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Ok, you asked for it: my postmark tattoo story. But first, the scandalous photo!

I was living on the farm (god, does every blog entry of mine start like that or what?), knew I wanted to get another tattoo, and decided that it should be something related to my hometown of Buffalo, New York.

I honestly don’t know what made me think of the postmark but no sooner than I imagined it on my body, a letter arrived from my little brother Josh with a fresh postmark stamped across its envelope. At the time, Josh was about 14-years-old and in his freshman year of high school. A true child of the internet age, he had never sent a letter through the post. Ever. This was the first letter he sent and the first I received from him.

Sidenote: He had actually sent one a couple weeks before but didn’t know that one must affix a stamp to a letter in order for it to be processed. How adorable is that? Oh, the things that make you love people more.

Anyway, when I saw the letter I knew that I had found my postmark. I needed to figure out where to put the sucker and then make an appointment at a tattoo parlor in the Hudson Valley area. I narrowed down my choice of placement to two options: my arm and my chest. I’ve a number of friends with beautiful tattoos on the inside of their forearm and/or on the inside of their bicep (I guess that’s how I’d describe it). My chest ultimately won out because I figured it would be easier to cover up if need be and hey, I really loved the spot.

Zeb, my co-worker and friend, had one of his beautiful tattoos done at Lark Street Tattoo in Albany and after my so-so experience with Tattoo Uno, I wanted to go somwhere great. I’ve already written about Kara, the artist who did the postmark, and her insistence at getting the artwork and placement right.

One of the details we debated (in detail) was the “stamp affect” of the postmark. You’ll notice that some of the lines, letters, and numbers look splotchy or missing. That’s how the postmark looked on the envelope–imperfect–and so that’s how we decided to keep it. Additionally, we enlarged the circular part of the postmark so that the numbers and letters would stay fresh looking longer. Any smaller, Kara told me, and it would fade or blur too much.

All in all the tattoo took about 45 minutes and much like my first one, the postmark was pretty painless. I’d describe the feeling as more annoying than anything but I’m told that shading is the most painful part of a tattoo. Both of mine are all line work.

My mother’s response when she saw it for the first time? That I should get my return address stamped on [somewhere crude].

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November 19, 2010 - 12:19 PM

Joe - Came here via the NPRpostal tag on Flickr and just had to tell you I think that’s some great ink and an even greater story. Have a good weekend.

November 19, 2010 - 12:39 PM

Craig Kanalley - This is awesome! I’m a proud Buffalo, NY native myself and always love to see Buffalo pride from fellow locals and expats!!

November 19, 2010 - 2:50 PM

whitney - thanks to both of you!

February 28, 2011 - 2:51 AM

Nikki - What a awesome idea…..May just have to steal it!! :)

December 31, 2011 - 6:32 PM

Art - I have worked for the Post Office for many years and and have always wanted a Postmark tattoo. I think I will take your mother’s advice on the location.

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