East Coast Colour: ‘Mari Lora Aprile’ by Jonas Barausse

Aweh julle!

So, here it is. Our first post for the newly brand spanked segment called Durban Ink: East Coast Colour’. The days of tattoos being taboo and controversial are long gone. The often flaunted notion of future regret has also died since it’s argument was based on convincing some one how stupid they would feel when they were old and wrinkly and their chops had the texture of cottage pie and the faded colours to match, while your pensioner peers were clean. Ok so, I’m pretty sure that is not an issue anymore because I know for a fact that if I live long enough to see the inside of a retirement village, most of my friends will have cottage pie tattoos with me. In fact, or een fect, someone with out a tattoo will definitely be in his own club. Maybe he could call his club, ‘Club Minority’.

Shepherd's Pie
Hmmm, yummy! Apparently, not so much as skin though…

To the point, they’re here and we want to start celebrating the creative and meaningful pieces that people have chosen to ink on themselves as memorials to the ones they love, symbols of their faith, the moral of hard lessons learned, or illustrated shrines to moments in their life which were so tremendous or paradigm-shifting that they choose to honour it as long as they are living by inking it into their very identity.

East Coast Colour will lay out the story behind some of Durban’s well-known and dearly loved citizens favourite pieces. This is probably the part of zero31.co.za that I feel most emotionally attached to and if you have followed this blog for any period of time, you’re probably not surprised that I chose my good friend Jonas Barausse from The La Els to kick this bad guy off the ground.

Thanks to i art ink (previously Mayhem Inc.) we can help you be a part of this culture too. We’re giving away a R500 tattoo voucher to kick this series off. All you have to do, is go to the Zero31 Facebook page and check out the instructions under ‘Competitions’.

So, now you know the East Coast Colour deal. Here’s Jonas’ story, let’s get started…

Whats in a name?
Well, for me, a lot. Especially the one on my arm.

It reads ‘Mari Lora Aprile’.

She’s my grandmother. My nonna. And a big part of my heart.

She’s the type of gran everyone loves, her family is the most important thing to her, her grandchildren untouchable and flawless. Her cooking the type that warms the soul and stomach, and each time the six grandkids arrive for one of her epic lunches and we each know there will be a dish for each one of us, made in a quantity all can share. She’s a survivor, a protector, an explorer and my rock. Whenever we sit together for one of those mad lunches she always says “one day when I’m not here, promise me you kids will still do this, still get together. Always keep your family close”.
I love that about her.

Her and I have always had a special bond and already some years past I had decided that when she died one day, I would get her name tattooed on me to always keep her close. A visual reminder for a memory of a person I would love forever.

But then, on one of those days that life seems to throw you back to back curve-balls, I realised something. Life’s too fucking short. All the more so when it comes to showing someone how much they mean to you. So I made a call. Literally, I picked up the phone and dialed up Dusty from i art ink. I told him the deal and seemingly within seconds he came back with what’s now on my arm. Nicole, who owns the studio, did the actual tattoo and I was instantly the most stoked grandma’s boy you ever did see. I loved it. It was perfect. The lines and curves, the touches of blue. All of it.

I’d never broached the subject with my gran, but hoped she’d see it in a good way. Even if that would only come in time. Two hours after leaving the studio I was knocking on her front door, tentative about how she was going to take it but still brimming with stoke (it’s also my first tat, can’t blame a kid for beaming a bit).  She opened the door and greeted me with the traditional kiss on each cheek and warm smile. Her gaze dropped almost immediately to my right arm, her eyes widened, her mouth opened a bit, but no words came out. She grabbed my arm with both hands wrapped tight around my fresh ink. And she smiled! She smiled so hard all I could do was smile back. The fact that her kung-fu grip on my tat was burning like a Chinese bangle over a chronic sunburn didn’t matter. All that mattered was that my nonna got it. She wasn’t disappointed or taken aback. She saw it for what it was. And she was stoked!

I guess tattoos are a lot of things to a lot of people. Mine will always remind me of my nonna’s smile that day and, in turn, of her. I couldn’t be a more chuffed Jo if I tried. First tat win! Already itching for number 2, 3 and 4.

Ja, you want that voucher now, don’t you! Head over to the Facebook page for details. Durban, you are loved.

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