Tattoo

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 ~

Tattoo Booking Challenges

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? 

Ink

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? 

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?