Tattoo Sheet - Boz and Kolya Picture

Complete at last. It only took me for-bloody-ever. *head hurts* >>; Forgive the signature stamps. I created all of these, and five of the seven are hand-drawn. You understand.

So, yet more Russian prison culture. Prison tattoos in Russia are like a language, and as such, all of them have meaning. These tattoos belong to my cat-burglar twins, Boz and Kolya. They wear the exact same marks, despite having been imprisoned separately. How they managed that, only God knows. Unlike the other two, the twins put a LOT of thought into their markings, and each one tells a story about them and their lives.

In depth:

-The Butterfly
Worn on the nape of their necks, often concealed by their hair, the butterfly is symbolic of the escape artist. Having learned the art of lock-picking and escape from years in a Soviet orphanage, the twins remain skilled at vanishing even now.

-The Rose Vine
In classic Russian prison culture, roses are worn to honor teenage birthdays spent in "the Zone" (prison). The twins' rose was custom-designed, beautiful, but noticeably withering--a symbol of the loss of vitality caused by being caged. The vine wraps around their shoulders, like the invisible chains that kept them prisoners. In spite of it, beneath the vine, it reads 'always look to the sky'...a reminder that, no matter what, you have to keep your head up and face the sun, never give up--or risk death in the shadows.

-"Faceless Mother, Nameless Child"
This tattoo is a modification of the mother and child (or The Virgin and Baby) prison tattoo. Originally, it symbolized a person born a criminal. While meaning this, the faceless tattoo also symbolizes the twins' loss of their family to the Accident, which left them without identities or parents. Worn behind their backs, it is a sign of their secret regret: the loss of who they were.

-"He who is not with me is against me."
This is a Russian proverb, which the twins took to heart. Only ever having had each other through their difficult childhood, Boz and Kolya trust very few people, despite their seemingly open personalities. The proverb is repeated, as a symbol of their duality. (Very, very few people know that they are two separate people.)

-The Cat, and the Spade
Being a creature of cunning and agility, the cat is easily synonymous with a thief. In mythology, the cat is also a protector of souls, watching over the graves of the dead and casting off evil spirits. The twins believe the mark brings them luck, and watches their backs on tough missions. The spade--designed by Boz--is formed in a tribal style, reflecting the damage (such as broken windows) left by thieves, and the way that even the most common things can become warped.

-The Stars
The most well-known of Russian criminal tattoos, stars worn on the knees disregard classic authority, showing a refusal to kneel before police or prison staff. This sort of rebellious opinion is held by many criminals, and the twins, as thieves and escape-artists, are no different. Their dislike and disrespect toward figures of power borders resentment, and these marks state it proudly. One of the many reasons they steal is to spite the so-called authority--to show that they can, and cannot be stopped.

Too much information. =B

Artwork belongs to me. For more about the characters the tattoos belong to, see [link] (their folder) in my gallery.

Other sheets (which much less information xD) :
[link] (Dema Khrushchev)
[link] (Aleksei Zel'dovich)
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