Jessica Love

HERE ARE SOME KEY POINTS IN JESSICA LOVE’S LIFE: on mother number three by age 10, daddy issues, Christian cult, started smoking cigarettes at 8, boarding school, mental institution, heroin, jail, David LaChapelle photo shoot, work as a dominatrix. To do her story justice would take a book—and in fact, Jessica has completed the first draft of her memoir. Following are some excerpts touching on her tattoos:

My arm was something I drew after my sister died. It was dark. I was on crystal meth. It was one of those drawings that drew itself. Even though it was dark, it was my tribute to her. I find beauty in darkness. I wasn’t good at keeping mementos or photos because it was too depressing. My tattoo, however—I would wear it everywhere and stop running from her memory. I got it on my right arm—the arm I held my heart with when I ached for her.

I got my leg tattooed with a poem I wrote about time and a drawing I drew with all kinds of body parts morphed into each other. I chose these particular drawings so I could watch the body parts wrinkle in time with my own. The question I get asked most is, “What about when your skin gets old and wrinkly?” Well, then I’ll have old, wrinkly, tattooed skin rather then old, wrinkly, not tattooed skin. I prefer the former, just like I prefer tattooed young skin to non-tattooed young skin. A tattoo isn’t going to make the aging process any worse and will in fact mask veins and marks of aging.

I tattooed my face. It was something I knew I would do at some point, but I hadn’t put a whole lot of thought into it. I always knew I would probably tattoo something around my eyes that would frame them, but it always seemed so far off that I never put much thought into what the design would be. One day I looked in the mirror for about five minutes, visualizing what I would get, and it hit me.

I got my half sleeve, chest, and back in the matter of a couple months. I drew them when I was serving time. The chest tattoos are the tree branch arms that stem from the woman on my back who has babies on vine umbilical cords swimming out of the top of her head. She also has little vines coming out of her mouth and eyes that wrap around her throat. Her arms reach around my hips and up my chest. Ants crawl out of her scratches on my shoulders that create wings. I hate putting my art to words because art is a way to create what can’t be put to words. It’s a thought we feel but can’t quite explain but just flows, and when it’s birthed it’s very satisfying because we no longer feel the need to explain. Others with the same thought get it and those who don’t, won’t, no matter how hard we try to explain.


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