‘This is my latest & favourite tattoo. My partner and I visited a Buddhist Temple last year and took a course in meditation. I listened to one of the nuns talking about the Green Tara goddess and just fell in love with her story. I knew I wanted to have a tattoo of her, but wanted to make sure that I got something to do her justice as I have seen a lot of tattoos of her that are not great. Two amazingly lucky things happened 1) I discovered the artist Zeng Hao’s painting of her and 2) Szabolcs Oravecz – amazing tattoo artist from Hungary was visiting Aberdeen. The end result was absolutely astounding. Everyone who sees it is in awe of the detail and brilliant technique.’
Which studio was the tattoo done in and would you recommend it?
Rosemount Tattoo in Aberdeen – I would definitely recommend them. I have been going there for a while now and have always been really happy with the service and the artists.
Can you tell me the story of the Goddess or if it’s easier- a brief summary?
The story of Tara’s origin, is that aeons ago she was born as a king’s daughter. A spiritual and compassionate princess, she regularly gave offerings and prayers to the ordained monks and nuns. She thus developed great merit, and the monks told her that, because of her spiritual attainments, they would pray that she be reborn as a man and spread Buddhist teachings. She responded that there was no male and no female, that nothing existed in reality. Although she got to the stage where she could opt not to reincarnate again – the story goes that she heard a human cry from earth and was reborn again so that she could help. She stated that she would be reborn in female form every lifetime to serve other beings until everyone reached enlightenment. She is the only goddess shown with a foot extended forward signifying her readiness to leap to the aid of others.
Why did the story resonate so strongly with you that you felt inclined to get a tattoo?
I already have several tattoos. Some have meaning and some are just beautiful or fun. I wanted a tattoo on my arm for a while but as this would be visible I wanted it to be very beautiful and very special. I was inspired by the Green Tara story and then I found the art of Zeng Hao. It all just fell into place like it was meant to be!
Tattoos are getting more and more popular; do you feel that the decision to be tattooed is taken far too lightly?
I got my first tattoo when I was forty. I am glad I didn’t do it when I was younger because I might have done it just to be rebellious. My son is 18 and thinking of getting his first tattoo. He is doing some serious research and putting a lot of thought into it. I don’t think you can generalise. Different people approach it differently – regardless of age or other factors. We forget that our ancestors were tattooed thousands of years ago. Winston Churchill’s mother had a tattoo on her wrist and most of the nobility and aristocracy were tattooed up until very recently.
Have you received any negative reactions to this tattoo?
My friends and family have always had mixed reactions to my tattoos – but this one is universally admired. It is so beautiful and artistic.
It’s absolutely stunning, thank you so much for getting in touch. What advice would you give to people thinking of getting their first tattoo?
Apart from the usual considerations regarding its permanence, visibility and subject matter, I think it is really important to research your artists. They all have different strengths. Szabolcs Oravecz is an amazing artist and is brilliant with colour and realism.
Thank you very much to Lili Hunter for this interview. If you or anybody you know are happy to be interviewed about your tattoo, just send along a photo of your tattoo with a small amount of info on it (where you got it etc) and I’ll get back to you asap. Thanks!