Friday, December 23, 2011

100th Blog Post!!!

I have done 100 of these blog posts and I think that is pretty cool. For a couple years, I've managed to keep this blog going, sometimes well, and sometimes not, but I've managed to keep it alive, and I hear a few people even check it out from time to time. I think I will keep this up, the blogging thing. though at the moment, I have very little to say, just more work to do.
I am exhausted, weary and overworked, and though at times all the odds seem against me, I would not trade my life for anything.

Thanks to everyone who reads my crap,and double thanks to all those people out there that let me draw on them permanently, you are more than clients or collectors, you are all friends, and also where I get all my good blog posts from.

There will be more Collector Spotlights (including a few about the collector as much as the work) and Design Galleries. Maybe a bit less political commentary and more philosophical musings. And of course the odd ball drawing or pic I feel like posting up. Instead of making crazy plans on how to maximize the blogpage, I think I will just keep up with what I've got going, and try to do it better,

Merry Christmas, good night, and see you on here next year!

Buddha in OM

As always, we've got to have a picture! This piece is available for tattoo, or something like it. 
Just give me a call! (602) 791-8396

Monday, December 19, 2011

TwistedBones BackBlades

Something cool I finished working on earlier today. been wanting to show it off properly.

"BackBlades" is all I could come up with for a name.

If you want to see more of my TwistedBone work, check out my sketchbooks. (links above) I also show tips on drawing these kind of pattern pieces.

Graphic Design: Business Cards

Before getting into tattoos, I did a lot of graphic design, and use those skills everyday when I am designing tattoos fro people, or working on a variety of projects. most of my professional background and official schooling is centered around graphic design (though I was a 3d animation major, that too was design)

I have been doing a lot of design work lately, most of which is commissioned work I can't yet show. I did however wanted to show off some of the most common private design work I do; business card design. and some t-shirt designs I would love to have hung up in my closet. after christmas (the timing is stupid, I know that) I'll work on adding some t-shirt designs to my cafe press store.

I have decided to separate this graphic design segment into a series of posts, spread it out a bit,  and then I can put more commentary into each section. This week will be the business cards, t-shirts next week, and more stuff after that! This may end up being a 4-5  post "mini series" segment. I will also use that time to put together a new tattoo post.

and as a small bonus, an album cover design.

A design for a Viking Folk Metal band, I had a lot of fun with this.

Business Cards - I cannot say how accurate the info is that is shown on these cards.

The Original Jade Monkey Design

The Comic house my friends and I started, the website has been down for some time tho.
Designed for a friend.

Some concrete guy.

Done my brother in law, who was starting an odd job kind of business with a friend of his.

Some of the Card designs I did while working at Artistic tattoo.
I always loved this look.

My first personal tattoo card.

This design was for my Tattoo Teacher.

This is a card design I never really got to use as I left Artistic shortly after finishing this. nice that  it gets a little time in the public view, I really like it (my current card is based of this design)

I really enjoy designing business cards, they are small, but have to communicate so much and are a vital part of anyone's personal marketing. A great challenge for any designer. If you don't have a card you're not very serious about what you do, and if your card looks boring or ill-conceived, then  you will seem that way as well. A business card is very often your first impression, and thus, your only one.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

It's hard out there for an Artist...

My First Portrait! Still fresh and incomplete, but I am very happy with how this has turned out so far.

Life doesn’t get any easier does it? The Tattoo biz is slow this time of year, in what has been the slowest year since I’ve gotten into tattooing. But then, I’ve never let something like that get in my way. I have been working on “other means” of income, something I didn’t worry so much about before my Daughter came into the world. But now it’s got to be a regular part of the game plan.

Vanessa's Lettering on the Ribs. We'll add "Aquetas" later.

I’ve been meaning to post some of my older projects, work I did before I got into tattoos, and I still plan to do so, but I have been pretty focused on getting more tattoo, and tattoo design work done, also putting together a new portfolio, something I’ve needed to do for a while now…

I still have my sketchbooks available through Superior Tattoo, and on Amazon as well, just follow the following links,   Book1       Book2  they make great Christmas gifts and can be a good source of ideas.

"God Speed"

I am also working on a set of Flash Art I will debut on This Site I am checking out. We’ll see if it turns out to be as cool as it claims, if so, you’ll find a lot of my work go up there.

