Yesterday, I made a trip to North Coast Body Mod and got my first new tattoo in almost seven years. I’m pretty picky in what I get, and after a few early mistakes when I first started getting inked a decade ago, I decided that I have plenty of time to decide what art I want to adorn my skin with, after all my body art will be a part of me until my very end.

I started phase two of a left arm sleeve design that was started almost 8 years ago by Brian up at North Coast, when he worked at another local establishment. That original piece was an oriental style dragon on my upper left arm.

Since I was a little kid I have always been fascinated by dragons, both the European version of dragon mythology where they are depicted as being a demonic type creature as well as the Oriental version of the dragon mythos, where they are seen as a much more benevolent creature and are actually revered, rather then feared.

It is hard to say about the Dragon tattoo on my arm since it as drawn and designed in America, by an American artist, but it would be closer to the Japanese style as it is drawn with three claws, whereas Chinese Dragons generally have five.

The piece that I had added to my half sleeve design wraps around my arm coming down just above my elbow joining with the dragon art that has been there now for the last few years. The new piece is of a koi fish that is swimming up a waterfall.

There is an ancient legend that if a koi manages to swim up a waterfall at a certain spot called the dragon’s gate that it will then transform into a dragon. That story has always fascinated me and I wanted to incorporate it into my artwork.

In Japanese culture koi are seen as a symbol associated with perseverance in adversity and strength of purpose. Because of its strength and determination to overcome obstacles, it stands for courage and the ability to attain high goals.

Currently the outline and most of the shading are completed, I am now giving it some time to heal and in two weeks will go in for color and for a smoother joining with the first piece that was added seven years ago.