The post below I wrote two years ago--and the words are still as true now as the moment I wrote them. It's been two years to the day my love Ethan lost a friend and brother, and though the hole created by the loss has begun to heal, I know its still there--not just for Ethan, but for all the people who knew Chad.
Today, work on something creative, help someone who needs a friend, tell the people you care about you love them--and take a moment and think about how they truly fit into your life, because your friends are the most sacred gifts, and without them life is bare canvas pleading for color.
On Sunday Evening, the 12th of September a talented man was in a tragic motorcycle accident. On September 16th, his spirit passed on.
This talented man, was Chad Gregerson and his art and life was the artistry of tattoos. He co-owned and operated Tatu Royale, in Winona, Minnestoa. He was only 43 years old.
Chad was our friend.
Right now, the emotions I am feeling are very muddled. Grief, pain, and the desire the be strong for the people who knew him better than I.
I cannot boast Chad was my good friend, but he was the best of friends to my boyfriend Ethan. Chad fully supported Ethan's artwork by not only pushing Ethan to continue to paint and sculpt, but by also supporting Ethan installing his work to be displayed in the shop. The pride it gives Ethan to know his artwork is where so many people will admire it is something I will always be grateful for. Chad gave Ethan an outlet, and that outlet supported both us, both emotionally and financially.
Yet, Chad has done even more for the people who work with him on a daily basis. One of my best friends is also a tattoo artist who has done and he was very luck to have Chad as his mentor. Chad took what he knew, and passed it on.
I watched this from a distance, admiring his artistry, his willingness to co-operate, his unyielding generosity.
Facial tattoos, piercings, leather jacket and a motorcycle gave him the allure of someone you wanted to know, but not someone you wanted to screw with. Despite his outward appearance, Chad was, in my most humble opinion and limited time spent with him, a very gentle person.
He was always so respectful to me when I was visiting his shop or getting tattooed in it. He would stop and admire his young protege's work, give a few words of advice and a little support. No matter what, if you were in his shop, he acknowledged you and made you feel important. Without him, people I love very, very much would not have had the same opportunities as they do now. He was the teacher, and after our time of grief has passed, the students will have to test everything he taught them.
Chad was not only generous with his heart and friendship, but also with his needles and ink. Every piece I have ever seen of his speaks volumes about his ability. His Facebook page has been flooded with heartfelt messages of gratitude for the work he has put on people
Having a large tattoo myself and having it done by one of my best friends, I think I can truly understand what it means to loose someone who has marked your life in such a visible way. Although I have never had a tattoo by Chad, people who I consider my family have, and in this way I share their loss.
Getting a tattoo, whether large or small, takes a bit of courage. For a larger one, it takes hours of sometimes intense pain to get the end results. To put your trust in an artist, to let them hurt you so you can come out the other side a decorated, often different person, is a relationship that cannot easily be forgotten. When this artist is your friend, or becomes your friend...to loose him or her is like the loss of much beloved celebrity, only this celebrity has truly changed you. You are different because of him. He has taught you not to fear.