I have also been working on a Sci-Fi novel, and a few other “hobby projects” that I will have to set aside for a bit as I get a few of these other tattoo projects sorted out.

Unfortunately, I will have to make some changes to the way I do things come this New Year. Most of which I will explain as time goes by, as things are still up in the air. “Evolve or Die” is the motto of the day! And I got a Baby to feed.  

Always felt this piece needed some musical notes...
A very cool Tree!
Of course what would a Blog post be without some pics to see, after all, you’re not here to read my babbling bullshit, but check out my work. At least, I hope you are. ha!

Most of these pics in this post are from a little ways back. But the Portrait, "Veritas" and this Tree here are pretty recent. Just looking to mix it up a bit.

I've been finishing up some large projects, a few back pieces and sleeves that are finally getting buttoned up. once I can get some good healed pics, I'll do a few new collector spotlights. - Bad ass band, everyone should check them out!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

A few cool pics

These pics are more of what I have been working on lately, some of it, such as the Matrix Sentinel piece are still works in progress.

This is the best I can do here. With Baby and Work, it's tough maintaining these little "hobbies" of mine. Ha!

Friday, November 11, 2011


Missed yesterdays post. have a lot of other priorities on my plate, and not the easiest time getting them taken care of. It's awesome how life's drama can just consume everything you do, shut down progress and dissolve into something different just a fast. Don't expect any clarification on that. The only thing I will bitch about publicly in a specific way is politics. No update until next thursday, no point in trying to make up for that lost time. It's just lost. Got lots to do now so I will see you next week!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

New Portfolio - A few samples.

I am putting together a new portfolio. Something a bit more up to date, considering it's been 2+ years since I've updated my print portfolio.

This time around I am going to include a lot more non tattoo art, some of the comic book stuff, and some original drawing and such.maybe even some of the really old stuff from the Vegas days and earlier.

Anyway, here are a few samples.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

How I almost lost my Shit, And some tattoos for your enjoyment!

    Before I get started with this post, I will point out that the pics in this post are not related to my story today in any way, there are just kind of a non-sequitur addition. So if you only want to check out the pics, or read the post, or whatever.... do what you like.

    I have a saying I like to use in regard to daily life realities; "It could be better, it also could be worse" and I  say this mostly remind myself of the fact that in good times and bad, you have to remind yourself that the moment will pass. And I like to think that I do well under certain kinds of pressure. Catastrophe is not a stranger in my life, but I remind myself a lot of cool shit has happened to me as well (I wont get into all of that here tho, maybe someday later)

    I bring this up because yesterday I literally avoided a massive catastrophic event. I say avoid, but it was more like rescued from it. See, my Primary Hard Drive failed, and there was nothing I could do to get it to work. This Hard Drive contains more than 15 years of work, 3/4 of a terabyte of Personal Photos of my family and Daughter that only exist on this drive, My Comic book work, art, scripts, comic layout files, Tattoo photos and designs for the past five years, files I keep on more than 200 clients, and thousands more pics of tats on people I don't have files on. Graphic Design, all of the Jade Monkey files and design.... you get the Idea, EVERYTHING, this drive was the back up.

    I very nearly had a panic attack. Closing and moving the Jade Monkey didn't feel like the kind of loss that I was facing..

    I had hooked it up as I normally do, to go through some files and get what I needed for today's Collector spotlight post, and nothing... it just didn't work. So I took the HD out of it's cute little case and removed the power/connection dock thing and find that it's a SATA drive. My computers still rock IDE so there was nothing more I could do with what I had. By this time I had already posted on Facebook about my plight, and started getting some messages of good people offering their assistance, and a good friend, Henry busted down to the shop to check out what was going on, and then went to the electronics store, got an external SATA docking station, hooked up my hard drive to it and we plugged that into my computer...

     Nothing again. It wasn't some other hardware failure, it was the drive. And after the past week, for just a moment, I just wanted to give up. But I've never been good at that sort of thing, so I resolved to plug on, no matter what happens.

     Henry took the hard drive home and continued to work his magic. A couple of hours later he texted me to let me know that he was transferring all of my files to another drive, I just have to get him back on the new HD.

