Erin Pallesen

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Erin Pallesen's Chicago flag tattoo

I’ve known Erin Pallesen for quite a while—we were contestants together on the second season of Chicago’s live comedy talent competition Impress These Apes back in 2007 and I’m big fan of his absurd sketch comedy duo, Kerpatty. So when Erica said, “I heard Erin has a Chicago flag tattoo” I immediately tracked him down for a lunch downtown to catch up and then interview him about the tattoo. Which is, spoiler alert, the tiniest Chicago flag tattoo I’ve seen yet.

CFT: So tell me about your Chicago flag tattoo.

Erin: Well, I’m moved to Chicago in 2003. So I’ve been here for ten years. And I’ve always loved the city. Especially coming from a rural town in Tennessee, jumping straight into a city atmosphere. There’s a lot to see, a lot to do. And I just knew there was something about Chicago, something great. And I just fell in love with it.

I had a couple hardships, of course, like everyone does when they move to a city. Like, losing a job, finding a job, money issues, just trying to survive while doing your passion. And I’ve always felt Chicago’s taken care of me, in this weird motherly way. I feel safe here, which I know sounds real weird, but I just feel like this place really takes care of me. The minute that I feel like, “great, I’ve got to give up and move somewhere cheaper, where I’ll piece together some sort of happiness”, Chicago just picks me up, like, “nope, this is it, this is where you need to be.”

As far as tattoos go, I never really a huge tattoo and I was on the fence about a tattoo in the first place. And then it just struck me, Chicago means so much to me and I want that with me, no matter where I go. I wanted something tiny, almost symbolic rather than the actual flag. So I just chose something small for my wrist.

CFT: That’s an interesting place, you were saying you can cover it with a watch but it’s also incredibly visible when you want it to be. It’s one of the most visible spots on the body, other than a face tattoo.

Erin: Exactly, face or neck. [Laughs] I like it. If I do become a teacher, it’s really easy to cover with a watch or long sleeves, so that’s not an issue. But if I want it out, it’s out. If not, then it’s not. And also, I can see it whenever I want. That’s another thing, if I was going to get a tattoo, I would want to be able to see it without going to a bathroom or seeing it over my shoulder and through three mirrors.

CFT: So that’s your only tattoo.

Erin: That’s it.

CFT: How long have you had it now?

Erin: Three years. So it’s still kind of new.

CFT: So you got it when you had been here seven years. As a transplant, was seven years a milestone, or did it just feel right?

Erin: Yeah, it just kind of felt right. For some reason tattoos were a big topic in my circle of friends at the time. And it was going back and forth in my head, do I want something, and if so is there something I care that much about that I would want it on me forever. And I woke up one day I was like, I think I got it. And I took out a blue and a red Sharpie and just drew it real quick and I was like, yeah, I kind of like that. That day I went to the tattoo parlor and got it. I didn’t mess around. If I’m going to do it, I’m going to do it before I talk myself out of it.

CFT: Where did you go?

Erin: Actually, like the first place I could find. Probably not a great idea, but it’s a small tattoo anyway. I went up to Chicago Tattoo on Belmont.

CFT: Do you remember the name of your tattooer?

Erin: Nope. Sure don’t. It was an older guy who laughed when he saw the size of the tattoo. Because, I mean, this much ink is barely anything.

CFT: That take like twenty minutes?

Erin: Yep. Twenty minutes. And it didn’t meet the minimum, so he was like, “I have to charge you just the minimum.” Forty-five bucks later I got a tattoo.

And I went to a wedding the day that I got it. I should have waited until after the wedding, maybe. It was a casual affair and I didn’t have a suit coat on. I had my sleeves rolled up and I had this huge bandage on my wrist. So during this happy occasion I looked like maybe I went through some rough times. That was pretty funny.

CFT: When people see it, do they know what it is?

Erin: Yes. Immediately. Around here. My step-mom didn’t really know what it was, so I showed her the flag. She was like, “well that’s not it.” I was like, “no… it is kinda. It’s what I wanted.” I don’t know why, I just like the simplicity of the dots and the lines, better than stars and bars.

Erin Pallesen

1 Comment

What a great tattoo on such a marvelous person!

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This page contains a single entry by Fuzzy published on August 14, 2013 5:13 PM.

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