment in response to the post of March 8th.
    I visited Vancouver in 2006 and spent 5 weeks travelling around BC, including a week kayaking around North Vancouver Island…we learnt about Haida, The Raven Folklore stories etc…. I saw islands that the Haida used to inhabit etc and fell in love with the whole history of it. I wanted a tattoo as a token of my trip there, but it took me over a year to settle on a design, and I also travelled back to Vancouver from the UK to get it done. I now have a raven back to back with an eagle on my back ( thanks to Ben at Dutchman tattooos ). I love my tattoo, even though I have no ‘attachment’ to the Haida people, so to suggest that this artwork means nothing to people like Alan or myself is unfair. I haven,t taken offence as I don,t think your comment was meant in that way. Just think it,s a bit judgemental. I was never an art lover of any kind until I saw Haida art. I,ve spent many an hour at UBC looking at the various pieces and find it as fascinating a place as say Egypt and the temples at Carnac and Luxor.

    As Alan says, the artwork moves him deeply and it moves me too….don,t know why, it just does. As I love killer whales ( hence the kayaking ) I am currently looking for another suitable Haida tattoo of an Orca which is in more of a West Coast style , as my Raven/Eagle is in the style of a wood carving whereas now I want a more solid tattoo.

    Regards

    Kevin,

    Leeds, UK.

    Reply
  • 11. Flaphead  |  August 31, 2008 at 6:16 pm

    So what did you go for in the end? I am looking t get an Orca done in the same palce

    Reply
  • 12. Alan Bell  |  August 31, 2008 at 8:13 pm

    I went with the Orca on my right shoulder. It’s been a year now and I still love it. I might get one of the others done on my left shoulder.

    Reply
  • 13. Greg  |  December 16, 2008 at 3:28 am

    I too have been fasinated by Northwest Coast Tribal artwork from the Haida tribe. it doesnt really have any meaning to me but i just fell in love with the beauty of the artwork it self. i too have not been interested in art but i have a tattoo now that is a christian tattoo and i am fasinated and obsessed with that as well. the beauty of this artwork is what draws me. i dont have any roots that go back to this tribe or any for that matter im just in love with the art of this tribe and love it so much that i would want to put it on my body. i never been into art but theres something about this that just catches my eye

    Reply
  • 14. Esther  |  January 13, 2009 at 3:25 pm

    Look into what each of them means, but I personally would choose the salmon due to my own life journey. It’s a creature that fights against the current of the whole river just to get where it knows it needs to be.

    Reply
  • 15. Shane  |  February 8, 2009 at 9:16 pm

    I just found this blog and have enjoyed the discussion. I found the Haida Orca design on line and just had it done in black and red on my right arm. I am interested in what you chose, I know that the symbolism for me was totally the reason for my choice.

    Reply
  • 16. Alan Bell  |  February 9, 2009 at 5:27 pm

    Hi Shane
    I ended up with the Killer Whale on my right arm, same colours as in the blog. It’s been over a year and I still love it

    And you’re right, it’s the symbolism

    Reply
  • 17. Elske Dorgelo  |  July 6, 2009 at 7:12 am

    I love the salmon – I’m in Canada now for a few months, and I got exactly this salmon in a temporary tattoo, on my right arm now, but the real one will hopefully be on the back of my shoulder soon.
    The killer whale was a good decision though I’m sure, it looks very good!

    Reply
  • 18. yesim Bengisu  |  July 14, 2009 at 1:13 pm

    hello my name ıs yesım ım from turkeyI Need more informatıon and pıcture about your aborgıne tattos ıf you help me ım very happy ım searchıng for thıs kınds of tattos for a month but ı couldnt fınd ıt thank you for your helps ım waıtıng your maıl see you

    Reply
  • 19. Matt  |  August 21, 2010 at 7:34 pm

    Alan. Do you own the copyright to these tatoo images? If you do, can I use them for some artistic work of my own? If not can you point me in the direction of where you got them so that I re-use them appropriately. Thanks.

    Reply
  • 21. matias colman  |  October 6, 2010 at 9:58 pm

    de donde sacaste esas imagenes
    yo me quiero tatuar el salmon!!y no encuentro esas imagenes en internet ni en nigun libro!!me podrias pasar el link!!
    yo m voya tatuar el braso entero todo alrededor

    Reply
  • 22. Alan  |  October 7, 2010 at 12:27 am

    I don’t own the copyright to these images and I’m sorry to say that I don’t know who does. The original images were used as a basis for the pictures with a few modifications. Orca was the one I chose.
    Matias, I don’t know the link as the images were redrawn

    Thank you all for the comments

    Reply
  • 23. LawL  |  December 12, 2011 at 8:58 pm

    This Is Realy nice Art 🙂 Js`

    Reply
  • 24. LawL  |  December 12, 2011 at 8:58 pm

    HEY

    Reply
  • 25. annonymous  |  January 27, 2012 at 1:23 am

    .ok tatoos like these do not belong on ur body.. like really who in d world wants a pic of a raven on dere back?

    Reply
  • 26. jason  |  September 15, 2012 at 6:22 am

    thats your opinion

    Reply
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