Unusual Medium

Gary, one of the elephant handlers at Melbourne Zoo, asked a favour of me a few weeks ago. Could I design a tattoo for him? Skin art is not my forte - my previous experience with tattoo design was some abstract sketches for a fellow volunteer at a Thai NGO years ago. While the young cook from northern England was chuffed with his bold, shoulder-covering tattoo, I felt like an accomplice to misguided decision that resulted in a permanent mark that would probably be regretted sooner or later…. Gary’s request seemed different though. Having loved and worked with elephants for most of his professional career, he wanted an image of a cow and two calves to represent his children and their mother. A beautiful sentiment that deserved a beautiful image. Gary provided photos of particular elephants he admired and described the girls’ personalities. I made some sketches then resized the drawing that the tattoo artist faithfully reproduced.
Here is Gary and the image representing the things he loves most. -bc

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