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."