“It was a design for a friend of mine who passed away. That’s why there’s a black rose. My friend was a performer and he used black roses as his logo. It was a way of remembering him. He was a very close friend. I also turned 35 when I got my first tattoo. I waited a while before I got them, because everyone said that you’re gonna regret them when you get older. So I waited ‘til I was older. I just regret that I don’t have room to put more on.
“And the rest of them: It gets kind of addicting! A lot of them are dragons and demons, which were my way of exorcising my demons. I was a little rambunctious and you know, crazy. I’m toned down now. I let the artist guide me with what to do with them.
“And these here: I was out west for a while. So these are from my time out there in Arizona.
“This was back when tattooing was still illegal in New York [in] the early 90s. There weren’t many people around [tattooing]. So it was three artists in the same place in Brooklyn that did them.
“I always say I’m going to get more, but you know what? It’s been so long since I got one that I forget how painful it is.”
Frederick Piccarello is the executive chef at French Roast Uptown.
Interview and photos by Kara Chin