I have always wanted to add a page to this website tracking my TATTOOS over the past 30-ish years.  It seems from talking to a bunch of random people that everyone has their own way of counting their tattoos.  I count each separate tattoo as “one”.  Whether it’s been covered up 3x or not, it’s still “one”.  I also count each individual tattoo as “one” when I get multiple done on the same day.  So if I get 2 on the same day, they are “two” not “one”.  I currently have 33 tattoos.  At the end of 2022 I had 16.  This is the year of the tattoo.  For reasons that are my own.

Tattoo #1:  Chinese Fish on my lower abdomen, circa 1993 at some seedy shop in MD with my friend Abbie.  I remember 4 things about this tattoo:  [1] the shop was in a sketchy neighborhood and there were huge shotguns mounted under the counters, [2] at first it tickled & I giggled, which made the big burly artist mad, [3] an older teenager got his nipples pierced and passed out behind me while his friends laughed, [4] my Mom found the receipt and was FURIOUS [I was 22, so…].  When I first got it, it was a black and grey outline.  It was based on the fish necklace I’ve had forever.  I had it colored in about 10 years later by Chris W. at the Purple Scorpion in Gloucester, MA [which shut down in 2005]:


Tattoo #2:  Ankle band.  It was a stupid flowered band at first, circa 1994.  I think the guy was drunk.  In fact I know he was.  The pattern fizzled out the further toward the back of my ankle it got.  This was before I knew much about tattoo shops & artists face palm.  I got it done in NH with Abbie, because tattooing was still illegal in MA.  Later I designed a wave pattern coverup, which Chris W. at Purple Scorpion in Gloucester did for me in 2004.  This is my LEAST favorite tattoo.  I wish it didn’t exist.  But whatever, everyone has one:


Tattoo #3:  9″ Celtic band along my lower back circa 1995.  A “tramp stamp” before tramp stamps were a thing… Done by the same guy in NH that did my original ankle band, with Abbie in tow.  I picked the design out of a book on the shop’s counter.  Once again, he fucked up the design.  But I don’t care.  It’s not like I can see it.  And I do like having a piece of my Celtic history on my body:

Tattoo #4:  A Roman numeral 6 [VI] on my very lower abdomen.  No explanation except it was a bad decision from a bad time in my life, circa 2001.  It was done by Chris W. at the Purple Scorpion in Gloucester, MA right after tattooing became legal in MA.  No photo.

Tattoo #5:  Egyptian Falcon on my back.  Done by Chris W. at the Purple Scorpion in Gloucester, MA, circa 2002.  Unfortunately Chris thought the gem on the bird’s head was a sun so he colored it yellow, with a weird “aura” around it.  I hated that part.  In 2003 I had him color the gem red:


Tattoos #6 & #7:  Twin wrist Ankh’s.  I got these in 2006 after overcoming a 20-year cycle of self-injury/cutting [I have over 500 scars on my arms ].  Done by Chris W. in his kitchen face palm because the shop had shut down.  I didn’t know where else to go, so these were my first & last illegally done tattoos:

Tattoos #8 & #9:  After an 8 year break, I got twin Ankhs on the back of my upper arms.  Done by Tara at Good Mojo Tattoo in Beverly, MA, in 2014.  The break was mostly to research and find a decent tattoo parlor in the area.  Good Mojo was recommended to me by Abbie’s husband and they’ve been amazing:

Tattoo #10:  A stained glass cat on my left forearm and the word “MROWR” [“worm” spelled backwards with an extra r at the end.  It’s the name of the devil/demon that sits on my left shoulder].  The cat is a reproduction of a stained glass window made by my German half-sister, Daniela [2nd photo is from a visit to Germany in 2016]:

        daniela's stained glass window which was the inspiration for my tattoo

Tattoo #11:  Starry Night in a circle on my right inner elbow, circa 2016.  Done by Tara at Good Mojo in Beverly, MA.  Originally I had Tara do a plain circle outline, but when I bent my elbow it looked like a butt face palm so I had her fill it with an interpretation of Van Gogh’s Starry Night.  The circle & the cat looked nice together:


