Rosie and Me – an Update

Several months ago I wrote about my tattoo experience with Rosie the Riveter – you can read about it here.

A quick bit of back story for those who may not wish to click…

1. This is my favorite painting…

This is the photo I took of Rosie at Crystal Bridges last winter.

This is the photo I took of Rosie at Crystal Bridges last winter.

2. Rosie was based on this painting…

Rosie was based on the image of Isaiah from the Sistine Chapel - instead of the Book of the Law, she rests her arm on her lunchbox.

Rosie was based on the image of Isaiah from the Sistine Chapel – instead of the Book of the Law, she rests her arm on her lunchbox.

3. I started a tattoo last year of Rosie by an amazing artist, Serene Temple – as of last February it looked like this…

This is Rosie after 2 sessions - last February

This is Rosie after 2 sessions – last February. I was constantly stopped and asked who did this piece – no one believed me when I told them it was unfinished.

4. Rosie was brought to this point in 2 sessions or about 12 hours work. The first was to lay in the shadows, the second was to add color and define details.

OK – That’s where I left off. This year over my Christmas holiday I scheduled another session with the amazing Serene. She told me that we would be doing fine detail and that this session would be fun. I imagined a couple of hours of highlights and that we would have time to add something I have been wanting to add to my arm. I was totally unprepared for the detail session – it was much more than a few highlights. Layers of color were added to Rosie’s overalls, skin tones were enhanced, details were added – before it was over we spent another 5 hours on Rosie.

Rosie’s face complete with lipstick and curls. Note the highlights on all the glass surfaces like her goggles and mask.

The details in her hair and highlights make this look so much like the painting. The buttons are beyond belief.

The details in her hair and highlights make this look so much like the painting. The buttons are beyond belief.

Since the last session I have gone back to Crystal Bridges to get a shot of the pocket of Rosie’s overalls – it contained a handkerchief and a compact. Those details were added in this session.

Rosie's white compact and hanky are tucked into her overalls pocket. The white seams and the surface of the rivet gun add so much dimension.

Rosie’s white compact and hanky are tucked into her overalls pocket. The white seams and the surface of the rivet gun add so much dimension.

Rosie’s hand had so many more details than I had imagined – I thought it was pretty much done last session – I was wrong.

The crust on the bread of the sandwich, the stippled surface of the rivet gun, the buckles on her wrist strap, and her red nail polish - the details make it echo Rockwell's original.

The crust on the bread of the sandwich, the stippled surface of the rivet gun, the buckles on her wrist strap, and her red nail polish – the details make it echo Rockwell’s original.

The penny loafers and cuffs are by far the best ink I have on my body – I wish I had photos to do them justice…

The cuffs on these overalls are some of the best Ink I have ever seen. The penny loafers are my favorite part of the original and this photo doesn't do these details justice. Shooting your own leg is harder than you think.

The cuffs on these overalls are some of the best Ink I have ever seen. The penny loafers are my favorite part of the original and this photo doesn’t do these details justice. Shooting your own leg is harder than you think.

Ultimately my best shot is one taken by someone at a bit more distance. I think she’s more than I ever imagined she could be…

This gives you a feel for how complete Rosie is looking - next we will work on the background

This gives you a feel for how complete Rosie is looking – next we will work on the background.

Where do we go from here? I have an idea about the background. I don’t think I want the wavy stripes from the original – it was designed to be a flat magazine cover, and my leg is round. I am intrigued by the setting of Isaiah – both of these images are of people who were a part of a fundamental change in how we saw the world. Isaiah introduces us to a God of compassion. He describes a savior that is a conqueror of the heart rather than the head of an army. Before Isaiah our view of God was as a judge handing down punishment, after Isaiah we get a glimpse of Him extending his hand to save us from that judgement. Rosie is the image of a sea change in how we see women. Before Rosie, women were barely assigned enough intelligence to be able to vote, now she could not only do the job of any man – she could do it well. It was her duty, she was doing her part to save the world. I like to think of combining the two – maybe she should be seated on an industrial styled throne-like niche – trade Isaiah’s marble for steel and rivets. At least that’s what I’m thinking today. We’ll see where it goes the next time I go home.

