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Wednesday, Jan 18, 2012

Bringing back “souvenir” tattoos

Ellen Wright opts for ink over keychains and other momentos

By Kelly Davis
ellenwrightsandiego Ellen Wright getting a souvenir tattoo in Seattle
- Photo by Rachelle Kauffman
Ellen Wright got her first “souvenir” tattoo in San Francisco’s North Beach, just up the street from two of her favorite spots—Vesuvio Bar and City Lights Bookstore. Appropriate for the location, the tattoo was a line from Allen Ginsberg’s poem “Song.”

That was four years ago. This past July, while in New York for work, the 30-year-old stylist who works at Hair Drezzers on Fire in Normal Heights, decided, on a whim, to get a tattoo of the Lower Manhattan subway map.

“It just kind of popped into my head,” she says, “because that’s how I got around the entire time I was there—the train—and I loved it.”

She searched Yelp for tattoo shops and walked into a few. She says she relies on instinct when deciding where to go. She spied tiny Funhouse Tattoo on St. Marks Place, with its walls full of images of gorgeous vintage tattoos. “As soon as I walked in, I just instantly fell in love with it,” she says.

In November she took a trip to Seattle to visit a friend, and the two decided to get matching tattoos. The friend’s parents had met at the Space Needle, and Wright liked the idea of the tattoo being an actual souvenir—a spoon—that folks might buy at the Space Needle gift shop.

All three souvenir tattoos, in addition to most of her 17 others, are on her arms. “I’m tattooed very selfishly,” she says. “Most of my tattoos, I want to see them.”

She used to worry that there might not be cohesiveness if she didn’t plan things out. “But, it kind of all works. It’s like a scrapbook, anyway.”


Email kellyd@sdcitybeat.com or follow her on Twitter at @citybeatkelly.




 
 
 
 
 
 
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