Experimental Phase

I’ve been experimenting a lot lately with my approach to tattooing, trying out using more line weights to make a tattoo look like a woodcut or an etching, stripping things down to simplicity, sculpting lines up (which I never thought I would do!), using different color palettes in different ways. I’ve also been trying to study and draw inspiration from different places than my normal go to tattoo flash books, Audubon prints and Instagram. I’ve been looking at comics, books of Japanese prints, wood cuts, fancier illustrations and children’s book illustrations. It can feel like I’m swimming in too much information,  I’ve given up my safe haven of a static approach that I know works well enough. I keep reminding myself that to grow I have to say ‘yes’ to new ideas and approaches, especially working with clients who are flexible. I’ve also been working on back to basics stuff that informs whatever approach I settle on. I’ve been reading and studying Hogarth almost daily. He is so set in his definition; he sees everything in black and white and has a static definition of art and its relationship to us and culture, as well as a demand of society and the artist. He writes a lot about the artist’s relationship to science. Hogarth believes that in order for art to function correctly in society that it should serve to interpret and explain man’s relationship to science and what that means to our humanity. He gives the example of Greek sculpture and studies of the human figure appearing as man began to perform autopsies and study the body and human biology. The impressionists studied light as scientists studied physics. I admire his confidence to make statements about what is and isn’t art, and what purpose it serves. But being sure also seems like a superficial comfort, a way to decide you’ve had enough and stay in that place. Here’s a few photos of what I’ve been working on.

If you are reading this and freaking out because you just wanted to get a traditional tattoo from me, don’t worry, I approach tattoos based on what my client tells me they want. The Japanese print tattoo is based on a print the client brought in and wanted to emulate. The brushy rosemaling is on a woman who wanted a tattoo that looked like it was made of brush strokes. I am dedicated to my own growth and experimentation with my process, but never at the expense of a client’s vision or final tattoo. Thanks for looking and reading my ramblings!



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