Renee's Papal Insignia Challenges Her Beliefs

I met Renee in the Clark Street subway station in Brooklyn Heights recently, and we had a fascinating conversation.

We talked for a good bit, and actually spent more time time talking about her plans for new tattoos, as opposed to what she already had on her body. She has five tattoos, two of which she did herself. We ended up talking most about this one, on the middle finger of her right hand:

This is one of her self-inked tattoos which, she says, she did using "the prison method". This generally involves using a needle or a sharpened guitar string and dipping it in ink. Sometimes with, sometimes without, a jerry-rigged motor.

The design is based on the insignia of the Pope.

At the time that she did this, she felt a connection to the Catholic Church that was very strong. Religion was a "huge part of her childhood"

However, as anyone paying attention to the news recently is well aware, the Catholic Church has been under fire for quite some time due to its handling of internal matters regarding abuse among the clergy.

Renee finds that who she is now is "irreconcilable with the Catholic Church" and, as a result, she plans on having this finger tattoo covered up "as a statement" about her feelings and her conviction that this symbol is, in her words, "something I can't have anymore".

So today's post features a tattoo whose time is running out, which is not all that common here on the site. I have always maintained that the tattoos seen here aren't always the "best" in art, but rather, interesting encounters in New York with interesting people.

Thanks to Renee for being so forthcoming about her personal connection to tattooing, and for sharing this small, seemingly harmless tattoo, that carries with it such a weight, laden with meaning.