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Pen & Ink Tells The Stories Of People's Tattoos In Words And Pictures

By Jaclyn Bauer in Arts & Entertainment on Oct 15, 2014 4:25PM

2014_10_pen_and_ink_book_cover.jpg Pen & Ink: Tattoos and the Stories Behind Them is a collection of people's tatted tales gathered by Isaac Fitzgerald and Wendy MacNaughton.

A host of people, including well-known writers such as Roxane Gay and musicians from Korn, share the stories of what inspired one of their tattoos. Each person’s story is featured with a drawing of the tattoo by MacNaughton done in a uniquely cartoon style. The text throughout the book is handwritten, fitting with the artistic and visual prerogative of the book.

From a single sentence to a full page, each person’s story is a unique validation the where, why, and/or how of his or her tattoo. For how distinctive each tale is, though, there is a lot of overlap in terms of inspiration. Themes tend to revolve around death, drugs, love and hatred. There are stories of hostage situations, mental disorders and gangs as well as love stories and death stories. Some contributors admit their tattoos involved little to no thought, while others poured their spirits into the physical representations they have put on their bodies.

More interesting than the reasonings behind the tattoos is often where and with what medium some people had their ink done: i.e. in prison or a bedroom; with a sterilized needle or the ashes of a loved one.

All in all, Pen & Ink is a unique expression of the human condition as one of joy, sadness, suffering and delight, as well as an expression of the tangible way in which our experiences can be inked upon the world in both a tangible and more esoteric way.