Who Did Your Ink?: Heather DeLong learns to enjoy messiness of being human

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      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?  Heather DeLong.

      What do you do?  I'm an English professor, yoga teacher, and musician.

      Who did your ink?  Sacred Heart in San Francisco and my cousin, artist Mark DeLong.

      Why did you choose these artists to do your tattoos?  For the first one, I was living in San Francisco at the time and it was my birthday.

      My boyfriend at the time recommended the place and it was a good experience. I was pretty scared, but the artist was really great—and very cute too, as I recall, so that helped!

      The tattoo itself was an image I had photocopied from William Blake's The Marriage of Heaven and Hell—the body swimming to meet the soul. The photocopy had been in my wallet for three years; I knew I wanted to get it tattooed, but I couldn't decide where.

      I finally decided on the spot (my inner forearm) and then it took me 10 years to get the other arm done. My cousin Mark did the second one (alchemical symbols of the four elements) at his home with his two kids and his Beagle, Birdie, running around, so the image is a little wonky, but that's what I like about it.

      It's a good memory of hanging out with Mark and his family.

      Is there any meaning behind them?  The Blake image was to remind me to enjoy the messiness of being human, that experience deepens our understanding of life in ways that reading about it in a book never can.

      What's next on your ink list?  I feel like the two I have now are the last for me... but I think people with tattoos can never say never...