Outsider Tattoo Collective

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. 

Post-application of  Alise’s  stencil. A large chest piece i got to see come to life~

Post-application of Alise’s stencil. A large chest piece i got to see come to life~


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. 

A Pause

I’ve been struggling to write these days. I’ve been in a state of making - reflecting ideas outwards and executing them immediately. I’ve acquired some sort of pace, a routine of some sort. It seems as though this method has prioritized my making process, but has put the reflection process on pause. I’ve decided to make an effort to start writing more frequently - no matter how informal/disorganized it may be. I should start seeing the blog as having the ability to act as a time capsule - revisiting ideas, my own history, opinion, research, work. 

I recorded a two-track EP with my band Laura K Prophet. 

I have never been able to dive this deeply into music before, to be able to learn the intricate engineering behind it all. We spent two days at Monarch Studios - the first day was dedicated to making sure all the instruments are recorded properly (bed tracks)- with their sounds perfected either through re-amping or other analogue techniques. The next day was dedicated to vocals and other textures. I spent the entire morning laying out vocals and layers, experimenting with different microphones (The C12 Vintage was my favourite) and the possibilities of vocal layering and delay. I was able to witness the way space is engineered through analogue methods. I was lucky enough to be surrounded by individuals who managed to work with my visual-thinking. I was able to communicate my suggestions through images, and the engineer was able to understand and further translate that idea into sound. 

This render was inspired by a conversation I had with the engineer about how I wanted my vocals to sound in relationship to the synthesizer near the end of one of our tracks. I was trying to describe the vocals falling in slow motion from above - plush but elastic, adaptable and moldable, but always managing to retain itself. The Synthesizer a fast growing tree, sharper branches, echoic, reflective. I wanted them to collide, but not destroy one another - somewhat of a balanced coexistence of sharp and smooth.

I’ve been tattooing more frequently. 

I’ve grown accustomed to the tattoo machine, its vibrations, voltage settings, needle size, ink densities, skin varieties. I’ve been noticing a sizeable amount of improvement after every tattoo - this is building my confidence with the tool, making me eager to experiment and further my learnings within this practice.

It seems as though this program (MFA) has facilitated the ways in which other endeavours of art-making are interconnected. I’ve come to develop a clearer visual language, furthering my understanding of the screen and its capabilities. Tattooing is elaborating the two-dimensional, the plane. Music is contributing largely to my conceptual framework of space, and my digital fine art is becoming a language in which I communicate these ideas. In connecting these ideas, translating, bridging. In doing so I have come closer to an awareness of what a “digital artist” (for the lack of a better term) is suggestive of. 

Discovering the framework of Empathy has been a starting point that I’ve managed to remain consistent with. So far I’ve come to a moment of reflection, in which I need to contemplate the following ideas:

Can Empathy be achieved as a consistent state of being or a state that fluctuates based on exposures to instinct and survival mechanisms? Or neither? 

How do/ do Empathy and the Sphere (further research/exploration needed) connect?

Can material (texture), represented in digital form (renderings), achieve an added awareness to space and environment to the visual language of the screen?

Can expanding quality and scale of renderings, projecting them in large spaces, immerse the viewer into its world more effectively? 

What would 3D renderings feel like as large-scale prints exhibited in vast empty spaces with sculptural objects (connecting to elements within the render) surrounding the area?

What does it mean to be an artist? To me? 

A Nightmare

A Nightmare (2018)

Acrylic & print on cotton & cellulose

11 x 14 Inches

I was standing in the midst of green hills (much like the iconic wallpaper of Windows XP). My closest friends and family surrounded me in a perfect circle - they seemed different, as if they were void of themselves. One by one they slapped me, the ground beneath me eventually began to crumble. I fell downwards into a dilapidated room - rusty metal, holes in walls, and two feet of blood that flooded the area. A man walks out of a doorway with a white towel, dragging it along the floor - soaking up the blood until it reached his palms. He didn’t notice me, for a while - when he did, he looked straight into my eyes and I woke up. 

