Tattoos offer people the chance to mark their bodies with symbols representing what is important to them, such as passions, places and people–including, often, people who have passed away. Whether you share your loved one’s enthusiasm for Harley-Davidsons or if you just want to remember your loved one with a tribute to something she loved, a Harley-Davidson influence suggests an array of one-of-a-kind memorial tattoos. Does this Spark an idea?
Portrait with Bandana
Commission a skilled tattoo artist to give you a portrait tattoo of your loved one wearing a Harley-Davidson bandana. Such a tattoo is particularly appropriate if your loved one was fond of wearing Harley-Davidson-branded apparel. Portrait tattoos are perhaps the most intimate memorial tattoos because you are carrying your loved one’s image around with you, which may help with the grieving process. An article called “Tattoos Create Lasting Memory” on the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology website quoted a student who studied memorial tattoos as saying, “There’s nothing tangible about grief. This is a way they felt they could still hold a piece of that person.”
Handlebars and Destination
Design a memorial tattoo featuring your loved one’s motorcycle and favorite road trip destination. The tattoo should be roughly rectangular, like a photograph. (In fact, a Polaroid-like border would give the tattoo a wistful vibe, perfect for a memorial tattoo.) Sketch the view from a motorcycle as it heads toward your loved one’s favorite road trip destination. In the foreground, place the front of the motorcycle, with a pair of hands gripping the handlebars and the Harley-Davidson logo prominently displayed somewhere. Draw the open road stretching out toward the destination. If your loved one felt a deep connection to Devils Tower, put its distinctive column-striped shape on the horizon.
A black-and-sepia tattoo would also feel “vintage.”
Ask a tattoo artist with considerable experience in realistic black-and-white tattoos to ink you with a Harley-Davidson from the year of your loved one’s birth. If possible, base the tattoo on a vintage advertisement. As a Library of Congress image gallery for an online exhibit called “Hog Heaven” shows, vintage Harley-Davidson motorcycle ads often included monochrome illustrations depicting riderless motorcycles. Below the image, have the artist ink your loved one’s name, followed by the year of his birth, a hyphen and the year of his passing. The intricacy of this design makes it best-suited for placement across your back, chest or bicep.