    Whew. Fucking SAVED! Thank you Henry! You have no idea what you have saved for me, which is more than just a collection of files, but the body of my work as an artist, and the records of my life. As far as physical possessions go, there is nothing more precious to me than what is on that Hard Drive. If my house was on fire, I would save that drive before our cats (before people hate me for that statement, my cats are smart, I wouldn't have to save them, the hard drive can't run)

    So there it is, perhaps not so dramatic at story time here, but as a real life experience I felt very close to losing my grip. And only thanks to the help of a friend were my files able to be saved.

Yes, yes I KNOW, and you can be assured that I will have an additional backup of my primary drive in the future, maybe even backups that will be stored with my hard copy "Mourge" (that's what I call the boxes and crates of paper art that I have drawn since I was a kid, and if you're wondering, I'd let that shit burn before the cats, the hard drive would take 2 seconds to retrieve, the paper art weighs about 200lbs all together. )

Just as a side note. It seems kind off odd having these pics breaking up my story a bit, like some sort of commercial or something... anyway...

Monday, October 31, 2011


Today is one of the coolest holidays, and though I really dont have a lot go on about regarding halloween today, (I did that report in Art School) I do hope that everyone has a great time and wears something cool!

Her's a way too dark pic of the pumpkin I carved, I wanted the skull to look like it was floating.

Otherwise, I got a sick baby, damn weather changes. And a couple of tattoos lined up today, hopefully I finish this Walking Dead Zombie piece I have planned and maybe show it here later tonight!

it'll be a night of passing out candy, and my dog Lola flipping out at all the kids coming up to the door.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

To the 99%: Stand up!

First they will ignore us, then they will discredit us and finally, they will fight us, that is when we win. Continue the Occupation! Don’t give up, don’t give in. We have always had more power than the System. It's time we used it for the good of the people.

So what is it that we want? What do we stand for? I cannot speak for others, but to me, this is why we stand against Wall Street, Corporate Greed, and Heavy handed capitalist influence in our political processes.

First off, the Government needs to reign in the banks and exert authority of the financial system, increase regulation on the market, reform the tax code, and take money out of politics (taxpayer funded, set amounts, no special interest or big bank/corp donations). END THE FED.

 This culture of class warfare, of sticking it to the middle class every single time has to end. When do we ask the Fabulously Wealthy to make a sacrifice or two? Why does the blood always come from the poor? When do we penalize American companies that transfer their workforce overseas? Why not charge them the same tariffs of any other foreign company.  When do we bar lobbyists and corp execs from taking federal jobs influencing their industry (BigPharma execs on the board of the FDA for example)

And if they can pay the banks off with taxpayer money for those bad mortgages, then they should bail out the people by considering those mortgages paid. Exonerate the debt of the people and tell the banks “you’re on your own” instead of the other way around. End Corporate welfare and oil subsidies, period.

What is the boom industry right now? Luxury goods. Why do the people on the ground, those people this nation is built on, continue to be marginalized and left to dwindle, while the few that have it all shouldn't be bothered to help out? That is class warfare. Especially when times are so rough, we cant ask those who are best positioned to help to lend a hand? When wealth is only increasing for the top 1% and decreasing for the rest of us? It’s hard to think that it’s not being done in some deliberate fashion.

Why is it so hard to do what is right for the people? What is the unintended consequence we’re not seeing of giving the American people their opportunities back? Perhaps then we would get better educated and make better political choices and become aware of how we have been robbed and fooled for more than thirty years.

Unfortunately, companies and corporations don’t have to respect your rights under the Constitution. and they clearly do not have an interest to do so either. And that 1%, how did they get so rich? On the backs of the American Worker, gaining exploitive profits from our labor, and when our labor got to be too expensive to make MASSIVE, record setting profits year after year, they move their employment opportunities elsewhere, where foreign laws don’t limit how far they can exploit their labor force. Sure some of the 1% earned it from nothing, but how many are trust fund babies, inheritors of their parents or grandparents hard work and innovation, old money with no concept of what is it like to skip a meal, or rely on public transport or have to find a job to pay those most basic of bills. Those are the leeches of the nation; the few who would spend millions of dollars on luxury and extravagance, while so many suffer and live day to day, hand to mouth.

We should no longer tolerate remarks that discredit this movement or those who have been disenfranchised by the Great Recession, we are not dirty hippies, burnout losers, job dodgers, or violent. We are tired of getting the same end of the stick we always get, and being told to be thankful for that.

