As a child, every time Clint Lankford left Charleston, the bridges spanning the Cooper River provided a comforting visage of home when he returned.
Later, when the two decrepit cantilever spans were replaced with the new cable-stayed Arthur Ravenel Bridge, the new bridge over the river represented progress.
"I'm a Buddhist, so progress and growth and bettering yourself are things we all strive for," Lankford said.
So the 28-year-old Hanahan plumber decided the bridges — both old and new — would make an ideal subject for a new piece of body art. It's a way to express his love for home and his devotion to his faith.
Plenty of folks come into the Iron Lotus Tattoo Studio in West Ashley seeking Palmetto State emblems, said Dennis Hickman, Lankford's tattoo artist.
"Palmetto trees are pretty common, but bridges aren't," Hickman said.
Lankford's friends are all in awe of his new body art, which he completed about a month ago after 8 hours in the Hickman's chair, but the artwork isn't all that visible to the person who understands its meaning the most.
"As it was healing, I had to get my friends to take pictures of it with their phones from all sorts of angles, so I could see how it was turning out," Lankford said.
Though it's hard for him to see, he hopes to put it on full display this summer.
"I spend a lot time at the beach in the summer, so people will see it," he said.