I’ve been collaborating remotely with Black Lining; a team of designers who work with wood and laser-cutting. The team focuses on artworks generated by Tattoo Artists, giving the work a new medium to explore.
We agreed on furthering this one, as it seamlessly fit the technical criteria of production (connected lines). I’m very excited about how the prototype turned out. The team is hoping to release these in the next few months! I’m still under the process of experimenting with transforming my drawings into other mediums ~ I’m hoping this experience may provide some insight into different modalities of such translations.
It’s been a year now, and this painting has been sitting in my sketchbook ~ i can’t seem to finish it. I decided to pin it up on my wall near the door as some sort of reminder to get back into it. It caught the eyes of tattoo clients, friends, and family. “Is this supposed to look that way,”, is what I recall being asked the most. I then framed it and hung it up, and no one asks me that question anymore. Does framing play a role in the consolidation of artwork? What does the frame. as a barrier, offer to the work it encapsulates?
Filling a large surface area of skin with consistent, solid pigment is quite the challenge in the tattoo world ~ every artist seems to tackle it differently. My most recent works have been ‘filled’ using larger round liners; i’ve found them to heal quite consistently, however, it does take more time and effort. Noil, who has been guesting at our shop this month, has become notorious for his solid fills and interesting take on pop-culture imagery. As an admirer of his work, I decided to get a tattoo done by him; I was excited to watch his performance - from the way he sets up to the way he chooses to wrap. Noil used five machines for my tattoo, interchanging between them as he navigated through the stencil. His final machine, loaded with a magnum, was something he left for last. He explained it as a way to ensure the tattoo heals with no patches, almost like a final large sweep to distribute the ink evenly. I have recently purchased magnums to try in this way. Somehow, it has affected the way in which I draw, which I don’t seem to mind; like a part of me is planning my toolset while another part of me navigates the drawing/translation.
Is the presence of a machine, digital? A photographer may capture a moment and, through machine, further materialize it into other form(s); print, screen, etc. A tattoo artist illustrates a moment (in this day and age, mostly, digitally), and through machine, further materializes it onto the skin. In a general sense, does the use of electricity, in the making of art, suggests it being digital? Does the use of a digital medium need to be obvious, and refer back to itself? Or can it, in its transformation to material (off-screen), communicate in a different way~?
I’ve come to realize that my development as an artist through this course, was both a catalyst, and sibling to my development as a tattoo artist. I still recall a prominent Skype conversation initiated by Jonathan - What is digital art? Is that an appropriate term to use in describing what we, as a collective in the course, do? My connection to the digital has always been the most promising form of self-expression; whether remaining digital or further translating into a different materiality.
My own traumas have made it harder to communicate the self with my environment through speech or text. It has become vital for my existence, to be able to communicate the self through other means. In the process of making, somehow, that communication is achieved, whether it gets seen by anyone or not.
Becoming a tattoo artist has been the most challenging journey i’ve ever chosen - but the most beautiful one too. I’ve found a way of communication that I can practice in the form of a collaboration. Profoundly, it achieves for myself, the highest dose of self-development ~ a much needed one for a mind like my own.
The sphere connects a greater journey, one I haven’t been able to discover as of yet. Perhaps it shall be a placeholder until it finds its moment in future realization. What I do know, however, is that tattooing has helped me discover more about it, and in this direction, i hope, i’ll be closer to understanding it.
I’ve decided to redirect my research, a more focused approach into my current journey. The working title; “Tattooing as a Collaborative Act of Self-Development”.
I’m not sure what this is necessarily about, but i just know that some sort of clarity came out if making it. I’ve become more accustomed to Cinema 4Ds interface, i’m starting to feel more ease with getting ideas across ~ more fluid?
The more i make, the more I discover about my self? Like tiny pieces of a puzzle i’ve been trying to put together for a very long time. One way or another, I hope to bring all of these pieces into one for my final piece. Could the sphere help out?
I’m working on having some of my flash printed for people to be able to look through if they’re waiting at the shop ~ I found myself having fun trying to puzzle-piece these separate pieces together ~ perhaps I may turn these into large-scale prints?
