One of my favorite things about Mary Taylor's legs :) is that her left leg was posted on the GeeksterInk Facebook page back in March of 2013, literally one of our very first posts. At that time I had no idea who's leg it was. I only knew that the tattoo was done by London-based artist, Jeff Ortega of Evil From the Needle. It also confirmed what I had suspected; that there are lots of hardcore geeky fans out there with amazing tattoos to share.
Here's the original image as it was posted in March of 2013.
A couple of days ago, Mary sent me an image via Facebook of her newly tattooed right leg. Also done by Jeff Ortega and also featuring images from The Simpsons.
I thought it would be fun to ask Mary about her legs as well as her fascination with The Simpsons.
GI: Mary, tell us how this amazing art project got started?
MT: I came to Jeff in 2011 wanting a design based around the Halloween themed episodes of The Simpsons, starting with a small area and building it into a whole leg. I gave Jeff an image of the Evil Krusty Doll to work from which he tattooed on my foot a few weeks later. I also gave him images of other things I would like. We considered the placing of the larger items first as they were the most important to get correct. First proper session was just outlining - getting everything laid down. For first 1yr+ we just spent time colouring in these big items. Once those were done we considering smaller items to fill in between them and what we would do for the background.
GI: Our fans should know that getting the most out of an endevor such as yours requires a commitment from the collector and the artist.
MT: Exactly. I brought Jeff screenshots from episodes, some drawings I'd done and images from various comic books. Jeff picked out the items he thought would work best on a leg and together as one image. There were a couple of things I wanted that Jeff was right to veto such as a Simpsons God to go opposite Devil Flanders.
In terms of deciding what we tattooed, I suggested things I would want and Jeff had the final say over what would work.
NOTE TO OUR FANS: This really underscores one of the points we try and make. Better to find an artist who enjoys collaborating on this subject matter, than randomly walking into an tattoo shop.
GI: How about the right leg?
MT: For my right leg, the one just finished, it was a similar process. I took Jeff some sketches showing a rough overall design and the positioning of key characters as well as some print outs of screenshots of the characters. I had a few things I definitely wanted - Cecil on the back of my calf to pair with Sideshow Bob, a graveyard theme with a haunted tree and Kodos and Kang on my thigh - as well as some others that if Jeff could work them in, that would be great - The Republican Party Headquarters (it's ironic), Crazy Cat Lady, Baby Gerald - but if he couldnt it would be the end of the world as we had the vital things.
We worked the same process. Outlining the key components, then colouring them in, then tying in a background to bring it all together.
Jeff worked hard to make sure the design worked well all together. Sometimes vetoing what i wanted as in hindsight it really wouldn't have worked, sometimes changing the size, position or colour of an item so the overall theme works. Although Jeff was in charge of the design he checked with me about everything to ensure I was happy.
GI: So... Are you happy?
MT: I am, I am ecstatic. Despite the hours and hours of pain.
GI: Oh yes, the pain. What hurt the most?
MT: Worst bit? Back of my knees, the very top of my inside thigh, my ankles and my feet. The way to describe my ankles was like someone trying to burn my flesh with an iron but me not being able to move away from the pain.
GI: Ouch! Mary tell my why you've made this serious and lifelong commitment to The Simpsons.
MT: I just find it the most insightful, funny and apt show. Its so on point, its laughs are so loud and its sadness so poignant. Its the perfect pastiche of American suburban life. You care about every character, from the primary to the one that appears in one episode a season. You can see your own family members in the show, laugh at their glee and feel their losses. Its so diverse and deep. It's just a perfect show.
I used to have a toy collection of about 4,000 Simpsons items but due to lack of space I've had to sell it down, and when I was beginning to decide on what I might want tattooed, it just felt like a great idea.
GI: last question, how long did it take and how many hours in the chair?
MT: 160 total hours over the course of the past five years.
GI: Well, the work is amazing and we totally appreciate and honor your commitment. Thanks so much for sharing with us.
Here are a few more shots of Mary Taylor's legs.