The outline for these came from a book of Japanese optical designs. I kept it around for a few months before 'seeing' the shape on the backs of my calves. It was a few more months before I had settled on enough of a rough concept for the coloring to get the pieces. The left leg is based on the colors of mother of pearl and the right leg is based on abalone shell. I brought in examples of each and we looked at them in the sunlight and talked about what we saw until we reached agreement. Then Mandy did colored pencil sketches so we could be specific. Each leg took about 2 and 1/2 hours. People frequently ask me what they are, and I always make them guess something before I tell them my story.
A few of the more interesting guesses have included UFO landing sites, bicycle tire treads, and psychedelic vents. Surely the most mermorable interpretation to date was given by a local resident in the San Francisco Civic Center MUNI station. I was with my friend Jen, who was visiting from Chicago. The slightly inebriated gentleman approached and asked what the tattoos on my legs said. I asked him to tell me what he thought they said. His reply was "I thought they said FIRE!"