As for that other piece I was thinking about adding, as usual I imagine things are easier than they really are. Serene saw my idea and was eager to tackle it. We scheduled another session on her day off while I was still in town. She did a drawing that took hours of something I had wanted to add something to my sleeve – an image of the camera my mother shot, the camera she taught me to shoot – a Rolleiflex…

What comes after Rosie? An image of my favorite camera.

What comes after Rosie? An image of my favorite camera.

This is just the first session. Details will be added and it will look amazing (I kinda think it already does, but I have learned my lesson) Good ink takes time and the time is worth it when you consider that this is on your body forever.

56 thoughts on “Rosie and Me – an Update

  1. I am so so so thankful to have found this amazing piece!! First, let me say that I love your tattoo. Your artist is incredible. I was wondering if you could give me some help :D I’m planning to chalk this piece at a festival in 2 weeks, and I cannot find any info on the buttons Rosie is wearing. It will be hard to get the detail with chalk, but I want to know as much about this piece as I can. I have loved it for a long, long time, but now that I am attempting to recreate it, I am looking at it with different eyes, and I cannot make out the details besides the red cross and the V for victory. I hope you can shed some light on those little details for me. Thanks so much, and enjoy that gorgeous lady!! ~Tiffany~

      • I’d love them! I actually got in touch with Niki Stewart from Crystal Bridges, and she sent me a very informative brochure on all of Rosie’s buttons that was used during one of the Art Talks. I now know what they are, which makes me love her so much more. My email is tcakes4u at gmail dot com. I can send you a picture of my finished chalk after Saturday :D

  2. That is freaking awesome. Your tattoo artist has some serious talent! I like the way Rosie steps on “Mein Kampf” – it reminds me of depictions of saints stepping on demonic serpents, like they are unimportant things trod underfoot, not even worth a thought.

    • I like that too. I remember when I was looking at the photo of the painting with my artist – we elected to skip the halo and the flag, but decided that Mein Kampf stayed. This context is absolutely the only way I would have a swastika on my body – under her feet.

      • Sorry to come back on this, but Rosie has been on my mind. I think you made the right decision on the flag and halo for the tattoo. The painting, the more I think on it, is rife with symbols and interesting balances. Rosie has the twelve stars around her head like the woman the dragon chases in the NT Revelations. Both patriotism (flag) and goodness (halo) come packed with additional meanings. The book, however, doesn’t. It only has evil and horror, yet its writer attempted to tie it with patriotism and goodness. I can see why the painting has called out to you, it is anything but simple.

        And it’s a gutsy move to carry it on your skin.

        • No need to apologize! I hadn’t counted the stars in the flag behind her – interesting, I wonder if Rockwell knew that or if it was a coincidence. I love that she was based on Isaiah – honestly I think it was because of the pose, but he is the prophet that tells of the hope in the Prince of Peace – a gentle coming. I like that. Rockwell could not have known how much his image would shape our views. I love having her be a part of me.

  3. holy shit Lorri! That tattoo artist is amazing! As an artist I know how hard it is to get the details just right. It takes a lot of work and a great eye. But to do it as a tat is just amazing. Wonderful, it almost makes me want one myself. Almost. ;-)

  4. Wow..Wow.. I am actually at a loss for words… This is a magnificent piece of art.. and to think you carry it around with you is even more astounding… I love this post, and for that matter, the first one… This is a post with a difference, a very special post one that will remain in my memory for quite some time… magnificent… the tattooist is out of this world… a true artists …

  5. WOWOWOWOWOWOW! This artist is simply incredible, no words, just gorgeous work like I seldom see in tats, love the thought process behind it and yes, those loafers are to die for! Also, that camera is amazing and just so perfect, Lorri, you are a work of art!

  6. Lorri, the artistic work is beyond belief, I loved last year’s image, but this year’s is fantastic. Patti and I are in Seminole with Cai and Paul for a few days then we will be hide. I want us to get together soon. I’l ask Patti to set a time with you so we can visit.

    Bill

    Metta,

    Bill Roselius Bill.roselius@gmail.com 479-244-5088 60 county road 2104 Eureka Springs, AR 72632

    • Wow – that says and means a lot. I have been meaning to write it for a while and parts of it just happened while I was writing – totally unplanned. I appreciate the kind words Steph.

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