Modern Fairytales


In 2019, Jai asked for volunteers for a special personal project “Form and Flow”. She sought to explore how 2D tattoos on the body’s 3D surface could weave stories and narratives around the human form. Ben, a writer with a passion for fairy tales, was the perfect fit.


‘I asked Ben to send me a story that resonated with him. He sent me the Grimm Brothers' tale "The Three Sisters," along with some illustrations that caught his eye. From there, I drafted his tattoo design.’

The Process

Ben's tattoo revolves around his fascination with how humanity interacts with, or against, the natural environment as depicted in "The Three Sisters" fairy tale. The tattoo spans the length of both legs, from hip to ankle.

Telling a Story

When viewed from the back, the tattoo shows a mediaeval city loosely based on period drawings of Babel, Saint Petersburg, and Jai’s memories of Prague. Cutting through the city, a bold red sword slashes down one leg.

Moving around the Human Form

As you move to the front of Ben's legs, the image transforms into three separate scenes of nature under attack. In one, a bear has been impaled on a sword; in another, an eagle catches an arrow that was shot at it, and in the third, a harpoon narrowly misses a whale. Throughout these scenes, seven red butterflies ascend to a dark, starry sky.