Wearing his world on his sleeve

MEGAN MILLER
Last updated 05:00 27/12/2012
Jon Crossman
MYTCHALL BRANSGROVE/Fairfax NZ
MARK OF A NEW ZEALANDER: Jon Crossman shows off his nearly completed full-sleeve Kiwiana tattoo, by tattoo artist Russ Beaumont.

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Jon Crossman's left arm has been transformed from an ordinary human appendage into a rich tapestry of brightly coloured Kiwiana.

The Timaruvian, 35, spent the second half of 2012 making regular visits to Burnt Toast Custom Tattoo and Piercing in Stafford St. Over 10 sessions, tattooist Russ Beaumont has inked into Crossman's arm an artist's rendition of New Zealand life.

The tattoo begins at the wrist with a pair of jandals and a caravan parked at the coast. It unfolds upward through lush farmland to vibrant North Island native bush, and ends in a shoulder cityscape complete with Beehive building and Sky Tower, accompanied by a traditional Maori design.

When finished, the full sleeve will have required about a dozen sessions and about 50 hours of Crossman's life.

"At this stage, I wish I'd have just got a wee fern on my ankle," he joked.

His only prior body art was a small tattoo on his upper back.

The Menzies plumber began his sessions at Beaumont's studio in May, and has spent anywhere between a few hours to most of a day in the chair each time.

He first arrived with a "broad idea" of the tattoo's design, and he and Beaumont have shaped the piece as the work has progressed. They have about two more sessions to go before the sleeve is completed. Before it's finished, Beaumont will retouch the colour where it has faded.

All told, Crossman will have invested about $3000 in the tattoo.

"Some people would buy a painting," he said.

"This is just another form of art."

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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