There are as many ways to express our love of food as there are people on this planet. Some of us live in kitchens, some travel in search of new tasty tidbits and some just sit back and critique (ahem). Significantly fewer foodies declare their obsession with that most permanent of expressions: the tattoo. In honor of this paper’s annual photo contest, we present a small roundup of New Mexicans who proudly wear their stomachs on their sleeves. We know this only scratches the surface of what’s out there: If you’ve got a tattoo that looks good enough to eat, post a picture of it as a comment under this article.
Walker Hansen “Pizza Food Pyramid”
Nineteen-year-old Walker’s slice of ink is a monument to the special status pizza holds in his eyes. Or, as he frankly puts it, “God, I fucking love pizza.” His pepperoni-studded creation is the work of Black Rat Tattoo’s James Yocum in Las Cruces, who ironically used vegan ink for the pepperonis. For his effort, the artist was paid two cigarettes and a Kenny Loggins album. (Walker believes it was Keep the Fire.)
Gwyneth Doland "Retail Cuts of Pork"
"Pork is the No. 1 joy of my world," says New Mexico Independent reporter and former Alibi Food Editor Gwyneth Doland. "Not Brazilian bull riders with no shirts on, not the Ramones live at CBGB, not Christmas morning. I love nothing more than sweet, salty, smoky bacon." To show the world from whence her obsession is cleaved, Gwyn had Chris Partain of Star Tattoo draw up an original, yet factually detailed, design. The tattoo sits on Gwyn's lower back—what tattoo artists sometimes call the "ass antlers" or "tramp stamp," but the National Pork Producers Council would call the butt roast. (That's right above the ham, ma'am.) "He's a genius!,” Gwyn gushes. “After it was finished I sent him a spiral-cut Smithfield ham as a thank-you gift."
Glenn Bollschweiller “Chef-a-saurus”
At 27, Glenn has spent half of his life in the food industry—13 years. He enlisted the talent of Evan Rhodes at 505 Tattoo (now Mayan Tattoo) in Las Cruces to commemorate mile marker year No. 10 in the kitchen. Glenn has dabbled in cooking since he was a kid, but his hobby become a passion after the death of two friends in 1998. “Rather than freak out, sniff glue or cut myself, I threw myself into cooking,” he says. Glenn chose his beastly tattoo because it matches the “brutal” nature of working in a kitchen, he explains.
Nicholas Doyle “Mostly Tacos”
When Nicholas’ girlfriend, tattoo artist Marie Sena of All In One Tattoo in Albuquerque, jokingly remarked that his taco obsession had resulted in him being “mostly made up of tacos,” he recruited her to bring the image to life. To date, his relationship with tacos has resulted in two different beef-stuffed tattoos.
Keith Drummond "It's Just My Hot Dog"
"I love hot dogs," Keith says of his forearm tattoo, also by Chris Partain at Star. "I think they're the perfect food. Hot dogs just look beautiful, I love the way they taste ... and I've also been told I sleep like a hot dog." Keith says he would have preferred a Chicago-style dog over the mustard-and-relish wiener he sports, but loading up his arm with all those lines and shaded areas would have made the piece too complicated. In real life, Keith goes for straight mustard and onions. "Visually, you have to go for different things than you would taste-wise."
Jeremy Foote "Eat to Live, Live to Eat"
Jeremy says this "tongue-in-cheek" tattoo—it makes a mockery of the Harley riders' slogan—has been a long time coming. He spent years watching as his wife and friends got inked without going under the needle himself. When his wife gave him a gift certificate to Star, Jeremy hunted down photos of this silverware set from a somewhat obscure Danish-Modern designer from the mid-’60s. "That's my anchor piece," he says of his first tattoo, located on the meaty part of his arm. Jeremy plans to get a full sleeve loaded down with food imagery.
Natasha Porras "Sweets Sleeve"
Natasha's half-sleeve tattoo took a teeth-grinding five sessions to complete, but she says the payoff's been worth it. "Everybody says 'You're making me hungry!' " she laughs. Chris Partain's design is so intricate, as Natasha runs down the list of treats that are embedded in her tat—gumball machine, candy hearts, creamsicle, mint-chocolate-chip ice cream cone (one of her 31 favorite flavors), cupcake, starlight mints and wrapped hard candies—she forgets one. Gumdrops. "Since I was a little girl I've always loved sweets, even pictures of them." The apple doesn't fall far from the tree, because her daughter, Alyssa, loves the piece, too. "She wants to be a tattoo artist and she wants tattoos, but she's only 11, so she has to wait."