The Emerald Lady

I proceeded from the back door, for a smoke at sundown, cutting through horizontal streets in a dimly lit neighbourhood – I was hoping to remain unseen, like a marauder in search for the grandeur. A cigarette in hand, Matchstick after matchstick, the breeze stole the spark; a stain of light persevered, the Emerald Lady had arrived, dancing through my eyes. She accompanied me towards the glows, the luminous currents of Kitsilano on a drizzling Friday evening. Dripping roads glistened as the auburn bulbs refracted outwards, she was swiftly in a discothèque, demanding a melody to complement her environment – an algorithmic bass echoed in the distance, we had to follow. We came across fellow travellers along the way, their silence worried us, she seemed to dislike the rectangular whites that tainted their corneas; they were too seamless for her, she liked to sway, disfigured. She spoke of her ancestry and the ways in which the flames came to be. I noticed a melancholy, a longing of some sort. Her vibrancy started to fade, I wasn’t ready to be left alone. The silent goodbye was promptly interrupted by a boom of a siren, an ambulance that flooded my senses – she had disappeared.

Stunned by the swapping lights and vibrating asphalt that slowly began to decline, I could only see blatant outlines in a blurry haze. Polygons of various sizes engulfed the space, embodying the souls of shelters and signals; I was intimidated by the linearity, as if I was surrounded by deities of faultlessness. Chrome and stone, glass and steel, this realm was heaving with rigidity, enunciating its power – its posture in the face of nature. My lenses recalibrated, I found myself in front of a residential gate, black metal bars past a plain sheet of glass. My body’s reflection had surfaced behind the bars, a prisoner of some sort; as an unshackled outsider, I felt the need to interrogate the body, its arrangement – the curves in the midst of all these impeccable lines. I recoiled towards a darker alleyway immensely decorated with steel and carbon thread, intertwined and overlapping with no symmetry; a day in the life of a drunken spider, I imagined. A scent of compost emerged, followed by the sound of rain softly disintegrating a cardboard box. I was witnessing a spectacle of degradation, the inevitable end to life, and the unsympathetic reality of temporality. The alleyways became a place of rupture, an escape from the neon fantasies on commercial streets and the paved suburbia.

The bone-jolting frequencies of the bass had finally surfaced in full-form, resonating from a nearby bar. I observed as waiters and waitresses systematically served tables, like an uninterrupted tango, reiterated immaculately. A strong gust flew past me, I was drawn into the crackling leaves on nearly bare trees, trapped in the concrete – I could feel them choking, gasping for air. I was reminded our conversation, she had articulated the trees with such finesse, “custodians of sacrifice”, as she puts it; they were loyal, they died for her time and time again, for they must scorch for her to breed – but here they are, shackled in the rain, striving. They guarded a meshed barrier that encased a community garden, rows and rows of numbered coffin-shaped planters, barren or empty. It is conceivable that such spaces exist as way of coping with the constant clatter, the buzzing sounds of wires and rides in the rapid pace of a day – the unavoidable struggle to survive in a world where material governs. I was unwanted in the garden, for all entrances were sealed with thick locks – brass ruled the area. I watched as cars and buses fled by, closely observing the ways in which light gambolled on the glass, transfiguring into an abstract elastic, before dissipating into a void. It felt as though I was witnessing an invisible world, an environment that could only be discovered through immobility. I caught a glimpse of a nearby window, a perpetual flow of white flashes drained through the venetian blinds, as though a thunderstorm had made its home in an uptown apartment – I was drawn into the inconsistency, but I was afraid of it too. Perhaps it was the persuaded tendency to be alert at the sight of a flash, like traffic lights and emergency vehicles, or the subconscious association with weaponry – I had decided to challenge those interpretations. An ambulance whooshed by once again, a sign to relocate, just as I did before. I traversed a street, downhill, towards the ocean; I was searching for stillness, a tranquility from the roaring city.

I had reached my destination, my scope of vision had expanded, I was exposed to a vastness – and so my mind had to follow. I gazed above, to mountaintops with bright lights attempting to pierce through the fog; it resembled a unique constellation, as if I were somehow floating in an abyss of stars. I tugged a cigarette from my pack, I was hoping that the darkness would be substantial enough for her to remerge – matchstick after matchstick, to my enchantment, the Emerald Lady had arrived once again. Her figure juxtaposed behind the city vista, a stark comparison of the manufactured and the organic, a clear picture of past and present. We spoke of light, its different forms, and its innate desire to guide and mentor; whatever its intention may be. The city was immersed with light, the moon was always a secondary source, darkened by the vitality of surrounding illuminations. I squinted and contemplated the city from afar –pulsing polychromatic strings flooded my eye, interlacing and forking. She had merged in with the others, a vibrant green amongst the rest, swimming in a reverie. And in a blink, she departed, to where the ghosts of light mingle in the darkness, awaiting a summoning from a fellow traveler.