I got offered a position as a part-time resident at Outsider Tattoo Collective in Chinatown, Vancouver; I most definitely took it! I’ve been guesting at the shop every month ~ for around 4-7 days in a row. Before the guesting opportunity, I only tattooed from home; an environment I had very much control of. Working in a shop was different, people would come up to me and watch me work and ask questions. The sonic ambience filled with other machines at work, other artists in conversation, and an array of different sorts of music that I actually got the chance to be part of (I was honoured haha ~ being able to play your own music in a tattoo shop is a big deal apparently). I felt like a part-time position may be more ideal for me, as i’d like to slowly adapt to having less and less control over my surrounding environment as I work. It’s been getting better and better.
Being around other artists at work has been indirectly educating me on certain techniques and methodologies for tattoo work. Whether it be involving machine choice or stroke styles, or even setup and stencil applications.
The artists i’ll be working around seem to all have their own distinct developing styles ~ they are always open for improvement and learning new things, and are pretty transparent about their process. This is most definitely an environment i’d like to be part of.
I’ve been trying to practice straighter lines, one of the most challenging skills to master with body art. Using text as practice has seemed to promote somewhat of a more enjoyable way of giving that skill some attention. I’ve come across a few fonts I feel comfortable tattooing at my current level - I feel confident with bold curves and sharp edges, starting and ending with those make it a little easier to achieve that straight line in between. The body moves, breathes, twitches, and everyone does so differently. It’s become a large part of my current craft, to understand the body I’m working on well enough at the start ~ even if it means starting slow ~
I worked on two tattoos back-to-back today. I’ve finally adapted to needle sizes, and thinking ahead of which needles might achieve a better outcome of the strokes i’m looking for. My methodology so far is to start small. 3 Round Liners are very hard to use, the needle is very small, so your hand needs to be steady. I felt confident lining the entire stencil with 3s, moving into 5s for medium-sized sharp fills and my favourite 9s for massive fills. Working this way has seemed to sharpen my designs, making the little details stand out more. I used to work in reverse ~
Spheres, an Allusion to Empathy: A Semiotic Examination of the Sphere-Body Interaction.
This paper examines the concept of Empathy through a semiotic analysis of spheres. Observing the visual evolution of halo motifs in Christian Art and its gradual decline with the growth of naturalism in the 15th Century, sets a focus and starting point in investigating the sphere in covert or overt contact with the body. Contemporary ‘Digital Fine Art’ seems to resuscitate this sphere-body connection, particularly alongside the development of visual-simulation software. At its current capacity, the ability to simulate in four dimensions, with the use of 360 and Virtual-Reality practices, reveals an enhanced understanding of applying perspective into creative practice. In order to clarify this reformation, I will examine two-dimensional contemporary works that encompass sphere-body interaction(s), on and off screen. Terms such as material and mark-making shall be examined alongside this investigation, introducing a way of alluding to Empathy through visual language; a placeholder in representing the ways in which we connect to the Innenwelt and Umwelt. This paper intends to demonstrate the seemingly fragmented definition(s) of Empathy, and a proposed method of visually referencing it for further communication, study and decryption.
Interesting ‘surface’ research of circular (halo) motifs in Christian Iconography, and its perpetual decline in Art History. This ties in well to my research development ~ looking at circles first, before advancing into the sphere.
The halo was incorporated into Early Christian art sometime in the 4th century with the earliest iconic images of Christ, initially the only figure shown with one (together with his symbol, the Lamb of God). Initially the halo was regarded by many as a representation of the Logos of Christ, his divine nature, and therefore in very early (before 500) depictions of Christ before his Baptism by John he tends not to be shown with a halo, it being a matter of debate whether his Logos was innate from conception (the Orthodox view), or acquired at Baptism (the Nestorian view). At this period he is also shown as a child or youth in Baptisms, though this may be a hieratic rather than an age-related representation … With increasing realism in painting, the halo came to be a problem for artists. So long as they continued to use the old compositional formulae which had been worked out to accommodate haloes, the problems were manageable, but as Western artists sought more flexibility in composition, this ceased to be the case. In free-standing medieval sculpture, the halo was already shown as a flat disk above or behind the head. When perspective came to be considered essential, painters also changed the halo from an aura surrounding the head, always depicted as though seen full-on, to a flat golden disk or ring that appeared in perspective, floating above the heads of the saints, or vertically behind, sometimes transparent. “ (Wikipedia)
A few challenges I faced this month:
A client asked me to touch-up another artists work. Is that considered disrespectful to the artist? Does the intention of ‘fixing’ alleviate thoughts around vandalism? I decided to not follow through with booking the appointment. I may need to think of this further ~
A client asked me to tattoo a flash piece in an area where i thought it would not work. I struggled with this before and ended up tattooing the design anyways - the experience was very different/difficult, it took longer, it felt like endless labour. Trust your guts? Should this discomfort suggest not following through with requests as such in the future?
