Chris Foresman says it’s all Twitter’s fault. Five years ago, he answered a tweet from a friend who needed someone to do a quick post for Ars Technica. Now he’s covering Apple as well as patent litigation, online privacy, digital photography and visual perception.
But we’re not concerned with Chris’s tech life here. We’re curious about his tattoos.
My very first tattoo was a straight edge “X” on the inside of my right leg. This was approximately 1993, while I was still in high school. Several of my friends were straight edge, too, and into punk rock and skateboarding. One of our friends, Mike, had learned how to make a homemade tattoo gun.
I don’t know the exact origins of the design and for some reason, I feel like it had something to do with the Anarchist’s Cookbook, but it was basically the tube of a BIC pen with a motor from a small RC car hooked up to it. We each made our own needle by super-gluing a fresh, sharp sewing needle onto a coffee stirrer and putting into the shaft of the pen. The end of the electric motor would hook to a small hole in the end, causing it to move up and down very fast. It hurt like hell. Still, to this day the lines are relatively sharp and the fill is still as dark as the day I got it.
Tell me about the other two.
My friend Pat played in a number of bands growing up. Some are well-known, like Endpoint, Metroschifter, Tramlaw. Around 1998, he apprenticed at a small tattoo shop in our hometown of Lafayette, Ind. I remember he had a scare with a needle going through his gloves, or something like that, and was concerned he might end up with hepatitis. He ended up quitting after a few months, but not before he did maybe a dozen tattoos, including mine.
I have the honor of having the first tattoo Pat ever did, which is a rough outline of Radha Krishna that was copied from some cheap Hare Krishna paperback. I don’t follow the religion as closely as I used to but in my teens and early twenties I was pretty heavily into its philosophy, which is something I got razzed about more often than any tattoo. I also have the fifth tattoo he did, which I’m pretty sure was his first black-and-white portrait. It’s based on a painting of Sri Govinda, another name for Krishna, as a young boy. To my eye, you can see a pretty remarkable improvement in his work between these tattoos.
How do you feel about it now?
It may not be the best portrait work ever but it holds up. Hare Krishna philosophy is still important to me, which is probably why I never regretted getting those tattoos. The Straight edge tattoo is a little different, since I stopped being straight edge after a decade of drug-free life. It was definitely the right thing for me at that time, though, and the tattoo is a reminder of all those youthful memories.
I still have rings in both ears. I had let other friends apprenticing as piercers give me septum and Prince Albert piercings but I’ve long since taken them out.
Are there more tattoos in your future?
I would like to finish what Pat started on my back. I had planned on eventually adding a black-and-white portrait of Radha, along with a full-color portrait of Radha Krishna. They’d be surrounded by certain Sanskrit verses and perhaps smaller images of Krishna incarnations, like Nrsimha, or various saints like Srila Prabhupada.