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The Tattoos of Dwayne (the Rock) Johnson
Professional wrestler and action movie star Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is not only the third generation in his family to wrestle professionally, he is the third generation in a row to be tattooed. One of his grandfathers and his father also were tattooed. Presently, The Rock has two tattoos. One is a modern single design on his right upper arm of a bull. However, his second tattoo was a departure from modern tattoo design, being a traditional Samoan style of tattoo all over his left shoulder.
The bull head tattoo on Johnson’s right arm corresponds to his Western zodiac birth sign of Taurus, the Bull. The tattoo is a long-horn type of steer and is a fairly straightforward outline style of design. The eyes of the bull are also colored in red. The tattooing on his left arm and shoulder is traditional Samoan style tattooing, done by an artist in Hawai’i. It incorporates traditional tribal patterns and symbols representing Johnson himself, his wife and daughter, his family and spirit guides. This extensive half sleeve wraps all the way around the upper arm, over the shoulder and onto the chest. A later session extended the section on his chest, adding a large symbolic warrior face over his heart.
Traditionally, Samoan tattooing was done by an artist, assisted by multiple people. The tattooist would use two tools, one a bone-tipped rake and the other the striking stick. The rake would be dipped in ink, then struck with the other stick to puncture the skin. The assistants had the job of holding the skin of the tattooee taut so that the artist could work. In his recent interview with Playboy magazine, Johnson did mention that that work took sixty hours total to execute, spread out over three sessions and was composed entirely freehand (meaning the artist worked right on his skin without a stencil or transfer). He did not mention if the tattoo was done with the traditional hand tools or if any of the ink was tattooed by conventional machine.
Don’t expect to see any of Johnson’s own ink in the movie DOOM, based on the videogame of the same name. From watching just the movie trailer, you can see Johnson’s character Sarge, the leader of a team of Marines sent to a Mars base to investigate and terminate with extreme prejudice. The clip shows Sarge sitting shirtless at a desk, being briefed on the upcoming mission. Johnson’s left shoulder can be clearly seen from several angles as the camera shot moves in and it’s all blank skin. However, Sarge clearly has the Marine motto “Semper Fi” (shortened from the Latin “semper fidelis” meaning “always faithful”) tattooed in large letters across his upper back. For more Doom info, see the official DOOM movie site.
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