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? Michael Nathanson.
What do you do? I am a marketing professional, and drummer in local bands The Bad Beats and Stride Elementary.
Who did your ink? Kay Abbott. He's now at Archetype Custom Tattoo (26 East Cordova Street) in Gastown.
Why did you choose this artist to do your tattoo? I always knew I would one day have a tattoo of Tommy, my deaf cat. Every time I saw someone with an animal tattoo I found unique and appealing, I would inquire. Still, I never found one that came close to what I was looking for.
One day, a bandmate of mine mentioned that a friend recently had work done and it may be of interest to me. Sure enough, it was precisely the style and realism I was seeking. Kay was the artist; his animal work is exceptional. He also created a large lion I have on my shoulder.
Kay loves his cats and understood my motivation perfectly. As permanent statements, tattoos must be approached by an artist who appreciates and truly understands your perspective—and is inspired by it.
Is there any meaning behind it? Indeed there is. Tommy was a wonderful kitty. (My wife and I miss him terribly!) He was a mischievous little fellow with a terrific sense of humour. Being deaf, he was very watchful—a quick study and extremely cunning as a result. He was also very affectionate.
He was a huge part of our lives, and I always knew I would one day have a tattoo of him. After he passed away, I wanted to “hold” him in my arms forever. This tattoo was the perfect way to honour his memory.
Who’s your favourite local tattoo artist? Well, Kay Abbott! I have only experienced Kay's work and professionalism, although I have seen the excellent work of a number of local artists. In my view, Vancouver's tattoo artists are some of the finest in the world.
What’s next on your ink list? Great question; I have a few ideas. I wish to employ some ancient symbols to honour my late parents. Music, as you can imagine, plays a huge role in my life, so I'm developing a couple of ideas featuring percussion images, notation, etc.