Ink of a Different Kind

Posted on by Marnie Galloway

As a printmaker and book artist, most of the ink that I write about here is rubber-based letterpress ink or the lovely inky smell of books freshly returned from the press. Not today!

This is my new tattoo, courtesy of the very talented Jason Longtin at Deluxe Tattoo in Chicago. I introduce Pallas Athena, the patron of heroic endeavors, the symbol of wisdom in battle, of knowing when to fight the right fight and how to fight it well. Not blind peace, not blind warfare, but justice. She is the symbol of inspiration (she did, after all, emerge from Zeus's head fully formed) and mechanical arts and crafts; as a printmaker and artist, this delights me. She is a feminine symbol of physical strength; as an amateur power lifter and very literal-minded feminist, this delights me.  She is closely associated with the owl; I tip my hat to Chicago with the owl image. This is the owl from the State Street facade of the Harold Washington Library in the loop. Chicago, where I came to embrace my path as an artist. Chicago, where I became more confident in my skin, where I learned (again and again) when to fight the right fight and how to fight it well.

This is Athena, the "martial maid" who prompted Zeus in an argument to say "Great Polypheme, of more than mortal might? Him young Thousa bore (the bright increase of Phorcys, dreaded in the sounds and seas)..."

Also, loaded symbolic meaning aside, I think it is beautiful.

It is not quite finished--shading will take another sitting--but I'm too excited to wait until then to share.

I debated posting about the new ink here as it does not seem directly related to my practice, but it is: it is an arm guard about my artistic practice. Always facing forward: sing, goddess, the rage.