It is our Government that guarntees our rights, and passes laws to protect them. But our government is a tool of the people for mediation. A tool that we left to it’s own devices, like a car with no driver, we let the machine roll on without our guidance. Assuming it worked well enough on it’s own. We were wrong, and it’s time to take the power back. To take up the tools of government again and use them responsibly and for the protection of every citizen, and show the world how freedom is done. We cannot allow the corporations and the capitalist market to guide ourpolitical system. The sole purpose of a company is to gain profit for it’s owners. Any involvement of  a capitalist form in our law and rights is a direct threat to our freedom. (how many corporations are democracies?) Corporations have no obligation to treat human beings as anything more than tools, pawns for their own profit.

Govt is the only thing that protects your rights. All Wal-mart wants to do is take out a life insurance policy on you, without your knowledge, so they can cash in when you die. Who do you think is going to protect your rights? GM? Dupont? Motorola? Apple? Do you think they care? All they want is you to buy their shit. Perhaps anarchy is the answer? No govt at all like Somalia, where a warlord decides your rights. Your rights are a privilege extended to you by the constitution and protected by the government which is filled with officials elected by the People. Why would want to limit govts ability to protect you and therefore enable corporations to exploit you? That is what is happening. I don't trust govt, and I agree we should always keep a close eye on it and those we choose to run it, but it’s the tool of the people, not an enemy. It's up to us to take the needed steps to make sure govt works for us. 30+ years of not paying attention is what got us here. And we have allowed our govt to become weak and corrupt. If someone attacks the US. We don't call on Boeing to respond. We call on the govt and our military. Why should we want that to be weak or corrupt? How is being a corporate lobbyist representing BP's right to pollute in the United States more admirable than the Senator that wants to levy fines and regulations against polluters? Cause it's bad for profits? What about bad for the health of the people? Which is more important? Money or health then? The choice, ultimately falls in our hands.

I distrust the ability of government to remain uncorrupt on it's own. It Requires the regulatory body known as "We the People" to make sure that is an institution of integrity and credibility. We have not done that for so long that wemay have forgotten how, and are staring at the results of that right in the face. But it is the Government, and only the Govt that protects, enforces and ensures the rights of individuals, minorities, religion, and our land. It cannot do that anymore because Corporations don’t want it to, and the people have become apathetic towards their own condition.

Heaven forbid the govt from protecting it's people. It does this by making sure it's people are healthy, educated, secure in issues of personal and national safety, protection of intellectual property, protection of a fair, free market economy, fair and objective mediation of issues between parties within that country, and the rights and privileges provided and established by it's constitution, as writ by the people. IF this is not the function of Government, then what is?

We are of the Land of the Free, of inclusion, where we welcome those in the world who seek a better life for their families, and through history we have benefited from this in ways that have kept us great and strong. We are able to adapt and bring incredible progress to the entire world because of our system and how we allow each other to live. Free to choose our own individual destinies so long as we don not infringe on the rights and protections of other citizens. The Heart of our Founding was in  compromise, we work to find the middle ground of a nation that is home to citizens that come from every country in the world, religions that also span the globe, a market that is now global, cultures that clash because only here does every culture have to interact and mingle with respect and tolerance. It is not tolerated to marginalize a group of people no matter how small or how big in this country. Clearly such mediation is not easy to do or maintain in such a dynamically changing world and country. And we limit the govt’s ability to do this, and rightly so. The govt cannot tell me what job I get, when I work, how I work, who I work for or don’t, what , where, how or when I spend my time or money. Govt has no power and really little interest in these things. Govt shouldn’t care or recognize my religion, nor my color or sexual preference. And Govt should maintain the power to prevent other individuals and organizations from being able to decide any of those things for me. Private or public.

BUT Govt SHOULD enforce the recognition of our rights in relation to others and organizations. I cannot tell someone else how to live their life, for better or worse any more than they can tell me. And that should be protected and enforced as the highest priority of this nation. After all, the govt exists solely for the benefit of it's people, not business, religious, or military interest.

