Bread n’ Butter

While I was in Providence, I was able to get a jar of sourdough bread starter and a lesson in bread baking from my awesome baker friend, Julia. This summer I attempted to grow my own sourdough starter, but with only weird photos on the internet and written descriptions to refer to, I mostly ended up creating a series of fruit fly heavens. Baking sourdough bread, and really anything that requires relying on observation and adjusting plans to the situation, has always been a challenge for me. I like to have a plan, and stick to it (see earlier blog post “The Comfort of a Routine”). Anyhow, in the past few months I have been trying to move away from sticking to a plan, in my day to day life and in my tattooing. While being methodical definitely has it’s benefits, I think there is a lot to be said for being willing to adapt to the situation at hand–it creates room for serendipity, happy accidents, and a more relaxed existence. Baking sourdough bread is a great exercise in this attitude because you are constantly adjusting to the rate at which the bacteria are reproducing–which is affected by temperature, humidity and a number of other factors. Here’s a picture of my first loaf of sourdough, I’m really proud of how it came out!


Applying this same attitude to tattooing, I am trying to work on how I approach larger scale work and filling in spaces between existing tattoos. Recently, I’ve noticed a lot of tattooers drawing tattoos straight on the body, rather than using a stencil. Drawing straight on the body allows the artist to work with the client’s muscle structure and/or existing tattoo work so that everything moves together. Also, I think pulling something like that off communicates a certain amount of confidence in one’s abilities, and that shows in the final product.

Every once and a while, someone comes in the shop with a tattoo that I just can’t take my eyes off. Sometimes it’s just the cleanliness with which the tattoo was executed, but recently there have been a few tattoos I could’t stop looking at, that have some other je ne sais quoi factor. The last couple tattoos I’ve asked people about, I feel like the wearers have all exclaimed, “Yea, he just drew it straight on!” So I’ve been trying to understand some of that magic, in small doses in my paintings and in tattoos that I’ve partially stenciled. Here’s some of whats been going on lately:



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