Colyn Fernandez is a smiling presence at the bar inside Minnetonka’s The Copper Cow. From the shock of dark hair swept dramatically back from his forehead to his nose ring to the abalone plugs in his ears, he’s a colorful illustration of his style. He’s been in foodservice for 24 years, but bartending is his favorite job. “I get to have a creative outlet, use my hands to work and socialize all at the same time,” he says.
In addition to the gauged 1 1/4 –inch abalone earrings, he also has a pair of mother of pearl. “Both are beautiful and, I feel, make my gauged ears more appealing to the general public,” Fernandez says. “I started stretching my ears at 15 (20 years ago). Back then they weren’t as common and I felt it was more extreme and unique. I wanted to stand out in a crowd and loved the pain that came with stretching my ears,” he recounts.
While he says he has “quite a few” tattoos, the visible ones on his arms are the most meaningful to him. The knuckles on one hand say food love, “which in my opinion are the two most essential things to a happy life.” On the other hand is “come here,” a reference to his cat, Nani, who he had trained to come when he called.
Nani, his “furry soulmate” is tattooed on his left bicep. “Her and I went through so much together over the 13 years…. I thought I loved her more than I ever could, but when my son was born, that love grew. My son has autism, and he loves animals. She would allow him to pick her up and lay on top of her, pretty much anything he needed. She was such a kind and unique cat.”
His grandparents are also memorialized on his body. “My grandpa had a stick-and-poke sacred heart tattoo on the top of his hand, and I wanted to get one in memory of him. Mine is a lot more elaborate than the simple design he had, but every time I look at it I think of him. And whenever I’m asked about it, I get to reminisce about his life and the memories I have.”
His other visible tattoos are an elephant, a dedication to his grandmother who collected them, and roses with a banner with “Anna” on it. “Anna is my vava (other grandma), she loved roses and smelled them while she was dying.”
He has other tattoos, he says, “but I will have to write a novel to explain them all.”
I, for one, would buy that novel when it comes out.