During a recent conversation with Keith Urban, the subject of tattoos came up. My wife, Kelly admired his tribal knot work that wrapped around his arm and several tattoos.
He checked out the artwork on her feet where she has a trinity knot, a symbol of St. Mark, a veterinary symbol, then Keith stopped and said “And whatever that is?” “That is a cat.” she said referring to the cat outline on her ankle that was redone a few times when the original looked like an opossum or a hamster. Keith Urban has many tattoos. In his most recent Number 1 song “Wild Hearts” he sings “Eagle on my back, phoenix on my arm”.
He recalled his first night in America. Arriving from Australia to Los Angeles, wide awake from jet lag and excitement, He wandered around the Sunset Strip as the clock struck 12:01am on his birthday. He thought he’d get a birthday present for himself when he happened upon a tattoo shop. Being young and in America, he chose a bald eagle. Being healthy, having his freedom, and starting a new life and career. He thought it the perfect birthday gift for himself.
Kelly pointed to the tattoo I have on my arm and asked me to tell Keith the history behind it. I first saw it through a small gap in a jail cell door at Kilmainham Jail in Dublin. It was a ray of hope in a gloomy prison where men died for their beliefs or languished in a lonely cell. “Madonna and Child” painted on the cell wall by Grace Gifford Plunkett. Grace married Joseph Plunkett at Kilmainham Gaol (jail) hours before he was executed by the British for his role in the Easter Rising in 1916.She herself was arrested in 1923 and spent time in Kilmainham where she made her painting. The colors struck me amid the gray walls. I took a photo and thought about the story of Grace and Joseph.
My Grandfather, William Fullam, witnessed the Easter Rising as a boy in Dublin. I feel a connection through my family history and had the tattoo inked just a few years ago. Keith took a photo of it on his cell and texted it to his wife Nicole Kidman. Her Grandparents were from Ireland.
Tattoos are a work of art and an extension of your personality. Your skin: a palette to express yourself should you choose a tattoo.