Tattoo #12:  A carbon net [aka carbon molecules aka Buckminster Fullerenes aka “Bucky Balls”.  I learned about Buckminster Fuller through Discover Magazine in high school and have loved him ever since.  He invented the Geodesic Dome; he was expelled from Harvard [the first time] for spending all his money partying with a Vaudeville group; he was a forward thinker and in the early 1920’s sought to design lightweight, weatherproof, fireproof, efficient, & affordable housing] design on my upper right arm.  Done in 2019 by Tara at Good Mojo Tattoo.  Could also be interpreted as a honeycomb or hexagons:

Tattoo #13:  More Carbon Net on my outer left knee, also done by Tara at Good Mojo Tattoo in 2019, because one patch was NOT enough [Jim was afraid I’d end up covered in carbon net, but I was done after the 2nd patch]:

Tattoo #14:  A “Halloween Tree” designed and done by Jason Mackenzie at Good Mojo Tattoo in Beverly, MA.  Jason specializes in black and grey [no color at all] so Tara recommended I see him for the tree.  I love it so much!  He put 2 bats and a black cat in the tree.  The black cat is long-haired and looks just like our beloved General Bonkers, who we lost in 2017, RIP buddy:

Tattoo #15:  A Wilson’s Plover for my Dad ❤❤❤.  Designed & done in January 2020 by Jason Mackenzie at Good Mojo Tattoo in Beverly, MA.  When my Dad was 17, in May 1954, he spotted the extremely rare Wilson’s Plover in Nauset, MA on Cape Cod, where he was lifeguarding.  They are usually southern birds.  No one local believed him so he called an ornithologist in Boston who came and took a look and confirmed it.  Dad got his name printed “The Birds of Massachusetts” published in 1955 by that same ornithologist:

I surprised Dad with it in February 2020 for his birthday, in Florida, right before COVID shut everything down.  He was not a fan of tattoos in general, but agreed it was a beautiful rendition and was definitely a Wilson’s Plover!  He was impressed by Jason’s work.

Tattoo #16:  A Scarab Beetle on my lower right arm.  Done by Tara at Good Mojo Tattoo in Beverly, MA.  I was supposed to get this done in March 2020 [with a girl who later left the shop], but with the COVID shutdowns it got postponed until March 2022 and was re-assigned to Tara.  It was supposed to look like the pink/green/blue/purple beetle in the pic, with the body shape of the dark blue one.  She got the body shape right, but not the colors – I have always been disappointed it doesn’t look like a shiny scarab beetle.  But 3 strangers have said “nice scarab beetle” so I guess it does to a degree:


At this point I wanted more bugs, but didn’t want to go back to Tara.  So I mulled it over for many months.  Then during Thanksgiving 2022, Abbie’s twin 10-year old girls, who take much glee in my arachnophobia, double-dog-dared me to get a big scary spider on my arm where I could see it every day.  I couldn’t wuss out on a double-dog-dare, so…  They picked the size and placement and Jason Mackenzie designed and drew it up for me.  I told him I didn’t want to see it until he was putting the stencil on my arm.  I LOVE IT:

Tattoo #17:  Realistic spider on my lower right arm done by Jason Mackenzie at Good Mojo Tattoo in Beverly, MA, January 2023:

While Jason was tattooing the spider, we were talking about bugs and I was saying I wanted more bugs [it’s good to have a theme, right?*], but I didn’t know who to go too.  He was like “OMG our very own Lauren Kelly is a bug fanatic!  She loves to tattoo them, but she also collects them, mounts them, glues clockwork parts to them, & makes cloche art with them!” [so badass].  He introduced me to Lauren, and the rest is history!  At our formal consult we decided she would draw up 10 colorful bugs and we would start working on filling in my arms.  Everything was up to her:  designs, colors, placements.  I didn’t want to see them until she was putting the stencils on my arms.