Jonathan Kearney - June 18th - 9:30am - Skype
I’m anxious to post on the blog, there’s so much I want to say, but i’m finding it strange to formally put things into words. Jonathan & I contemplated the blog as a time capsule ~ speaking to myself in the future.
My work currently jumps from medium to medium, tool to tool, but the same narrative wants to get told. Jonathan suggested thinking about how these mediums could visually come together ~ embracing the fragmentation?
Some things in progress;
family interview questions, further research into the the theoretical mathematics of spheres (use C4D sphere object properties to experiment/simulate/tweak? the theories).
In an absence i dream,
Of what ladder to climb
It’s a darker scene,
No glow or chime.
In or out they say, are you coming,
Have you lost your way?
Eager to respond,
But immobile to try.
If only a hand to lift me,
Large enough to hold me whole.
But no bumps or cuts,
For the happy eye.
In absence we see
What we lack the most,
An honest desire,
To untie the ropes.
I’ve been exploring different ways to bridge my screen-practices into more physical mediums. Using 3D renderings i’ve modelled as references for future drawings has been a captivating journey so far. Im starting to think about material-synthesis through mark making, and using simulations of that material (virtually) as references. My drawings seem to make use of light and dark, and slowly, material is making its way In there now - a way of enhancing depth? creating a contrast between elements? providing the viewer with more context around an object, and potentially its previous journey(s)?
I have most recently decided to take a few extra steps forward with tattooing. For the past year, I had been looking for apprenticeship opportunities all over the city - but none of them seemed to fall through. So I decided to teach myself. I purchased a rotary machine two months ago, and decided to tattoo myself to get a hang of things. After a really strange experience tattooing my own knee, I decided to give it a go on someone else. I had done a variety of research around maintaining a proper hygienic standard with the tools and space - I was ready. My drawings seemed to grab the attention of a few friends, and with that came an evolution of my own style - a more refined one, a visual language that works better in the form of a tattoo. I opened up an Instagram account, and started to exhibit my drawings and tattoos.
It seems as though my work, as fragmented as it is in medium, chronology, and context, seems to always want to tell a story. As if each piece somehow pinpoints a moment in time in this little reality. The sphere as a placeholder? A reminder that we are back in that reality?
With time, finding ways to remind myself of how to acquire tranquility within a traumatized mind has become a passionate pursue of mine. The tattoos on my own body have symbolized those reminders, images that eventually translate into states - building somewhat of a relationship with these images on my body can be described as therapeutic.
The sphere is that reminder in my works - a reminder to enter a mindset, a journey in an attempt to grasp the nature of Empathy.
Can that process of migration into that realm, to recognize a symbol and allow it to guide you through an inconsistent narrative, be in itself a practice of Empathy?
“How do you envisage developing this narrative of reflection, what form might it take, what might it sweep with it? … The sphere is a place holder...” - Alexis
“ I felt that the chain of events in your narrative was somehow predictable and relatively logical. I would have liked to be more challenged as a viewer by your acknowledgement of the existence of a broad range of contradictory contextual perspectives.” - Pav
“I'd love to hear more about your train of thoughts behind of this sequence and how you put it together.” - Aristotle
“In some ways I feel a sense of separateness yet togetherness – loss yet comfort and sometimes anxiety yet a feeling of calm.” - Michelle
“When I first watched it, I struggled to understand what it is about, on the second watch I got much more from it. Are these meant to be separate works?” - Kelda
“Also like a dream I am struggling to remember specific parts of it” - Arthur
“Because I find how to know yourself is a crucial subject matter in your works, and a social account sometimes is way that people defines themselves nowadays. 'Mental landscape’, which refers to landscape as idea and concept, may also give you some inspiration.”- AxAsh
“I just always have to think of William Kentridge when I see your work.” - Friederike
“A snippet i remember from the 360 workshop is that when we are viewing 360video we are essentially trapped in a sphere. Im really curious to see how the format of the work unfolds moving forward towards presentation/exhibition.” - Matt
“have seen your individual works in blog before. I thought it’s cool but didn’t understand the meaning behind it. It’s very surprised that you put them together and it works. This narrative seems new and interesting but I think the visual parts are a little bit mess. The black and white part and 3D animations doesn’t seems match very well.” - Taiyo