Surprise Birthday Tattoo

3:45 PM Anis Widayanti 0 Comments

The week before Martin Luther King’s day, it was only appropriate and fitting that we interview the son of an avid history buff who had a surprise tribute tattoo done in honor of his dad, who turns 60 this week and is a pretty big Abraham Lincoln fan.

Casey Rodella sat down with us last Friday in the lunch room at Patagonia where he works to tell us why he decided to get an exact replica of the top hat Abe Lincoln used to wear, based off the original at the Smithsonian. 

Abe Lincoln’s top hat is an iconic piece of Lincoln’s wardrobe and signifies a very interesting time in American history.
"My dad took me when I was in the 6th grade to retrace the steps of Abe Lincoln in Washington D.C," Rodella said. "He loves Lincoln and I wanted to honor him on his birthday." 

Not only does this tattoo commemorate the experiences he had traveling with his dad, but the piece is a tribute to his dad's overall love for the 16th president of the United States.

Even today, Rodella's dad  continues to be intrigued with Lincoln's life and death from childhood, presidency and assassination.  

“He has a large collection of books about him and has always been a pretty big Civil War buff," Rodella said. “My dad flies back every February for meetings and he follows the layout of what D.C. was like back then, retracing Lincoln’s steps.”

As a businessman, Bruce Rodella gives public talks on Lincoln and plans to read that large collection of books in retirement.  

All of Rodella's work has been done by Jonnie Evil, who currently crafts his art out of Lasting Dose Tattoo, formerly Nightmare Tattoo. This tribute piece to Rodellas dad took two hours. Rodella will go back for filler, to finish out the top hat, which will probably take another hour and his next piece will create a background for the top hat. He's also considering a continuation on that arm into a sleeve dedicated to American traditional pieces. 

Rodella's first tattoo at 21 years old was a tree that his older brother sketched. Since his initial tree tattoo, Rodella has had a total of six other tattoos done, including an upper half sleeve that reveals all the places he has lived in his life, including Las Vegas, Reno and Santa Cruz. Casey's personal love for Nevada can be seen in this tribute tattoo done when he was 23 years-old that includes the Las Vegas sign, Reno's skyline and Steamers Lane, a popular surfing spot near the Santa Cruz Mountains. 

Rodella definitely plans to get more tattoos in the future, although he could do without the pain. 

"I'm not a fan of getting them. It's a painful experience," Rodella said. "but having them, yes!"

When asked if he felt like he was part of a tattoo community by being inked, he said he saw tattoos as something he wanted to do. 

"I don't want to be placed in a certain forum just because I have tattoos," Rodella said, " I would be the same person with or without tattoos. If I get negative feedback, I don't really mind. It's not for them, it's for me. " 

 Rodella, along with many others, think that tattooing has changed over the years.

"I definitely think it's getting more technical with the pieces I've seen," Rodella said, " I follow a bunch of tattoo artists. The traditional pieces are awesome but the more realistic pieces are amazing. I've even seen some full back pieces where people have two full back pieces that come together into one piece." 

Although Rodella wouldn't consider himself addicted to anything, he definitely enjoys getting tattooed and is always thinking about another addition or piece that he can add to his growing collection.

And with that we would just like to say, Happy Birthday Bruce!

No dot dot el and Jen <3