I should note that as remarkably colored as some of the following tattoos are, they are true-to-life in both color and size.  Lauren is not only a bug fanatic but a Science Nerd as well.  She researched the most colorful bugs she could find from around the world and they now adorn my arms:

The following 5 tattoos were done by Lauren Kelly at Good Mojo Tattoo in Beverly, MA in March [outlines] & April [color] 2023:

Tattoo #18:  A barber pole grasshopper Dactylotum bicolor [native to North America] on my right wrist:

Tattoo #19:  A Leaf Insect Pulchriphyllium giganteum [native to Malaysia] on my lower right arm:

Tattoo #20: A Pyrops whiteheadi Lanternfly [native to Borneo] on my upper right arm:

Tattoo #21: A Painted snail Polymita picta [native to Cuba] on my lower right arm [not TECHNICALLY a bug, but close enough, and super cute]:

Tattoo #22: A Spanish Moon Moth Graellsia isabellae [native to Spain & France] on my upper right arm:

While my 5 March bugs healed, I asked Jason Mackenzie to design me a “demonic moth”.  I gave him complete control of the design.  I didn’t want to see it until he was ready to lay the stencil on my skin.  I loved it immediately.  The moth’s head is a goat skull with horns [this made me extra super happy – I’m a Capricorn and have always wanted a goat-themed tattoo!], it also has 6 eyes, skulls on the wings, & an upside-down cross on the abdomen.  I was planning to get it done smaller, on my upper arm, but on the ride over [still not having seen the design] I decided it would look pretty killer on my upper chest.  I LOVE IT.

Tattoo #23:  Demonic Moth done by Jason Mackenzie at Good Mojo Tattoo in Beverly, MA, in April 2023:

Then it was back to Lauren.  The following 10 tattoos were done by Lauren Kelly at Good Mojo Tattoo in Beverly, MA, between May & August 2023:

Tattoo #24:  An Orchid Mantis Hymenopus coronatus [native to SE Asia] on my upper left arm:

Tattoo #25: A clear-winged Wasp Moth Cosmosoma regia [native to South America] on my inner left elbow:

Tattoo #26: A Blue Weevil Eupholus linnei [native to New Guinea] on my lower left arm:

Tattoo #27: A Rhyothemis plutonia Dragonfly [native to Thailand] on my lower left arm:

Tattoo #28: Eresus sandaliatus Lady Bird Spider [native to central & northern Europe] on my left wrist:

Tattoo #29: Chrysolina cerealis Rainbow Leaf Beetle [native to most Eurasian countries & Snowdonia, Wales] on my lower left arm:

Tattoo #30: Macrodontia cervicornis Sabertooth Longhorn Beetle [native to South American Rainforests] on my upper/inner left arm:

Tattoo #31: Platycostis vittata Oak Treehopper [native to North America] beside my left elbow [STILL HEALING]:

Tattoo #32: Eudicella gralli, the “Flamboyant Flower Beetle”, is a type of Scarab Beetle [native to African Rainforests] which I got on my upper left arm:

Tattoo #33: Pygoplatys lancifer Ornate Shield Bug [native to most SE Asia] on my upper left arm [STILL HEALING]:

I see Lauren again next week for some more buggy goodness.

  • I’m not sure why I picked “BUGS” as my theme.  I have always loved and been fascinated by bugs.  They’re beautiful, industrious, clever, colorful, sometimes scary [I’ll forever be thankful that spiders can’t fly – I know they are technically arachnids, not “bugs”], interesting, & at times fascinating.  I am getting older [I’ll be 53 in January 2024] and had taken 8 years off from tattoos.  I wanted to jumpstart the process of dual sleeves and figured a theme would help.  I thought about fish and sea creatures, or flowers, but ultimately chose bugs.  I have never seen anyone covered in bug tattoos.
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