The Government system cannot be allowed to choose sides, or decide that one group or organization is more or less important than another. That is true equality, a govt blind to the idiosyncratic and cultural, social, racial, sexual differences of its citizenry. Govt must establish, encourage and maintain an atmosphere through general day to day life of this responsibility throughout the nation. Educating it's citizenry about is rights, responsibilities and power to regulate and operate the tool that is our government. (I have always felt a year of mandatory military service training would do a lot of good in the US, at the very least, to provide a unifying consistent culture to every citizen)

And it is the Govt's/OUR job to ensure that free market economy is not only free on one side, but both ends of the deal making table. That the consumer has enforceable rights to safe materials, and exploitation free products no matter where they come from, just as corporations are free to make as money as they can, and give their shareholders offensive bonus’s if it chooses to.

I am all about bringing the industrial world to third world countries and impoverished nations. But then let us move past the industrial age and embrace the information age and educate our people to lead in information technology industries and bring further progress and innovation to the world. Our freedom and a regulated market along with a small safety net to protect the least of us is what made this the country the incredible force that changed the world. It brought the telephone, cars, planes, trains, modern democracy, the rule of law by the people, credible representation in govt. mass manufacturing, television, internet, the best ideas come from America, No other country has changed the world in the past 250 years than the USA

However we have fallen into traps of our own designs. We are far too worried about protecting narrow interpretations of social behavior or ”normalness” that the govt should have no power to decide over, to really be bothered with what we really face: a new dark age ruled by fear, suspicion and ignorance. That is, If we don’t change course soon.

I could go on and on here. And I actually deleted quite a bit from this essay, I figured more than this and people would stop reading anyway.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


My younger Brother Colt is living with us now. He brought with him a game that is the worst possible kind of game to expose me to. Minecraft is a "sandbox" game, meaning you can do whatever you want in the environment with no set objectives or point, so it can never be "beaten" or finished. Combine that with an procedurally generated, infinite environment that is fully modifiable, and I have no defense. Just an incredible game that has got me spending all my free time creating whatever comes to mind...

Just a few pics of the game: 

The Menu. The yellow text is random and often funny, or weird.

I decided to make a floating castle in the game. And like anything else "art project" I had to design it on paper first.
My Castle Drawing

The finished design.

and this is why I should not ever play this game again... it is just too much fun.

At least this game has done one positive thing- I feel more creative and energized, and the psychological release from being totally consumed by the game has been a hell of a stress relief.

But now. Back to some REAL work. Tattoo's Comic strips, blog posts. Thinking of posting more of my comic book work as well.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Collector Spotlight #15 Marc Mendick's BoneGear

This weeks Collector Spotlight is a cool piece I started a while ago in my garage, while I was "between shops" And then we finished it in The 1st Jade Monkey. 

I really wish I had all the photos for this piece, most especially the marker drawings I did on Marc when we started this. We started this piece with a general concept: a BioMech shoulder cap, mixing machine and bone, and a bit of "let's see what happens". This is always a tough kind of project. too much freedom and I just don't know where to begin, too little though and there's almost no joy in a piece, the spontaneity is lost. Not the case here. we had a good direction and enough artistic freedom to put together something that would be well planned out (which is lost with too much freedom) and a flowing spontaneous design (which can be lost with too little freedom). The magic middle ground of design. unfortunately I have no pictures to show that first conceptual stage. 

Here we have shots of the shading. Building up values and contrast, the goal here was to establish what was in the foreground and background. Even though the distance of the two "grounds" isn't severe, we still want to show a dramatic difference in depth. 

Here we can see the details added. The green lights and white highlights to the bone. I was sure I had more photos of the progress of this piece, but this is what I've got. I wish I could show the many sessions in between these stages, as we gradually worked up the metal tones and bone elements. One of the biggest tricks of the piece was keeping each layer separate and distinct.

So this where it ends, so far. Marc wanted this piece left in a way where we could continue it further down his arm or up his shoulder. Whichever direction we need to go in the future. This piece is one of the first custom biomech designs I've done, and one of my all favorite pieces. I know it doesn't have that standard biomech look to it, and to me, that makes it so much more appealing. This piece won't seem trendy or derivative of another piece as time goes on.

A bit short, again. I just didn't have the pics I would prefer. I just recently started taking all of the staged out pics of my tattoo work and keeping them well organized for the Collector Spotlights and my personal records. 

I just figure that shouldn't stop me from showing these, my favorite pieces.

