so this is permanence

 today i thought i would share with you guys the inspiration//meaning//sources behind my tattoos.
(although i'll spare you the swirl on my lower back. i was 18. end of story. haha)
after that first one i never saw myself getting another...but like most who get work done, i've found an unbelievable form of catharsis...therapy...and healing in getting tattooed.
each one i get is like a little memento or snippet from life and i can't wait to see what kind of stories 90 year old katie is going to have to show to tell!
i have a growing collection of art on my arms...almost all of my tattoos are existing paintings or illustrations. 
and i'm lucky enough to have matt, who is one of the most talented realism tattoo artists in the world, and can handle any project i throw at him.
1. mucha summer
alphonse mucha is one of my favorite artists. his summer print gal was my first big tattoo, done by chad wells, several years ago. she is beautiful and reminds me of peace and warmth and a strength i never knew i had.

2. mucha peonies
my talented friend joshua lee did these mucha peonies on the inside of my arm to keep my summer girl company. i wasn't sure if the light colors would translate on the skin, but josh did an amazing job...the flowers are fully saturated in muted pinks and yellows.

3. vintage children's book illustration
this illustration is from an old children's book called the new tall tales part 1: reading for independence.
i would lay in bed at night when i was tiny and look at the pictures and dream up what the stories could be about. every time i see it on my arm it reminds me of pure happiness.
this is the first tattoo that matt did on me. it's so realistic and the one strangers come up and touch the most. it's so soft it looks like paint on my skin.

4. audubon cardinals
cardinals have a lot of symbolism in my life...they're the ohio state bird and my grandma and grandpa stratton's favorite. they come to visit my grandma on a regular basis now that my grandpa has passed away. matt is working on this piece on my lower arm in honor of them. 

5. little max silhouette
matt gave me this tattoo for mother's day last year. my mom used to draw me and my sister's silhouettes when we were little and i call max my "little shadow". it's the perfect tribute to my guy.

all of these are still works in progress...i'll take details shots to share as they get finished. but i'll warn you, this gal gets antsy for new work (hello, legs)....hence why i have 5 unfinished pieces. haha.
oh dear.

happy thursday, friends!
i would love to hear the meaning behind your favorite tattoos!

p.s. wood grain frames from kitschy digitals.


  1. Beautiful! I love them so much, Katie.

  2. They are all truly lovely. My favorite is the illustration. They are all whimsical and charming.

    A Collection of Passions

  3. i love ALL of your tattoos. so beautiful.
    after Gustav Klimt..(who is my all time favorite) Mucha is close in 2nd place for favorite artist.

  4. Your tattoos are absolutely beautiful. Thank you for sharing =)

  5. I've been waiting forever for a tattoo post! I absolutely love all of them. Especially since they each have special meanings behind them. :)

    I don't have any tattoos of my own and I doubt I'll ever actually get one (though I have millions of ideas in my head), but I LOVE being able to see those of others. <3

  6. love the meaning behind your tattoos. and i have to say, I LOVE THAT DRESS!

  7. Wow! I had no idea Matt does such killer work! Lucky me that we only live two and a half hours or so from you guys!

  8. They're all so beautiful! I absolutely love the vintage children's book illustration. I don't have any tattoos myself, I'm not sure if I could ever decide on something that I'd want on myself forever, plus I'm a sissy, hehe. But I think they look just lovely when they're done as skillfully as yours.

  9. They are all incredibly beautiful, and I love the meaning behind them. I think my favorite is the children's book...it's something I've always considered getting (not that specific book, but a similar one!) because it has such deep meaning that will always be with us. :)

  10. So beautiful. I admit when I saw a glimpse of your arm in a guest post that you did, I just had to check out your blog. Now I'm a regular reader. Thanks for sharing!

  11. i love your tattoos! they're all so unique; definitely not what you usually see. like the DRAGONFLY on my lower back for example? yeah...i dunno.
    you make me want to take the leap to get one on my upper arm. i've been thinking about it for a while...

  12. I really love your tattoos. They are all so unique and beautiful. I think my favorite is the children's book illustration. so...because your man is such a talented tattoo artist, does this mean you get all the free tattoos you want? haha :)

  13. Thanks for sharing the stories behind your tattoos! I only have one right now, and it's not nearly as intricate as yours. But you can check it out here:
    I love where I'm from, and I love everything crafty, and that's the short version of why I got this tattoo!
    x Katherine

  14. lovely! I am seriously thinking about getting a new tattoo after my first I thought it would be enough and two later I still want more. Yours are so meaningful, beautiful and inspiring! thanks for sharing! :) -Lo

  15. Your tattoos are so beautiful. I've never heard of Alphonse Mucha before now, but I've fallen in love with the two images you've shown.
    The children's book illustration and Audubon birds...so perfect!

  16. Your tattoos are so beautiful! My favorite is the children's book illustration! They're all awesome but the meaning of them make them even more amazing!:) Thank you for sharing this!

  17. Your post prompted me to research Mucha because your artwork is so beautiful. Wow, I love his work! I'm sad I haven't known of him so far. Thank you for your tattoo post and introducing me to a fabulous artist.

  18. Like seriously. I've spent hours searching for and staring at all things art nouveau. I'm completely enthralled.

  19. i love this post! they have such strong beautiful meanings xx


  20. Beautiful! I love the meaning behind each one.

  21. argh! i LOVE the children's illustration! oh man and it so beautifully looks like paint!

    you've got quite a nice collection!

  22. Yay! I love hearing about the inspiration behind people's tattoos. Yours are gorgeous!! (I also have one that's less than stellar - I was 19.) :)
    I'm about to get my first big piece done next month on my forearm and I seriously can't wait! You have been an inspiration to me.


  23. I appreciate you sharing the sentiments behind each of your tattoos. You are correct that tattoos hold meaning and tell a story. Thank you for sharing yours.

    I have several and they are very dear to me. My most beloved is a Popeye and SweetPea I got last year to honor my amazing father. I grew up adoring the Popeye tattoo my father got at age 19 while in the Coast Guard. He is my world. He was speechless.

  24. Hey Katie Thank you so much it's totally amazing of you to share. Matts super talented, it's a shame you guys are not closer to England! Thank you so much hope you have a fabulous weekend. Toodle pip x
    Sarah j

  25. i was thrilled to see this post! your tattoos are beautiful. the artists are amazingly talented. i especially like the one matt did. my husband and i are in the contemplation phase for future work and are scouting for artists, so it's great to know where we can contact someone.
    my favorite (and only-thusfar) tattoo is my wedding band: two simple interlaced lines.

  26. I just got my second tattoo. The first one was eleven years ago (I am seventeen) now am just saving up and researching artists for the next one!
    You are so lucky to have such a talented artist on hand.

  27. I am in love with your 'little max silhouette". It is absolutely gorgeous and I adore the meaning behind it!

    Arianna xoxo