Tattoo Tuesday: Frodo and Felines


Phillip Charles Smith, 25, is a kinesiology major who found himself not only getting one tattoo, but two in one sitting. (Ashley Grant/ The Sundial) Photo credit: Ashley Grant

Ashley Grant

A mere six months ago, CSUN kinesiology major Phillip Charles Smith, 25, got his first, as well as his second tattoo, in a back-to-back ink session.

“I got my first tattoo on October 10, 2015, which is pretty recent,” Smith said as he pulled back his black and grey-striped sleeve.

On the top of his right arm laid a large paw print and an extremely vibrant second tattoo right below.

“I’ve wanted a tattoo ever since I was 19 years old,” he said. “But my dad said ‘not in this house’ so I said fine, but when I’m 25, if I still want a tattoo I’m going to get it.”

After seven long and anxious years, Smith was able to go under the needle and get his first tattoo, but one wasn’t enough.

“In the beginning I was jumping around trying to choose a tattoo,” Smith said. “I decided to get both of these tattoos at the same time. They both have a lot of deep meaning to me.”

Smith’s first tattoo, an imprint of a paw with the Pi symbol in the center, sits on his upper arm.

The tattoo is dedicated to his cat, Pi Pi, who he’s had for 15 years.

“I got him when I was about 10,” Smith said. “He just attached onto me, always would sleep with me and has always been a huge part of my life. He is just like the dog I never had.”

Right below the paw print sits another tattoo, this one with a bright array of yellow and orange colors that form flames around dark, bold elfish writing.

“Frodo has this task of taking this ring to basically hell and all the odds are stacked against him,” he said. “Even with everything, including armies, stacked against him he has to get the ring into the fire.”

Smith finds himself connecting to this Lord of the Rings character and the obstacles he has to overcome in order to be successful in the end.

Phillip Charles Smith shows off his tattoos: a paw print on top and a Lord of the Rings commemorative tattoo on the bottom. (Ashley Grant/ The Sundial)
Phillip Charles Smith shows off his tattoos: a paw print on top and a Lord of the Rings commemorative tattoo on the bottom. (Ashley Grant/ The Sundial)

“Just like Frodo, all the odds are against me,” Smith said. “College is not my thing and school has never been my thing. There are so many tests, I feel like I’m going into the depths of Mordor.”

Although Smith feels like he is constantly fighting a battle to get through school, he finds himself continuing to push to graduate, but it hasn’t been easy.

“I do have disabilities and teachers may not recognize that,” he said. “I feel like it’s just a matter of time before I am completely done with dealing with school. I mean I keep trying and pushing my way through, but it’s difficult.”

For Smith, tattoos have allowed him to overcome life difficulties and honor someone he loves.

“I want to get so many more,” Smith said. “I love tattoos and art work so I really want to get more, just not set on anything right now.”