Taylor Small Loves to travel. She also loves tattoos. The 20-something, currently living in Kitchener, has combined those loves by collecting body art while travelling the globe. Her latest is a piece inspired by the music of Mitski, done by Helen McDonnell at Skullduggery Tatu in Belfast, Northern Ireland last May.
Growing up is complicated. Humans are accosted by feelings all day long that we’re forced to push to the side until there’s a convenient and private moment to feel fully without burdening those around us. Taylor’s tattoo, three pine trees with a blazing forest fire illuminating them and the words “Tall Child” are a representation of the desire to feel how you feel when you feel it.
The words and image are from the song First Love, Late Spring, by the musician Mitski. “And I was so young when I behaved twenty five / Yet now I find I've grown into a tall child” is the lyric Taylor is especially drawn to. She describes her childhood of often acting and wanting to be older than she was. But now, in the first decade of adulthood, she’s less focused on acting grown up and more on embracing her emotions. ‘I carry a lot of embarrassment about my feelings and my ability to feel them, so it’s just kind of like encouraging myself to lean into that more,” she says.
She’s collecting tattoos like souvenirs. While planning her Northern Ireland trip, she reached out to artists in areas she’d be to find the right fit, and budgeted the time and cost into her plans. The tattoo is on her calf and done in the neo-traditional style. “It was like actively watching someone paint on a canvas, but the canvas was my leg,” Taylor said of the experience.
Books for Tats
Taylor recommended this book in her interview. "Too Much and Not the Mood" is a beautiful and surprising exploration of what it means to be a first-generation, creative young woman working today.