In The Believer’s Daughter, Grace Mathison’s love interest is an unlikely tattoo artist who works in Manhattan’s East Village at a funky store called the Blue Phoenix. The store isn’t really based on any one tattoo parlor in particular, but rather on a whole bunch of them that I remember being around the cool neighborhood (you may have heard of the East Village if you’re a fan of Rent) a few years ago when I resided there (during my pre-Brooklyn period). Owned by a friendly giant named Andy, the Blue Phoenix has a regular clientele of locals as well as the occasional celebrity drop-in. The East Village has been a neighborhood where celebs have gotten tattoos, body piercings, and generally have had no problem finding trouble to get into for decades. Lea Michelle recently got 2 new tattoos at White Rabbit on East 10th Street not too long ago. Rihanna picked up an inking gun at East Side Ink last year and got in a little trouble for practicing her tattooing skills without a license. In the book, famous pop star Tawny drops by the Blue Phoenix on New Year’s Eve to pick out a tattoo, and rules out getting something that would copycat Bjork’s famous Vegvisir (shown below).
If you’ve read the book, you know that Grace (as Gigi) makes a name for herself in the downtown tattoo scene with her unique drawing style, known in the art world as continuous line drawing, or continuous contour. You can learn more about the awesome ways to create cool images all with one, long line on the Dark Roasted Blend blog.
One of most brilliant illustrators around, Pam Sable, is a master of this technique.