Who Did Your Ink? is the Straight’s weekly feature, where we ask badass Vancouverites about the talented artists, indelible stories, and, at times, questionable antics behind their most treasured tattoos.
What’s your name? Bif Naked.
Who did your ink? Over the past 30 years, about 30 different people in Vancouver and also in Europe and America.
Is there any meaning behind your tattoos? The tattoos map my history and my emotional story. Tattoos give us "armour" a lot of the time and they certainly did for me. My favourite tattoos (out of all 75) are two little blue dots: my "radiation" tattoos (for cancer treatment) done in the CT scan room, with a needle and inkwell. "Like jail!" I squeaked at the nurses. I loved that!
These "radiation" tattoos were a surprise for me. I thought I was just there for a "pre-radiation" treatment scan. I had just finished my chemo about a week before. It was quite a time. The meaning behind the almost-invisible blue dots is to accurately line-up the lasers/love beams on a consistent basis. They mark the area of the treatment field.
I feel very spiritual about many of my tattoos, but my “radiation” tattoos were empowering more than any of the others. They remind me of a tremendous time in my life, and I stay very grounded when I see or think of them.
Other important tattoos are the one I got of the goddess, Green Tara, when I was on my first European tour, at the famous Hanky Panky shop in Amsterdam. There was a visiting artist there at the time from Spain named Morbella (now sometimes goes by "IsaEsAsi"), who thoughtfully created this tattoo for me. I had just begun to explore Buddhism and it meant a lot to me to express this.
My back tattoo is of the Taj Mahal and it is a work in progress. Steve "Breadman" Cole is the artist. He also tattooed Om Namah Shivaya across my entire ribcage. It is my favourite mantra.
Also, my matching wrist tattoos that say non backwards and forwards. They are my "power cuffs" and I hoped that they would empower me to protect myself.
Who’s your favourite local tattoo artist? Gerry Kramer (Victoria), Steve "Breadman" Cole (Squamish), Chad Woodley (Vancouver), Carlos Vanst (Vancouver/Burnaby), Teresa Johnson (Vancouver), Tama (Paris), and, of course, the two little radiology technicians who gave me my first “jail tattoo”.
Bif Naked will peform next Thursday (May 12) 2016 at the Venue.