I present to you… The Hibiscus Death

Those who know me, will know that at 18 I had a ladybug tattooed on my stomach. It was a symbol of a very important part of my life that I never want to forget but unfortunately the actual tattoo was a bit of a hatchet job. Not only was it uneven, patchy and the line work was appalling but it healed badly due to poor care instructions from the tattoo “artist” who did it.

As I have gotten more tattoos, I have become more and more reluctant to show people the ladybug because it looks so awful by comparison. A while ago when I got my Lapse tattoo on my leg, I asked Maio, the artist who did both my script tattoos about repairing it and he merely sneered at me and said, “I cover!”

I have had a concept in mind for ages but there was one element missing that I had not had the light bulb moment that accompanies all my tattoos about. This morning the light came on and set my whole mind on fire and so to Self Sacrifice I went.

Sadly, my beloved Maio has gone back to Brazil for three months. After pouting for a few minutes, I was offered the services of Cèsar Ciffer, who is an award-winning tattoo designer and artist who also works at Self Sacrifice. I had a look at his portfolio and on seeing that not only was his work breathtaking but also exactly the style I wanted, I handed over my concept and left him to design while I ansted away an afternoon at work.

If I tell you that Lapse was somewhat of a walk through a sunny park on a summer’s morning, you might get an idea of how intense getting (what I am calling) The Hibiscus Death done was. I sat for four hours while Cèsar painstakingly drew out and then coloured in his masterpiece. We stopped three times for both of us to take smoke breaks and for me to regain my composure and without the grace of Cèsar’s magical skin-numbing cream I can’t say I’d have made it… and let me just tell you it doesn’t numb your skin completely and it wears off after 20 or so minutes. Anyone who has ever had shading or colouring done will know the searing, flesh burning agony it is.

The result is this… and I apologise for my poor photography but I challenge you to photograph your own stomach. More pics here

The meaning is such… the skull represents death and the hibiscus life and the way the hibiscus is wrapped around the skull is a representation of how life and death exist with and because of each other and are inseparable. The second representation is of the composition of my soul of both darkness and beauty both of which I embrace wholeheartedly as the hibiscus embraces the skull.

I am so in love with it that I wish to walk around nude for the next couple of years. Cèsar was so in love with it that he took about 200 photos of it for his portfolio.

Cèsar you will forever be part of me. I thank you for your patience, your creativity and four hours of your soul.

Let the itching commence…


  1. So has it covered the lady bird?

  2. Abbi

    Yup… but it’s still there… under this piece. If you look in the middle of the big red flower you can see the outline of it.

  3. FlutterGirl

    That is fuckin awesome!!

  4. Jen

    Duuuude. I can’t get over how absolutely amazing it is. It’s finny though, when I saw you got a tatt I was all *pout* ‘but why didn’t Maio do it?’ Haha I am a fool. It’s gorgeous tho, Cesar did a great job.

  5. OMFG. This is beautiful. I sympathise with your upcoming inconvenience – having your side clingfilmed is not one of life’s highlights. Worth it, though! xxx

  6. My friends and I were looking through tattoo mags the other day and I was saying how I didn’t like any of them. But this! This is a different story! It’s awesome.

  7. Abbi

    @Jen I wanted Maio to do it but Cesar is AMAZING. I completely fell in love with him. He’s an artist and I’d reccomend him to anyone.

    @Sanna The clingfilm is driving me loopy already. It keeps coming adrift! Grr!

    @Stono I suppose it’s because he drew it as a one of to my spec based on the shape of my body and so it fits perfectly. Good tattooists are artist before anything else.

  8. Beautiful beautiful! xxx

  9. Hey Abbi ,
    thanks very much for your support.
    I really appreciate it.
    We are now with a new shop in Covent Garden – London.
    Black Garden Tattoo
    If anyone is interested to get a tattoo done by me,just drop me an email: cesarciffer@hotmail.com or through facebook, just find me there as cesar mesquita.
    Hope you are doing well, best wishes.
    Cesar Mesquita ( Ciffer )

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