Ink Stories: Phoebe O.

This week’s ink story is from a cheery, pink-haired woman who’s lived all over the country, tattooing a piece of each place on her leg as she goes along.

Phoebe was only 14 when she got her first tattoo, a cross on her shin. Over the years, it’s evolved into a motif of different cities she has lived in. The cross is now covered by a black barn from her grandma’s house in New England, and she surrounded it with landmarks from Seattle, Tacoma, Olympia, Boston, San Francisco, and Portland.

These landmarks include the Seattle Space Needle, a capitol dome from Olympia, Long Fellow Bridge from Boston, Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco, Freemont Bridge and Portlandia from Portland, and Mt. Rainier in the background. She loved the 1930’s art deco style and how all the different places mashed together to make one city.

“My ideas were so vague, I was lucky to find a guy I really trusted to put something together,” Phoebe said.

Dan Gilsdorf at Atlas Tattoos created the design and tattooed her, but he recently moved to San Francisco leaving this ink fan in a pickle about her next piece of art.

Phoebe recently got a piece done on her arm that represents a mashup of the things she likes. The design began with a moon, with the rockets, astronaut cats, rose and bee added later; each element connects and anchors one another. The bee is significant because her dad called her bee as a child, and she plans to tattoo a design of bees on her wrist to commemorate that.

Although Phoebe has some pretty big tattoos, she’s not done just yet. She plans to get a picture of her grandma from the 1960’s smiling on a sunny deck tattooed in black and white on her left arm. Her words of wisdom for all our readers: “If you add a lot of permanent color, you limit your wardrobe.”

Phase 1, before the shading:

The mashup of different cities:

The woman wearing the ink: Phoebe Owens


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