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Total Eclipse of the Art: Man shares story of his out-of-this-world tattoo

Connor Schoonveld shows off his Total Eclipse tattoo (Photo from Connor Schoonveld)

WESTFIELD, Ind. (WISH) — While some people wear their hearts on their sleeves, Connor Schoonveld of Westfield wears the sun and the moon.

His arm bears a single large tattoo that serves as a full-time reminder of a day that truly changed his perspective.

“I would think that someone in ancient times would absolutely think the world was ending,” Schoonveld says, struggling to explain the impact of a total eclipse to someone who has never seen one. “It’s like trying to describe a mountain or an ocean using only a picture.”

Connor Schoonveld’s sun and moon tattoo, created by tattoo artist Jason Bancroft at Sovereignty Tattoo LLC, are shown in this undated photo. (Provided Photo/Connor Schoonveld)

Schoonveld saw the light because of the darkness of Aug. 21, 2017. The day delivered a partial eclipse to much of the Midwest, but Kentucky was in the “path of totality:” the narrow sliver of earth that gets a much more spectacular sight as the moon fully blots out the sun.

Schoonveld’s family wanted to experience it, so they traveled from Ohio to Hopkinsville, Kentucky. It was a long trip and the others were quite excited. Connor admits he was not exactly “over the moon” about the event, so he tagged along happily but not especially fired up.

Connor Schoonveld with his wife, Amanda; his mother, Pam; and his brother Daniel in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, on Aug. 21, 2017. (Provided Photo/Connor Schoonveld)

Schoonveld’s crew set up in a field, surrounded by hundreds of thousands of other visitors, by his estimate.

After an hour under gradually diminishing light as the moon slid in front of the sun, a split-second in the sky flipped a switch – both up in the sky and deep inside Schoonveld. “The moon is eating away more and more of the sun, and then… from 99% coverage to 100% is like someone turning off a light!” he recalls. “Birds were flying all over, confused. The bugs were going crazy!”

Schoonveld says the sharp shadow of totality hit one side of the field first, prompting a sweeping gasp that worked its way across the field like a wave. “It was loud,” he said. “Suddenly, the sun is blacker than the rest of the sky.”

As he recalls the eclipse, Schoonveld turns more than once to the phrase “once in a lifetime”, but he has worked hard to make sure it will be at least “twice in a lifetime” for him.

When moving back home to Indiana recently from Ohio, Schoonveld says he asked his new employer to guarantee him a day off on April 8. That’s when his hometown will be in totality, saving him the trouble of traveling states away to add a new memory.

All he’ll need to do is look up, be amazed again, and mark the latitude and longitude of the artwork on his arm.

“Pray for clear skies,” he says in closing. “The Corona is crazy. And it’s beautiful.”