Ever since doing six months of chemotherapy in 2007, I’d had this idea floating in my head to get some sort of a “crab” tattoo, for multiple reasons: 1) I am a Cancer, astrologically speaking; 2) perhaps more obviously, I had cancer; and 3) well…I thought that it would be somewhat apropos since I live in Baltimore.
The big hang-up: I couldn’t find any crab images that 1) I liked enough to commit to flesh/weren’t ridiculously cheesy, or 2) would have been workable as a tattoo. Eventually, however, I did, on the cover of the first edition of Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer, first published in the early ’30s by Paris-based Obelisk Press. The publisher’s teenage son, Maurice Girodias, provided the cover illustration:
Later in life, Girodias took over his father’s business, and with the newly-dubbed Olympia Press, went on to publish some of the great literary “smut” of the 1950s and ’60s (including the likes of Miller, Terry Southern, J.P. Donleavy, William S. Burroughs, etc.).
The tattoo was rendered by Josh Griffin at the Baltimore Tattoo Museum.