willow tree tattooMany of my tattoos are plants: trees, vines, tulips, and dahlias, drawn with art nouveau flair.

This is the willow tree tattoo that inspired my logo above.

I have always loved trees, particularly trees that grow near water. As a child, I had great fun climbing trees and swinging from the branches of weeping willows. My first babysitters were a Mennonite farming family with lots of fun places to explore and willow trees dotting the creek that ran through their property.

This tattoo was designed by my favorite tattoo artist Dawn Grace.

Another Economist's Opinion


From Steven Levitt ("Rogue" Economist)
author of Freakonomics

"According to a 2006 survey conducted by Pew Research, 40 percent of Americans between the ages of 26 and 40 have at least one tattoo; 36 percent of those age 18-25 report having a tattoo. Only 1 in 10 people older people [sic] have a tattoo. These numbers are shocking to my economist brain. Economists tend to like choices that are reversible."

"Because tattoos are painful to get and close off some legitimate job-market opportunities, it isn’t hard to see why tattoos serve a purpose for people engaged in activities that make it likely they will eventually end up in prison."

"[I]t seems strange that a University of Chicago undergrad would want to signal, via a tattoo, that they are like the tough guy who ends up in jail."

medusa tattooI find mythology fascinating, and I marvel at the depictions of many of the women in those traditions. Of course there are many heroic depictions of powerful and benevolent goddesses, but then we also have the pitifully jealous Hera, the heartless child-killing Medea, and the man-hating Medusa. As evidenced by the reactions of most men who see my Medusa tattoo, Medusa is truly viewed as a misandrist worthy of derision and disgust. Apparently, some men believe I send them a message with my Medusa tattoo.

And yet, there are numerous depictions of Medusa: as the face of the warrior possessed by battle frenzy, as the Divine Feminine, as Death (where turning to stone connotes the grave stone), or simply the Christian Devil (Medusa in Myth and Literary History, Louis Bogan). According to Bogan, "Robert Graves (Greek Myths, 1958) believes that the myth of Perseus [cutting off Medusa's head] preserves the memory of the conflicts which occurred between men and women in the transition from a matriarchal to a patriarchal society" (ibid).

medusa tattooAnother version is found in the fourth book of Ovid's Metamorphoses:

Great Perseus then: With me you shall prevail, 
Worth the relation, to relate a tale. 
Medusa once had charms; to gain her love 
A rival crowd of envious lovers strove. 
They, who have seen her, own, they ne'er did trace 
More moving features in a sweeter face. 
Yet above all, her length of hair, they own, 
In golden ringlets wav'd, and graceful shone. 
Her Neptune saw, and with such beauties fir'd, 
Resolv'd to compass, what his soul desir'd. 
In chaste Minerva's fane, he, lustful, stay'd, 
And seiz'd, and rifled the young, blushing maid. 
The bashful Goddess turn'd her eyes away, 
Nor durst such bold impurity survey; 
But on the ravish'd virgin vengeance takes, 
Her shining hair is chang'd to hissing snakes. 

Yes, Neptune (aka Poseidon) raped Medusa. In the Temple of Minerva (aka Athena). And how did Minerva react when she saw this happen? She turned Medusa's golden ringlets into hissing snakes. It's a Classic case of victim-blaming (pun intended).

Few depictions of Medusa relate well to Ovid's tale, but I found one hanging in a bar in the west Village. Brad Peterson's painting presents Medusa from the side, submerged in Neptune's sea, exhibiting pain moreso than wrath. I found the painting so compelling that I bought it and commissioned Dawn Grace to design a tattoo from it.