On Spiders, Shaman-girls and Louise Bourgeois


I just got a tattoo of a spider. There was a tangled web of motivations behind this decision. The hallucination was primary. Methadrine-induced and 30 years in my past, that hallucination or vision – I can never discern the difference – stuck in my head. Hallucinations tend to stick with a person. Especially if they are of very large SUPER creepy spiders that show up while you’re flirting with your college advisor. I am not an actor, but I can guarantee you, carrying on a conversation as though everything is normal while a three-foot arachnid leers at you from over your lust-interest’s shoulder, demands a command performance. I think I handled the situation rather well. My Southern training in manners, which insists that no matter what, you remain genteel, occasionally pays off like that.

My shaman–yes, I see spiders and shamans but no dead people as far as I know–thinks the spider was trying to tell me something. “Sure,” I said. “Run! motherfucker, run like the wind!” We both laugh.

My second inspiration for my tattoo was murder: I killed way too many wolf spiders as a child. Good God Almighty, those things that cruised through my Southern childhood home were about 4 inches wide and COULD JUMP! Second only to the previously mentioned gargantuan hallucinatory beast, hairy pole-vaulting things scare the be Jesus out of me. So crush, crunch and squash I did. I wreaked karmic spider hell on myself. Thus Veronica—the name of my spider tattoo.

I should have probably named my newest skin art Louise since it was the 30-foot high spider iron sculptures of Louise Bourgeois that I used as a prototype for Veronica. I was particularly charmed by her spidey sculpture that is down by the waterfront here in San Francisco. Entitled Crouching Spider, it is the only thing that will get me to venture into the foreign territory of SF’s financial district (that and when my boyfriend begs me to pick him up for any work he may snag down there).

So there you have it. The tale of my tattoo, my shaman and the odd hallucinations I suffer from.