Reminders and mantras can sometimes be uninspiring. At their worst, they feel like chores. But it’s our nature to affix complex ideas, emotions, and aspirations to things that are cohesive and tightly-wrapped. For me, there is no better reminder or mantra than an icon. Icons inspire because they are ideas distilled into art. Beauty and potency reside in an icon’s ability to capture and represent the depths of human emotion without using any words. Norma Desmond said it best: “With one look, I put words to shame.”
Icons also have an inherent dualism. While representing a singular idea, they’re able to be projected upon and assume a unique meaning to their viewer. In the best way possible, they can be anything to anyone without losing their core meaning. It’s this quality that makes icons ripe for tattooing.
Graphic tattoos capture and evoke my own emotion much more so than do tattoos of text; I have both, all done by the same artist, Rosa Bluestone Perr. All six of my tattoos serve as reminders to aspire to, or reflect something, in my being. The one that I look at the most, and that inspires me the most, is a graphic of a lit match on my left wrist.
What I love about the lit match is that it captures the power and transient beauty of a moment. It embodies potential. It’s aggressive and it’s gentle. The flame is a guide in the dark, an invitation to come nearer, and a vigilant keeper. A lit match is active and on its purpose; it’s in a state of doing what it was meant to do, which has a way of making it inherently full of promise. Such abiding promise, in fact, that a flame’s presence can be felt even after being extinguished.
After five years in business, I decided that EM needed an icon. Since the brand is such a personal extension of myself, I looked to my own icons for inspiration. I chose the lit match because it represents how I strive to approach my work and my life, and what EM, the brand, is; what it strives for, what it values, and the energy it endeavors to put out into the world.
Reimagined in Art Deco glory by the brilliant, women-led team at Tower Press, the EM Match embodies a radiant and confident beauty that is inextinguishable. It is refined and unwavering. It keeps and guides, and glows with hope and prosperity.
As a personal acknowledgment between EM and each of our clients, we’ll be sewing the EM Match icon into jackets starting in August 2019. Let it be a reminder to radiate your light, lead the way, and be a force wherever you go.