Saturday, October 8, 2011


I am participating in a fundraising event for Kids with Muscular Dystrophy. The event is that I will go to "jail" and my friends and family will "bail" me out with donations to the MDA here in Phoenix. I am asking you, my readers to donate a small amount to this cause to send kids with MD to a special camp just for them. If I reach my goal, it will send two kids to this camp.

Thank you so much for taking the time to Donate!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Collector Spotlight #14 AK's Bouquet Backpiece

"This time around we have Arlene's (AK) Flower Bouquet Back Piece. And this tattoo has been a lot of fun, a lot endless fun ha!(serious). We've been working on it for a while now, as it is still growing. This part however, the initial concept still is a great process for me to show. I have all the pics I need (two spotlights in a row!) to tell at least this part of the story.

Also you may notice a few changes to the overall layout on this spotlight. I have added the Jade Monkey Logo, my Chaos Logo, a watermark and a bit of contact info. I figure these pics are getting some global screen time now, I might as well make sure all the right info is on each image and some security behind the images. I'm not worried about images thieves or tattooists swiping my ideas, as they say imitation is the highest form a flattery. I do, however, want to back up that this all original work though. I will keep this kind of info on all the Spotlights I do from now on, and may add more.

But lets get to the point here shall we?
AK is a friend of my Aunt's and came to me with this Idea of a flower bouquet on her back that has some personal meaning, but wanted something with a lot of different flowers. Since she wanted things to be generally symmetrical, I kept that in mind with the composition but also didn't want it mirrored. so we mixed up the individual elements.
In the concept pic you can see that the right side is a bit bare, AK already had a couple of tattoos on her back. You'll see those in the image below. One, the unicorn, she wanted covered, and the Frog she wanted to keep. So I didn't have design the right side (her left) but I did have to figure out how to cover this old unicorn with a bright yellow and orange flower. Not the easiest way to go about a cover up but why go easy?
So here we have a few shots showing her before with the Frog and the Unicorn. No close ups, not much to see, yet. But here I also show the stencil applied, and the outline complete. A solid start to a complex piece. The trick is to look at it as a collection of smaller, more simple pieces, that way it doesn't get overwhelming and it's much easier to handle. I think I learned this concept in JROTC or math class or something... I'm not sure, some abstract idea I caught on to that has helped me in ways I cannot even list. I manage all of my work this way actually.
So here we have some shots of our color progress, as you can see I am not a photographer, but I manage. We worked the flowers a couple at a time. a couple hours at time. I  know a lot of other artists work in larger time blocks, but I've noticed that people tend to heal easier and faster with a moderate amount of work versus extreme. It's also more affordable for most people as well,and I dont get caught up feeling like the work I am doing is dragging on or boring. So in my case, working in sessions that last about 2-3 hours tends to work out better for me.
More shots of our color progress showing how the design has been integrated with the existing frog on the right. The focus was to bring the frog into the rest of the design and make it all seem as one.
The Left side, with the unicorn cover up shown here with the added hummingbird. We plan to add more "creatures" to the piece overall once everything planned for the back is done. Some bees and dragonflies. Maybe a few ladybugs and other fun garden wildlife. The cover up was a bit tricky as the colors for the flower are not the best colors to use for this kind of task. Yellow and orange typically don't cover dark colors well. But we lucked out being that the unicorn was a bit faded, and I was able to work the flower shading into the darker spots of the cover up without making it look too forced or awkward  Also using the complimentary colors  (blues, purples and greens) in the flowers around it help make those yellows and oranges seem brighter, manipulating our perceived contrast.
So with everything finished here. we can see the entire composition and how it it fits on the body. I really like how this piece turned out and I am confident that AK did as well. not long after completing her upper back bouquet piece, did she start talking about adding more. Ha! I love it when that happens. there is no better compliment to my work, than someone wanting more of it. And of course good art is never done, just as life is never complete.
So as a sample of what we are working on next. Adding to the flower arrangement with another set of flowers to bring this piece to a full back piece. We're including flower types that are not in the upper portion. As you can see we're already well under way and AK has even more Ideas once we are done with this segment, I will likely show the new progress in a "part2" to AK's Spotlight in the future. 

AK's piece wasn't the hardest, craziest, or most difficult tattoo I have done. But it is a piece I am quite proud of and am excited to keep working on. The challenges I enjoy about a piece like this is in arranging the flowers so they don't look like a mess, and each individual flower can be appreciated on it's own.

