This week, I decided to take pictures of other tattoos done by artist William Trask of Premiere Tattoo. 27-year-old Mike Grasso has a total of 35 tattoos mostly done by Trask which he was kind enough to let me take pictures of when he was getting another tattoo on his left arm.
Grasso lifted up his shirt and boxers to show me the body piece that goes from his armpit down to his toes on the left side of his body. A black inked angel looks down on the rest of the body piece with a dead face.
Grasso showed me more of the left side body piece from his hip to the middle of his leg. A battered looking hand points from Grasso’s left leg to the angel on the left side of his stomach. She stares right back at it.
Grasso’s continuing artwork is shown in his black wife beater from the top of his right shoulder to his elbow. An eyeball with green feathered wings sits above an R split in half with a tattoo shape in the middle. A wolf lies below the R on Grasso’s right arm, which is mostly colored tattoos.
This post is different from all of the posts that I have written so far. I had planned to see a friend of mine this week to take pictures of his remarkable, one of a kind tattoos after I got out of work. I texted him right when I got out of work Thursday night and there wasn’t any response.
I brushed it off, thinking that maybe his phone died or got turned off or he may have even lost it. Saturday morning I went onto Facebook and saw that a friend of mine put in her status, “RIP Vince Pellegrino.” I was confused, I had just talked to him two days ago. So I looked onto his Facebook and learned why my friend hadn’t been texting me back for the past two days.
I found out through this social medium that my friend Vince “Stitch” Pellegrino, who I had just hung out with on Sunday and who I had talked to Thursday afternoon, had committed suicide. He was only 20 years old.
It seemed like every time I saw Vinny, he always had a new tattoo. He couldn’t get enough of them, tattoos were his life. The pain never seemed to bother him, he had his last tattoo done two Thursdays ago and the only thing that bothered him was that it kept sticking to his wife beater. Tattoos covered Vinny’s arms, legs, chest, back, you name a place and he’s had work done there. He loved piercings as well, pain was never an issue for him.
Not only did Vinny enjoy getting tattoos and piercings, he also enjoyed
going into mosh pits even though he was only a little bit taller than me (I’m 5’3) and skinnier than me. He was a tough guy, and he wasn’t afraid of anyone. Vinny found himself in a decent amount of fights, but it was never because he just wanted to pick a fight with someone. There was always a good reason why Vinny defended himself and others through his fists instead of his words.
I am not sure how long it has been going on for, but Vince had a history of drug and alcohol abuse. Life hadn’t been too kind for him, he told me he had been bounced around from foster home to foster home when he was younger.
He was living with his friend Jacob Callahan in Pine Hill, NJ just before his untimely passing and was trying to get his life back together. Vinny told me that he had a couple of job interviews lined up, he was working on his car, and that he had been happier then he had been for a long time. I can only hope that he was telling me the truth.
Vince Pellegrino will be truly missed by his friends and family members. Wherever you are, I hope you are happy and are free of the pain you felt when you were here. I love you and so many others love you too.
On Tuesday, November 8, 2011 his funeral will be held at the Mark C Tilghman Funeral Home on 38 North Forklanding Rd., Maple Shade, NJ 08052-2630 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. There will be donations at the service to help with the service cost.
For the most part, I have discussed and shown pictures of tattoos that people wanted to get and still loved to look at even after years of having them. That is not always the case with other people’s tattoos.
Neah Wilburn is a senior RTF major at Rowan University with a total of four tattoos. She received her fourth tattoo on her right hand in March of this year, and only eight months after it was done she already wishes she could change that tattoo if it were possible. I met up with her on Monday to discuss this particular tattoo, and why it is controversial to her and to other people who see her tattoo.
Q: What is your most recent tattoo of and why did you get it?
A: My tattoo is in cursive writing of the word, “Misunderstood.” I got that tattoo for many reasons. The first reason is my best cousin and I have the same tattoo, she’s like my partner in crime. Second, my cousin, who I also call my twin, has a small thunderbolt on his forehead representing the word, “Misunderstood.” The third reason is because I honestly feel like no one understands how I feel or the way I think. Lastly, I also got it because it was only $15 to get it done.
Q: Where did you get your last tattoo at and who did it?
A: A family member’s friend did it in his bedroom because he wasn’t licensed to tattoo. I am not allowed to say his name because it is illegal for him to tattoo and it is also illegal to have a tattoo done outside of a shop or a tattoo convention.
Q: How did your family feel about your tattoo?
A: They wanted to kill me. My mother not only didn’t like it because of her beliefs about tattoos but also because it was visible. My one older cousin who I looked up too didn’t like it because it was so visible and couldn’t be covered easily without it being noticed. My father still tries to wipe it off everyday thinking it’s just pen ink and not permanent ink. Everyone thinks I was stupid to get this tattoo, which is why I got it in the first place: they don’t understand how I think.
Q: Do you regret your tattoo does it affect your life?
A: I do not like the format of my tattoo. The “e” and the “r” in the writing look like they are melded together, making it hard to read. People can barely read it and understand it, just like myself. This particular tattoo makes it more difficult for me to find a job. If I were to be offered a position, any job would want me to cover it with a band-aid or with make-up so no one will see. My employers would see my tattoo as unprofessional.
Q: Why is your tattoo controversial?