Tattoo Stories: Brian and the Monkey

by Ruby Martin

With about one in five people having a tattoo these days, we at trashfire wanted to know what inspired people to get inked. Did all tattoos have deeper meaning or just looked sick? In this new series, we interviewed people from all over to find out.

This week, we spoke to Brian, 48, who lives and works in Boston as a staff member at a music school and is the proud owner of this fellow:

monkey tattoo


When did you get this tattoo?

  1. I got this tattoo about 5 years ago, from Brilliance Tattoo here in Boston.


Is this your first tattoo?

  1. It’s my first and so far my only.


Why this design?

  1. I knew that I wanted something that would give me a little boost of inspiration whenever I saw it, but I wobbled back and forth between ideas for years before finally discovering this. It’s from one of my favorite pieces of art, done by a Japanese painter from the 19th century named Mori Sosen, and it’s got all these layers to it. It’s a monkey doing the Sanbaso dance, this very important dance of new beginnings and luck that’s done before weddings and theatrical shows. So the dance itself is a good tattoo for an actor or someone wanting to reboot their life…and then it’s a monkey doing it, with a look in his eyes like “I have NO CLUE what I’m doing” but still trying his best, and if that’s not a perfect metaphor for what I feel every time I’m writing or acting in something, I don’t know what is.


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