Story: Ricky the Poet
Our Tattooed and Employed Stories have officially begun and we honestly couldn't have chosen a better candidate for our first feature! Who would've thought; a poet knows how to answer a question with more than a "yes" or "no!"
Ricky was brought to our attention through some of our followers on Instagram, and after conducting a little research and seeing how this guy carries through with the Steadfast Brand message, it was in our best interest to ask him to be a part of our Stories. This is a truly incredible individual, with an even more incredible talent, and we trust you'll feel the same way.
We're serious. Just wait until you get to his answer for number three.
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself!
My name is Ricardo Hernandez and I'm a poet and spoken word artist from Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. I'm 29 years old going on 30, July 22nd. Poetry is my passion, but I wouldn't consider it my career just yet. The poetry world is scarce when it comes to a genuine audience, so you end up having poets supporting poets. You can see how that's not very lucrative when it comes to monetary gains. I would say I'm currently on a mission to help change that, to make poetry once again a recognizable art form that is well respected and valued in our world today.
2. What persuaded you to become a spoken word poet?
I've always written poetry in some form since I was young. Never went about sharing it with a crowd in front of me, but that day came and I haven't stopped since. It felt good to share my poetry, not just in written form, but spoken to have those that hear my work feel my poems as expressed straight from my heart.
3. When did tattoos become a part of your life? How has it influenced you since then?
When I was a child I was intrigued by the art of tattooing and the idea of having a story illustrated onto your body. I started the illustration process on my body when I was about 24, and plan to have everything covered up minus my hands, feet, and from my neck up before my time is done on this earth.
The bigger picture of having a body suit, done before I die, is so that I can preserve my tattooed story. How I will go about that, is by having myself skinned after my death, and have my tattooed skin used to bind limited edition books that I would create for publication after my death.
The ultimate goal is to keep one book in my family, and auction off the others to wealthy collectors, in hopes to fund the building of a school or other educational facility that will strictly deal with teaching poetry to not only the youth, but adults as well.
4. Who is your tattoo artist(s), and how did that come to be?
90% of my tattoos have been done by Marlo Salvatierra
of Leathernecks Tattoo
in Park Slope, Brooklyn. I first met Marlo in April of 2011 when he worked at a different shop. We became close friends and by August of that year he started to work on my full back piece
. Since then we've shared a lot of great times from traveling to tattoo conventions to hanging out and supporting each other in our endeavors. The relationship that we have has grown into becoming part of each others family, and I couldn't have asked for a better person to call brother than Marlo.
5. Do you draw inspiration for your tattoos from your poetry or vice versa?
I would say it goes both ways. I've written poems that directly subscribe to the process of being tattooed as well as the culture that is the tattooed community, to the stories behind my tattoos themselves.
My left sleeve, that's currently in work, is a fine example of drawing inspiration from my poetry. I wrote a poem entitled "Machine to a Monster" and that is exactly the intrinsic concept that is displayed on my arm. Four main pieces being two different machines and two different monsters (as I see them) that flow together in the relationship of the continued battle of being one or the other.
6. What’s your favorite tattoo?
That's a really hard choice right now, but I would have to say the Dr. Manhattan
piece that's on my inner left bicep. All the shades of blue are just unbelievably vibrant that it pops out at you in the most demanding way. Aside from being one of my favorite superheroes, Dr. Manhattan represents so much more to me as a character in the Watchmen series that I've written a poem putting myself in his shoes, or in this case his feet since he walks around buck-ass-naked majority of the time.
7. Least favorite?
Before Marlo, I had two graffiti inspired tattoos done on the back of each of my calves by artist that were apprenticing. They are of my own drawings, but I don't think the artist really touched the mark I wanted and most of the lines are blown out. Going into receiving ink I never wanted to have to get a cover up or tattoos removed, but this will happen with these two pieces. This will also be the case because I have a different idea for my legs now, so either way they were doomed to be covered up.
8. Does Steadfast Brand’s message of overcoming adversity/stereotypes influence your purchase of their clothing?
Without a doubt! I love the Steadfast Brand message and the inspiration that comes along with it. I've always felt that if you subscribe to something that inspires you, it's your duty to help spread that to others that might be in need of the same inspiration. And you can't go wrong with displaying that message by way of comfortable clothing that keeps a smile on your face when wearing it.
9. How do you feel you represent Steadfast Brand’s message?
On the road of life, everyone will encounter hurdles, and you can not continue living unless you overcome those hurdles. From the adversities of losing one's job to falling ill to a disease, we all have our ups and downs that ultimately shape who we are by simply navigating through those difficult times.
I've had my fair share of ups and downs, and will continue to do so because that's part of life. It is how I chose to continue on, by remaining steadfast in my mission, to accomplish what I was put here on this earth to do.
10. What’s your favorite piece of SFB clothing?
The Steadfast Nation tee is my favorite! I like to look at it as taking a stand in our country, to display that we have a huge tattooed community throughout our United States and that we need to accept it, and not look down on those or judge those who have joined this lifestyle and culture.
Ricky also supplied us with a few links to videos of him performing poetry, which you should absolutely check out below!
Performing "Love Potion" at the Capicu Cultural Showcase on April 11th, 2014:
Performing "Pretentious Potty Mouth Poets" at The Kennedy Campus in the Bronx October 17th, 2014:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T4fxF6JNAwY
Performing "Howl" written by Allen Ginsberg, as Allen Ginsberg in Brooklyn Gypsies theatrical show "Ghetto Hors D'oeuvres: Last Night of the Palladium" December 12th, 2014:https://vimeo.com/114732765Performing "Angel of 8320 Bay Parkway's Rooftop" at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe December 19th, 2014:
We are so humbled to be able to share Ricky's integrity and devotion to his art with our Steadfast Family, and hope that it helps in garnering him some well-deserved recognition. It never ceases to amaze us how inspiring people can be, and how we inspire them back. Thank you so much, Ricky, for being a wonderful introduction to our Stories, and for always being a prime example of Steadfast Brand!
If you're looking to be a part of the Tattooed and Employed Stories, we want to know! Hit us up at firstname.lastname@example.org with a brief description of your job title, skills/talents, and any photos you would like to submit of your tattoos and of you and your workplace. This is your chance to tell the world your story, and we want to help!
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