Sep 23

The Meaning Behind The Ink

Tux The Shaolinux Penguin chenb0x

My First Tattoo

I told myself that if I ever got a tattoo, it would need to have a meaning that is unique and sums me up in a symbol. So, it’s time to break it down!!

The Penguin

We start with a penguin. Tux, the Linux penguin, to be exact. I have been working with computers longer than I have been practicing martial arts, and Tux is iconic as the mascot of Linux. As cute as the ladies may think he is, I see him as a badass hacker. However, aside from having a cult following, what about Tux would make him unique? This is where I used M$ Paint to add the “Shaolin” characters on his tummy to blend my love for martial arts, Zen, and hacking.

So, we have this image here:

Tux ShaoLinux Penguin chenb0x

Tux the Shaolinux Penguin

Before chenb0x, this image was just a concept. I take pride in making this little fella by fusing two major life influences.

The Rising Sun and Bonsai Tree

At first, I was just going to get the penguin done as indicated by my birthday wishlist. Then, one day, my girlfriend suggested that the penguin alone would be a weird and funny looking floating object that would need explaining.

So, what could I do for Tux and myself that still satisfied my number one rule of special meaning? My girlfriend and I were looking through tattoos on Google images while waiting for a pizza one evening and came across some sweet looking bonsai trees. Hey! Bonsai trees! I know what else has that! The logo of my martial arts school!

United Studios of Self Defense

From this logo, I adopted the bonsai tree and the rising sun along with their meaning. The sun doesn’t symbolize just rising or just setting because when it is rising somewhere in the world it is also setting somewhere else. The Bonsai Tree represents growth. The brown trunk is death, while the green leaves are life. In a way, it’s an inadvertent Yin/Yang because you can’t have one concept without its contrast. Good/evil, life/death, etc. I’ve had many births and deaths in this life. Old opportunities making way for the new.

Supplementary Meaning

It is just an accidental awesomeness that Tux is sitting under the tree and smiling. It’s almost like a meditation for my war animal. Very rarely do people not see me smiling and there is a reason for that. The First Buddha said “There is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way.”

The Details

After getting the basic concept down, I wanted creative leeway for the artist, Jerry Thomas, of Lucky Cat Tattoo. I was witness to his work before this piece and it’s nothing less than amazing. The clouds and the mountains in the background add a perfect touch of form and no form. You can check out more of his work here:



Comments, Feedback, Reactions

“It looks good on you, babe.” -Majesta Zea

“It’s soooo cute!!” -Lori R.

“It’s cute with a badass hint.” -Kris. T. Na.

“I’m gonna beat your ass.” -Mom (Thanks Mom!!)

Generally, everyone agrees that this symbol is all me!!

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