INK STORIES: Sir Abstraxxx Honors His Grandfather
Abstraxxx walks into a room with a confident, collaborative, thoughtful vibe emanating from him. Engaging easily, he chats with those around him, finds commonality and conversation with whomever he is engaged. His fashion sense and self-expression are a beautiful mixture of curated clothing, gauged ears, unique glasses (one lens is circle, one square), and eleven tattoos that are all a walking testament to who he is and who he hopes to be. It’s a mood.
Like so many of us tattooed comrades, our ink tells stories. Some of these stories we keep to ourselves. Others we tell whenever someone implores the common “who does your work?” Abstraxxx is willing to tell the stories of some, not all, of his tattoos and that elusiveness piques my interest just that much more.
I’d never met Abstraxxx (poet, musician, spoken word artist, fashion designer and more occasionally known as Anthony Macklin) prior to us sitting down in the newest Not Just Coffee rendition on Jay Street. We sent emails back and forth until we realized who the other was. Then, we sat for hours, talking about life, justice, art and creativity. In passing, we discussed his tattoos. Just behind his left ear, is the number “79” and it carries perhaps the most weight of any of his ink.
“My grandfather was a huge influence in my life. He died unexpectedly at age 79. Now I carry him around with me,” Abstraxxx said. In grieving the loss of his hero, he got this “impulse tattoo” the day after he passed. This, he said, was his coping mechanism.
“There was a reason for his passing. It was like a baton was being passed. He embodied everything I want to be in family, striving for purpose, patience, understanding. When I was feeling the pressure of taking on a career but wanted to take art fulltime, and like this tattoo, he was always in my ear, telling me the right moves to make.”
If Only I Could Kiss You
Abstraxxx has been following his calling and passion of taking art fulltime. A poet and musician, Abstraxxx took his grandfather’s advice and compiled some of his own verses in his new book, “If Only I Could Kiss You,” which Abstraxxx dedicated to him. The cover art of the book “showcases the anatomy of a person. If you let people in, you’ll feel more full,” Abstraxxx said.
The red and black lines designed by a friend that’s more like a brother, Kendal James, are slowly fading with time on his forearm. “But that’s ok,” Abstraxxx said. “I know the art is still there.”
Jackson knew the importance of this tattoo and knew the purpose behind it and helped Abstraxxx bring it to life. “We sat up until 2am putting it together. It tells this story of how you can be fulfilled. People forget about the importance of human interaction but it’s an extension of self. And this little bit of red makes me feel like I’m stepping up in life.”
His book of verses did not come to be without something many writers and creators can relate to … writer’s block. On his left hand is the word “liberate.”
“I was having a hard time writing. This was to remind myself of why I do things—it’s not just for myself but for others, too. It’s about finding the love you want and not settling. And I’m always reminding people, ‘When you find that love, let me know.’”
“1571” represents Abstraxxx’s men’s lifestyle brand or … as he says, “It’s a code of ethics to help structure your life.” There are a handful of pillars—never demand attention, be stable, always make sure you’re preserving—and it’s not about simply being a traditional gentleman.
Despite always being impeccably dressed, Abstraxxx says “It’s how you present yourself. The quality of your character matters more quality of clothes.”
“This is my only matching tattoo,” Abstraxxx said. “And, it basically means ‘Who I am in the bottom line.’ The ‘M’ stands for a lot of things—masterpiece, money, mastery, Macklin.”
PHOTO GALLERY OF SIR ABSTRAXXX’S TATTOOS BY DESTINY YODER
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