New Design Eagle Tattoo

The bald eagle has been a figure of freedom in the United States since it was adopted in 1789. (Lucky for us, George Washington was President back then. (If Benjamin Franklin were more than a public official, we would have had the turkey as our symbol!) Not only is the eagle endangered, but also a new species of rebel picked up the eagle as its figurehead - the motorcyclist. Specifically, Harley-Davidson picked up the figure of the eagle - wings outstretched, with a banner wrapped around the bird stating, "Live to Ride, Ride to Live."

Once motorcyclists caught on to the love of the Harley, it was not very long before tattoos of the logo began to show up on the avid motorcycle community. Soon, the icon of freedom, liberty, and the pursuit of the open road had men and women both looking to exonerate their feelings with a tattoo bearing the eagle. I have seen some incredible eagle tattoos in the past, but nothing like one in particular back in 1998. I was in Chicago at the Motorcycle Show at McCormick Place. Within the show, there were tattoo booths not only displaying past tattoos in books, but also upon the artists themselves. One particular young woman caught my attention - mostly because she wore a tube top as she tattooed a client.

The tube top was not what caught my attention, but rather the skin that showed from the lack of clothes. Her back, arms, stomach, neck - all had tattoos. Upon her back and covering the entire upper half of it, was the most detailed, finely shaded eagle I had ever seen. Its wingspan covered her shoulders, and she had a background of blue sky and white clouds. In the talons of the eagle, a banner (of what I later found) of her daughter's name was slightly crumpled in its clutches.

She turned a bit so I could see her chest, pointing out the portrait of her daughter just above her heart. Explaining her tattoos, her life had taken a turn for the better after the birth of her daughter. As for the eagle, it was because she was originally from Russia, and moved to the United States at the age of eleven. Based off her childhood experiences, she learned that the US had freedoms for women that she could not have ever found in her hometown.

The eagle was her tribute to the United States, for giving her a chance at individuality that she had not been able to find before. Her own personal growth as a tattoo artist began shortly after she got her eagle - unbelievably her first tattoo! (Most people get a small tattoo as their first one.) The banner was added at the birth of her daughter - the first child in her family born as a United States citizen. As cool as that tattoo was, it somehow seems even more poignant when I found the story behind the artwork!

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