Life of Agony frontwoman Mina Caputo has documented her struggles, mistakes and transformations in ink. On this episode of The Needle & the Damage Done, Caputo guides us through her tattoos and the purpose behind each piece of art.

This clip was shot on-site at the 2018 Inkcarceration Festival, which was held at the Ohio State Reformatory. The Mansfield, Ohio prison is most famous as the shooting location for The Shawshank Redemption.

Mina Caputo’s first tattoo was actually the name of an ex-girlfriend, but when that relationship went south, the vocalist got it covered up. “It was a mistake,” Caputo admits. “Because I was dating some girl who wound up robbing me and doing dope behind my back and shit like that.” What Caputo ended up with was a lotus and vines across her wrist, wrapping around to the back of her hand.

When Mina made her transition in 2011, she finally began to feel like her true self. A collection of butterflies represents the transition, as does a “transexual goddess” on Caputo’s thigh — one of her newest tattoos.

One of her most personal tattoos is the chest lettering of “Strung out in heaven’s high / Hitting an all-time low” from David Bowie’s “Ashes to Ashes.” Mina lost both of her parents to heroin overdoses — her mother OD’d at age 20 and father fell to the drug in 2002. “I didn’t really want to do the cliche ‘Mom’ and ‘Dad’ thing. This song, ‘Ashes to Ashes,’ was Bowie’s way of publicly speaking about his challenge with the little green monsters.”

Check out Mina’s tattoos in the video above and get ready for the 2019 Inkcarceration Festival on July 12-14. Tickets go on sale soon and the 2019 lineup will be revealed in January.

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