My body is my instrument. As far back as I can remember, I have used it to express myself. With every shimmy, thrust, shake, and spin, I speak an ancient language that needs no words. Rhythm comes naturally to me; when I dance, I feel like it is what I was made for, whether I am twirling a hoop or rolling my hips. I am an artist who marches to the beat of my own drum, and it seemed a natural progression to allow my instrument to become a canvas.
The first piece was a matching tattoo with my best friend for her 18th birthday. The second: a reminder of my grandfathers, who had both recently passed away. The third was acquired on an adventure with my sisters and my dad, where we all chose separate pieces that tied us together. Number four symbolized a new beginning, a phoenix rising and spreading its wings. The fifth was a bracelet of colorful stars for my niece and nephew. The sixth: a representation of my time in the army, stationed as a medic in South Korea. My collection grew steadily from there, adding a new piece about every six months.
An orange carnation blooms from my hip and continues up my ribs, surrounded by a favorite quote. A monkey relaxes on my foot. A roller skate and fishnet burn adorn my thigh. A shy little mustache hides out on a finger. My favorite book is immortalized on one arm; the other carries a reminder that there is more to life than mere existence. A heart is centered on my chest, and inside it, the sun sets on a beach while the waves roll in. Seven stars float above the heart, and they are anchored together by the colorful ink and negative space woven throughout the background.
While there are only a couple of ideas bouncing around in my pretty little head about what pieces I’ll get next, I imagine that I’ll eventually be pretty much covered. The most recently started piece is a tribute to my dog, looking quite regal in a warrior costume and a gilded frame. The next one I have planned is a mermaid, and who knows after that? When I am old, and my memory is fading, I shall stand naked in front of a mirror, and read the stories that my body tells, both as a canvas and as an instrument. I am an artist; I am art. I am Lauren, Flower, Siren, Lola, Lala, Yaya, LJ, L-Joy, EB…no matter the name, I will always be myself, and I will always dance to the beat of my own decorated drum.