Sovereignty is merely a matter of the eloquence of your declaration…

S/V Sovereign Nation in 2000

…In December of 1999 only moments after Dena and I put the lettering on the transom of our ship S/V Sovereign Nation I said to her, If I was ever going to get a tattoo with any kind of spelled out message in it, it would be this, and I pointed at the most beautiful transom I’d ever seen on a sailboat, the one we had just completed (above)…

The Idea takes shape in 2003, at the Gravity Feed...

…Then, in 2003 Dena and I actually got serious about the idea and printed out the design, tapped it up on my back, shot some pics, posted a web page for Gypsy Jill, Dena’s friend and Tattoo Artist, to see and make her drawings from.  After putting the lettering on my back I fantasized about what kinds of things I could add to the lettering to enhance the story value. I thought of adding chain down my arms that ultimately attached to a pair of anchors that would be buried in both of my arms. Later that year, for reasons I don’t really need to go into, I wasn’t able to get the design applied to my skin so the whole project was put on the furthest back burner and all but forgotten.

…Well, yesterday after nearly 12 years since the original lettering was put on that transom and 8 since I back-burner-ed the entire project , I finally did something about getting some kind of permanent  artwork on my body that would somehow represent the story that IS my life, I got that tattoo.

I was in that chair for five hours…

…And the artist, Mick Beasley of Dragon Moon Tattoo, Dena and I talked all day about what it was that I was doing, not only to my body but to the very story of my life.


…We talked about the beauty of life and art and how as living artists it is our responsibility to live our dreams and tell our stories any way we can.

…Overall my procedure was incredible! Mick was the quintessential professional and our explorations into the varied philosophies of the mortification of our flesh was one of the most amazing bonding experiences that I have ever shared with Dena, who was there pretty much all day, and another person!

We got all the initial lettering done in the main body of the words…

…And now, the chains will wrap their way down my arms to terminate on two anchors that will be buried in my forearms.

…So now here I am, another tattooed human with a story tell and a whole hell-of-a-lot of skin to do it it on,

Bring It!

All Photos above are by Dena Hankins.


P.S. Thanks Mick, you’re incredible!




  1. Sexy man! I love the statement – sovereignty is absolutely about the declaration. Making the statement with visual beauty and emotional eloquence is a solid, durable, and undeniable success.

    It looks great, and it’s only going to get better!

  2. You know Zen, it didn’t hurt at all, as a matter fact, pain only came up once in all of our conversations that day and that was to scoff at it. Being tattooed is so much more about all the other reasons to get the work done that the (nonexistent) pain doesn’t even factor in.
    …Thanks Tom.

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