The meaning behind my tattoo

A lot of people have expressed amazement at my new tattoo, and rightly so. Sean Cummings of Paradox Tattoo is an amazing artist.


I did not draw this, because I lack that kind of talent. I’m sure Sean could have drawn it from scratch, but I didn’t want to leave anything to chance, or argue with him about how it should actually look. I’m not always good at getting my point across when it comes to images in my head (ironic, I know). So I will start from the bottom up.

The origami crane was actually the first part of the design that I envisioned. The actual graphic was taken from the cover of Darren Hayes’ double album ‘This Delicate Thing We’ve Made’.


The Darren Hayes ‘thing’ is not just a thing. When ‘I Want You’, the first single off the Savage Garden debut album, hit America, it was love at first sound. I was mesmerised by the music, and once I got the full album and started listening to all the tracks, I was touched. Savage Garden was not just another pop band, there was something about them that made me happy.

I wasn’t a happy boy back in the 90’s. Darren’s lyrics seemed perfectly constructed to lift me up off the worst of my depression and get me moving. But the idea of the crane for my tattoo didn’t come until later. I had contemplated such a design before Darren used it on his album cover. The thought of a plain piece of paper becoming something beautiful seemed like a metaphor for my own mind. I was determined to take the desert my life had become and turn it into something great.

When I saw the album cover, and I remembered how many times the music helped me through the day, it clicked.

From there, the idea of the phoenix just flowed naturally. A symbol of rebirth and renewal, I thought it would be interesting to have the phoenix rising from the crane, the paper bird turning into flesh, bone, and fire. A construct made real. I searched and scoured the internet for a phoenix I could use, but it was my dad who suggested I look at the Dungeons and Dragons Monster Manual 2. It was relevant to my interests, because my whole family plays, so it means a lot to me as well.


Obviously your dimensions and outlines are going to vary when you turn it into a tattoo, but I’m quite happy with the results. If you’re ever in the Philadelphia/Delaware/Downingtown area, check out Sean’s shop. And there you have it, the story of my first tattoo. I will probably go back for a touchup once it’s done healing, maybe get him to extend the yellow down so it meets the crane. But for all intents and purposes, it’s done.

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