This Stick-and Poke Artist Takes Us on a Tattoo Adventure Around Her Body.
“I believe tattoos have meaning, but it is most important to love how it looks and makes you love yourself.”
Rosa Bluestone Perr did not set out to be an artist. She was a visual artist who used paintbrushes and pencils until she decided to get a tattoo one fateful day. Ten years ago, the tattoo landscape looked much different than it does now—small, fine-line designs weren’t as ubiquitous as they are now. Rosa, who enjoys learning new things for herself, decided to learn how to tattoo herself. What could be so tricky when people stick-and-poke on themselves daily? She says, “I had been used to working with a paintbrush, a pen, or a pencil.” “So, it was natural to switch to a needle.” She fell in love with the artistic experience, and her friends began to reach out to her for ink. The business grew as word spread among friends of friends.
Rosa began tattooing because she wanted to give it a try. But now, it has grown into something much bigger. She says, “I feel that it’s a healing form.” “I have seen the power of a tattoo in making someone love themselves more. My clients are so happy to look at the new tattoos they have on their bodies. “I didn’t know how powerful tattooing could be in helping someone feel comfortable in their skin and love themselves,” she continues.
Rosa gives us a tour of her tattoos and an insight into the tattoo process. You shouldn’t expect every tattoo to be significant. Rosa: “I believe that a lot of people place a great deal of importance on a tattoo’s meaning and then feel too anxious to get one,” she says. “I believe it can have meaning, but loving how it looks on you is more important. It helps you love yourself.”
“I’m Pisces.” I was always a fish. Ever since I was small, I feel my most complete self whenever I’m in the water. This is a tribute to my love for being in the water.
“I’m [right-handed]. The skeleton of a mermaid is the first. The tattoo was pretty cool to realize I could tattoo myself with my left. It was cool to know I could do it with my left. After getting that tattoo, I said aloud, ‘I can do anything.’ It was empowering to think, “Wow, we can do anything.”
Herb is the name of my dad. When I was a child, I called him Herbie. He passed away several years ago. As an artist, he inspired me to create art. I grew up in his Greenwich Village loft, where he had an art studio. I was given art materials. My brother and I were encouraged to express ourselves creatively. This tattoo is a tribute to him.
“I’m drawn to the look of hand-drawn art.” I like it when things look a bit imperfect. “I think it looks better on the body that way.”
“This is a bad eye protector. I love the way it’s designed. “I think tattoos have many meanings and can be different to you at various times in your lives, but it is also important that you enjoy how they look on you because they will stay there forever.”
“I was always drawn to the bones. I like how they connect and combine in many pieces to make a whole. Also, I find bones interesting because they are a symbol of death. Death is a part of our lives that we struggle to accept. All we are is bones. One day we will all be bones. [In regards to] My own experience with mortality has taught me that understanding mortality helps us to appreciate life more. It doesn’t always have to be scary. It can help us appreciate the beauty all around us.”
“Del mar means ‘of the sea’ in Spanish. “It all comes down to my love for the ocean and being in the water.”
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“Some rings I got on my finger were my first tattoos.” After I gained more confidence, I began to give myself bracelets. I love the idea of permanent tattoos; they’re a lovely way to adorn yourself.”
“We’re all on Earth to love and care for each other. The most important thing is that we love and care for each other. This should be our goal. It’s an area I strive to improve; I often get frustrated or annoyed by people I love in my life. It’s easy to get frustrated with others, and shifting that is powerful. [mentality] Treat everyone with love.”
“I designed this angel guide to be my spirit guide. She is always by my side.
‘Here’ and ‘Now’
It’s a good reminder to me to be present. “It’s something I practice frequently, and it’s useful to see each time I do something with either of my two hands.”
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