I’m still alive: a Rose Tattoo story

Au Revoir unadorned arm

Sir C and I flew all the way up to Auckland for ever-so-slightly under 48 hours in order for me to go to Sacred to get a new tattoo.
It was all because of the internet. I put the call out for recommendations for colour tattoo artists in the Wellington area and the internet came back with one recommendation. I asked about Auckland? New Zealand? Anywhere? and I received many many more.
The only person who received more than one was Dan at Sacred Tattoo.

My best "I'm not nervous at all" face (FAIL)
My best “I’m not nervous at all” face (HA)

I took in the idea of a traditional rose tattoo, sans stem & avec curlicues, in shades of pink (FUCHSIA!), the size 8cm squared to 10cm squared, and these photos:

Thursday: Photos as tattoo colour inspiration

The lovely Dan talked about what I was looking for and drew 3-4 different traditional style roses (after each one I proclaimed “I love it!” and then amazingly the next one was even better) and talked me into … bit larger than I was originally thinking.

Stencil + Trepidation

But oh, he was right.

And then there’s a gap … Craig had to hold my hand while the outline was tattooed.

The shading is less painful
The shading was much less painful.

Maybe a teeny bit of blood
I love the reflection in my glasses.

I think he's adding the gold to the leaves here
I think Dan is adding the gold to the leaves here. But there’s a little bit of blood in the way, I’m basing it on the ink on the paper towel.

Tattoo with Brunch Sleeves
The next day I covered it for brunch (a fresh tattoo is not brunch appropriate) but couldn’t help peeking at it.

I love how it peeks out of my t-shirt sleeve
And! I lovelovelove how it peeks out of the sleeve of a regular t-shirt.

My Rose Tattoo - All bruised!
And on Sunday? the yellow bruising came in.

But I love it. So much.
The painterly black shading and the three (four?) different shades of pink. Dan says the colours will really come into their own more as it heals. The curlicues and veins in the leaves are actually dark-grey to the outline’s true-black, the three (four) different shades of pink, the different shades of green etc etc.

This tattoo definitely makes my others look like babies. I cannot believe how worried I was about the cupcake! But, as Dan says, a little trepidation is healthy. Otherwise you can be caught unawares by the pain.

I was caught a little … by the post tattooing pain. I thought it would be like my others, a little itchy and after three days it would still feel a little raised but otherwise just like skin again.
This time it feels more like sunburn. It aches, every so slightly, just enough so I forget and over extend my arm and then the pain, the tight-skin sunburn kind of pain.
But of course, I’m not complaining. Because it’s my own damn fault.

And totally worth it. Adoration abounds.

By the way? Dan and Sacred Tattoo were amazing.
I felt like Dan helped me design my own tattoo based on quite broad general ideas, and their hygiene and safety procedures were unlike anything I’ve experienced before. I had to fill out a form with any allergies or medications, that I understood tattoos were permanent (Yes! Seriously!) and that I had agreed upon the design with the artist, Dan even showed me the sealed packaging of the one use needles (At my earlier tattoo appointments I’d seen them open the needles and seen the empty packages but still).
And after all that? it worked out to be cheaper than I had been quoted.
The internet is amazing.


Craig and I were sitting in Starbucks post-tattoo and I was bouncing up and down in my seat, peeking at the glad-wrap covered tattoo and Craig smiled and shook his head:
Me: What? I just love it!
Craig: We’re going to have to come all the way to Auckland for any other tattoos you want aren’t we?
Me: Yip! Well … maybe.
But if they are colour? then Yes. Definitely yes. Dan was worth the flight.



  1. Amber · August 31, 2009

    Congratulations. So beautiful! Florals are in for summer, we win 🙂

  2. rainbowstripe · August 31, 2009

    Wow, that is amazing work and design. So pretty!

  3. Ms Constantine · August 31, 2009

    Bad. Ass.Great to know where to go when I finally decide on what kind of tattoo I want. Even if it is all the way up there.

  4. Kat · August 31, 2009

    I 2nd Ms Constantine. Bad ass. Totally. I feel so bare now and wanting to get something done! xx

  5. LoserSaysTim · September 1, 2009

    Party at Dan's studio! Do you think he'd riff ideas with me on what I want? The problem with my idea is that it's a bit unorthodox, I can only picture it out of the corner of my eye, and I can't draw for bollocks.

  6. Katie · September 1, 2009

    Ooo I just stumbled across your blog and see your from Wellington NZ, LIKE ME :DI love your new tattoo by the way. Beautiful! x

  7. Sarah-Rose · September 1, 2009

    Amber- We are so totally on trend, I die!Rainbowstripe – thank you! Dan did an amazing job.Ms Constantine- thank you! definitely look up any of the guys from Sacred – they're worth the trip.Kat- I am a total bad ass, you know it ;)Tim- Haha! send them an email, I sent one with a basic idea & some reference photos and it was enough that we didn't need a consultation. But if it's totally out of left field or too large or too hard to describe you might need a consultation. It's $50 at Sacred but the calibre of the work is worth it.Katie- Hee! even on the Internet the world is a small small place. Thank you!

  8. Charlie · September 2, 2009

    Wow – it's gorgeous, the colours are amazing. Job well done by Mr Dan. I love the curly whirly bits.

  9. Silje Røe Hagland · February 17, 2010

    Looks really beautiful, I love rose tattoos, they are so timeless <3xo.silje

  10. Tattoo · August 6, 2010

    Rose tattoo is the balance between softness and boldness as when any kind of nihilist desire is born to step aside. The dark beauty lies within this momentary black rose tattoo to set a pure trust to feel the new look towards life.

  11. Kerry · January 11, 2011

    Hey Sarah-Rose, my flatmate just showed me your blog, you've got some awesome tattoos and photography going on!I have to agree about how fantastic Sacred are, I got a swallow done on my ribcage by Erin Chance in August and she was brilliant. Am now waiting for Rose Hardy to book in a visit so I can get on to my next one!

  12. Sarah-Rose · January 27, 2011

    Thanks Kerry – I love Erin too, she's done my most recent tattoo (I'm on session 2 of 3).

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