I’m happy to say that my little project is growing as friends of friends are starting to say, “I know a friend of a friend who you need to interview.” Through just such a friend-of-a-cousin-of-a-hair-dresser style relationship, I was introduced to Laura Cherry who was kind enough to meet up with me in a coffee shop in Wicker Park so I could get these photos and interview.
CFT: Tell me about your Chicago Flag Tattoo.
Laura: Alright, one drunken night, that’s how all stories start, I was walking on the street, me and my best friend, who was living in New York at the time. We were talking about Chicago and how much we love it, and I’m like “You know what I would love, like, a tattoo that symbolizes Chicago for what it is.” And she and I are both foodies, so we thought-“Pizza!” We both love pizza, let’s get a pizza tattoo. And I wanted this big gooey Giordano’s stuffed kind of pizza, and I went to go get it drawn up a few months later. It became a better idea as it went on, and I went to go get it drawn up, and they drew it up for me. When the artist brought it out, I thought to myself, “That is not going on my body.” It looked—what I had in my head and how it looked—two totally different things.
Laura: So, I’m sitting there, and I was really psyched to be getting my tattoo, and then I’m thinking “well, I’m not gonna get it, because I don’t want this on my body. So, we’re just sitting there, and I looked up at the Chicago Flag. And thought “I love the Chicago flag, I love pizza, let’s do something like that.” So I stepped away that evening, and came up with this idea of somehow drawing the flag into a piece of Chicago pizza. Or a slice of pizza, or whatever it was. And that’s how the idea came about.
Laura: I went and got it designed, and put on.
CFT: So that first design—was it just too realistic, a gooey piece of deep dish?
Laura: Yeah! It kinda didn’t really look that realistic, and I’m thinking “this is going to be drawn on” and people are really going to look at me and go “Really? Out of all the tattoos, that’s what you picked?”
CFT: Is that your first tattoo?
Laura: It is my first tattoo, and my only tattoo.
CFT: So a big gooey piece of pizza would be a statement.
CFT: So there’s a whole bunch of questions here. Number one of which is: Deep Dish Pizza? Are you a fan of Chicago-style?
Laura: I’m a big fan, even. You know I was raised on this meal on a pizza, and that’s what a lot of people describe it as. It’s a big hearty meal on a slice of pizza, and I love it. Either you love it or hate it, I feel like. Anthony Bourdain, No Reservations, hates Chicago pizza, and that always breaks my heart a little bit. Because I’m like “Really?” I mean, that’s Chicago, but it’s not for everyone.
CFT: It is not for everyone.
CFT: I love nearly everything about Chicago…
Laura: Deep dish pizza?
CFT: Deep dish pizza is not…I’m a little lactose intolerant. Which makes it a dangerous meal. But awesome! Where did you get it done? Who was the artist?
CFT: Oh, she’s awesome.
Laura: From word of mouth, friends who have gotten tattoos said “this girl specializes in Chicago tattoos.” So we had to go to her.
CFT: Ok, yeah.
Laura: So I went to her, and she drew it up, and voila!
CFT: Yeah. Awesome. Now, it’s on your side, So people don’t see it a lot. When people see it, do they know what it is?
Laura: Yes and No. People usually ask beforehand A) do you have any tattoos and B) What is it of? And I have entitled it “a Chicago pizza.” So when I show it to them, they kind of just look at it. So, the other question I now ask is “Have you seen the Chicago flag?”
Laura: And that is either yes or no, and if it’s no, then they have no idea, and they just look at it, and they’re like “I don’t know what that is.” But if they have, they’re like “Oh, that’s pretty cool.”
CFT: That’s awesome. So are you a life-long Chicagoan?
Laura: I am. Born and raised. The only time I went away was for school in Peoria, and I came home every chance I got. I felt like I was just missing out on things. I’ve visited other cities, and while they’re great, I would never see myself leaving Chicago.
CFT: Anything else you want to tell me? About you or the tattoo?
Laura: No, it’s a pretty simple tattoo.
CFT: It is, but it’s a great tattoo.
Laura: Yeah. I designed it myself, although people have said, like, “Oh, I’ve seen it before.” I’m like, “Okay.” Maybe I’m not as original as I thought.
CFT: “Maybe you saw me.”
Laura: Yeah! Like, maybe you saw me somewhere.