Oh, and I think it looks bad ass, but I am biased.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Collector Spotlight #13 Mitch Medeiros' Polynesian Tribal

How about another Collector Spotlight! This took a bit longer to put together, I actually had more photos than I felt needed, a first for this series.
 This week we have a Polynesian Tribal piece in the Marquesian Style. Designed by it's wearer, Mitch did quite a bad ass job putting this tribal pattern together. Being a very deep and personally symbolic piece for himself. I'm happy I was able to put it on him in a satisfactory way. In regard to my role in this piece, I just like to think of myself as the "labor". ha!
Here we have Mitch's Design, the majority of it at least. There are other parts you'll see in the tattoo that are not pictured here. Mitch spent a few months putting this together and had a few other versions before ending at what we have here. Clearly putting the time and consideration in this piece that other Collectors do not. That just seems to be the kind of guy Mitch is. I only point it out, because it's rare that a Collector does so much research on their own and produces the exact design as it should be in this manner, unless they are a tattoo artist.
 Here we have the stencil applied, looking pretty rough once we got it on, it took more than a few tries to get the design all pieced together right. Which as much a challenge as doing the tattoo itself. This stencil was the beginning of a night I will never forget, as we set out to finally outline something we had spend the past two hours just getting a stencil on. We were ready to rock this out! But that's not exactly how things went...
 You'll see that the initial outline was really rough. Probably the most crude outline I have ever done on  a piece of this kind. I kind of had to rush this out tho. The only outline I have ever rushed. You see, my wife went into labor around the time I started the outline, and I almost missed the birth of my Daughter. Mitch was very understanding though, and we cranked this outline out as quick as we could and I got the hell out of the shop and to the hospital to witness Liberty come into this world. 
That was a hell of a night. Not the night I expected, But one of the craziest nights of my life.
 After all of the new baby excitement and some time off, We got back to work and started on the blacks and heavy line work, cleaning up the rushed lines as we went. Focusing on the larger aspects first (always working from general to specific.)
 We added other elements, expanding the design to fit Mitch's shoulder more, and closed up a few awkward spaces. and It was back to filling in solid blacks and refining the rough, thin line work I left behind. The actual work of the tattoo, the lining and filling in black, was the easiest part of this entire piece, keeping where the blacks go and don't go sorted out in my head, and maintaining an exact and consistent organization to the piece, as best I could, that was the challenge. 
As we neared the completion of this piece, everything really started to come together in a solid Polynesian Design I couldn't have designed better myself. I was surprised at how clean and authentic looking this piece turned out. It's not the hardest tattoo I've done, but not the easiest either, and it certainly had it's unique challenges. Geometric designs like this can easily be warped out. If the design isn't considered carefully, you  can get caught up thinking your making some aspect "better" or "straighter" and because of the way the body is formed you are actually distorting that element, making it out of sync with the "visual flow" the piece has with the body.  A circle that looks perfect on the body, is more important than a circle being perfect geometrically. And a beautiful tattoo poorly placed on the body is worse than a poor tattoo well placed on the body. (Trust me, A tattooist can fix the lines, and color, but we can't move your tattoo a few inches over, or tilt it so it doesn't look crooked anymore, no one can.)
As you may notice there are some gaps in the design here and there, those are spots to be completed as events happen in Mitch's life, saved appropriately until those things happen, so this tattoo will be a "living piece" for Mitch, possibly never to be fully complete, as is life. And as I said in the beginning. I was just the labor on this project. The creation, meaning and spirit of this design are all it's wearers. I asked Mitch to write me up a little something to include here to share, since this is his work. Not mine. I think we'll close with that.
"There's no denying that the inspiration for this piece was Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's Marquesan shoulder cap.  They may look very similar but a whole lot of research went into making my piece one of a kind.  After learning how many different designs and motifs were used in this style (and that they all had their own individual meaning) I tried to make my piece tell the story of my life while staying true to the origins of the style.  In it, each family member, a number of important events, and friends are all specifically symbolized.  I also left room to signify future events (getting married, having children, etc) so that the piece can grow with me.  Levi and I worked hard as far as sizing and the correct fit and I'm extremely happy with the end result.  I've gotten all of my tattoos from Levi and I'm happy that I have.  He's great to work with and definitely wants to make sure that you are happy in the end.  Thanks again, Levi."