Tattooing

A Strong Shift in Perspective.

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”. 

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~

Fonts & Fine Lines

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 ~

3 - 5 - 9

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 ~

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