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How to choose a tattoo design when you’re completely clueless

Posted by resonanteye on 07/24/2014

10403044_10152164843797712_1077486435763939552_nIt can be hard to commit to one image that will be permanent. Some people just have too many ideas! Here are some ways you can decide what to get tattooed…Subject, style, and placement.

  • Find an image or subject that you like. If you don’t have any very specific ideas or you can’t find something you want to commit to permanently, abstract art is always an option. Simple, flowing shapes work very well on the human form, hence the popularity of “tribal” tattoos. You can even be as vague as wanting a shape, or a curve tattooed on you. “Abstract” means just that- there is no subject matter, and the meaning is obscured. This is a good choice if you’re indecisive or change your opinions from time to time.
  • Placement is important. Do you want to be able to see your tattoo? Then get it on the front half of your body. Would you like to be able to easily hide it? Get it on the thigh, or back, or calf (if you can wear knee socks). Do you want it to be a teaser? Get it so that part of it extends beyond the sleeve of your t-shirt from your upper arm. The easiest paces to get work done, and the best for long-term wear and tear, are the outside of the calf and thigh, the inside of the forearm, the outside of the upper arm, and the upper back. The most important thing though? Is where YOU want to see the tattoo. The pain only lasts a short time, but you will  be looking at the tattoo itself forever.
  • Abstract art works well too because you can invent new meaning or significance for the tattoo as you get older. Getting something that is pure decoration can save you the trouble of trying to commit to one point of view or meaning. Most tattoo artists enjoy doing some abstract work; just be sure the artist you choose works in the style you enjoy seeing. (more on this below!)
  • When seeking subject matter, keep an open mind. Look at tattoo magazines and imagine yourself as the people in the pictures. What would feel right for you? What can you relate to? Look at photographs and paintings that aren’t tattoo-related and imagine them on your skin, instead of on paper or canvas. Would it look right to you? If you have hobbies, think about whether there are objects or images that express them. If you have inside jokes with friends or loved ones, think of ways to express them with images. Getting matching images is usually not a jinx on a relationship the way getting a tattoo of someone’s name can be. Does your child have a favorite toy, or a nickname? Does your wife have a favorite flower? You can get her a bouquet, or memorialize this time in your child’s life, by tattooing it on you.
  • If it’s a tattoo for a relative, “Mom” or “Pop”, think about what kind of images they enjoy, and what their personality is like. Memorial tattoos and relationship tattoos, just like gifts, mean more if they are personal to the receiver.
  • Don’t feel hedged in to what you have already seen as a tattoo. The tattoo industry has expanded in technique and equipment rapidly in the last ten years or so, and besides being safer (with disposable equipment and such) the artistic possibilities are close to endless.  While not every design can be applied as-is, usually a few modifications can make it possible to do just about anything on skin. Look to all forms of art and photography for ideas and styles to apply to your tattoo.
  • Try to find your inspiration in your own taste and interests. If you like art nouveau vases, use them as reference. If you like wild animals, find some photographs of animals you find meaningful. Or simply look for shapes, motifs, and colors that you like.

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Posted in how-to, oregon tattoo artists, questions, surviving your first tattoo, tat zap wizard, Tattoo, tattooing, you | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

If you want to get rid of a tattoo, read this.

Posted by resonanteye on 07/23/2014

fullAs a tattoo artist, and as someone who’s had to remove a few unsightly tatoos, I can tell you that, unfortunately, it’s going to hurt. And it’s going to cost money.

In the past, people had to rely on some not-very-efficient methods of tattoo removal.

Dermabrasion, or “scrubbing”, was once the most common method of tattoo removal. Sadly, dermabrasion does not penetrate the skin deeply enough to remove a tattoo; unless it’s done improperly, the tattoo will only fade slightly. Effective dermabrasion leaves behind welts and large keloid scars. These are caused by the chemical burn to the underlayers of the skin, and can’t be removed or fixed. Unsightly scars are the most common outcome of dermabrasion.

Others have tried tattooing the area with hydrogen peroxide, or some other concoction. This usually has no effect on a previously existing tattoo. In theory, it should work. But in reality, the tattoo ink sits beneath the shedding layer of the skin. Reaching it in order to remove it takes more than just causing a fresh wound on the surface. These methods are about as effective as covering a tattoo up with water-in other words, it doesn’t work at all.

Unscrupulous people often try to sell “tattoo removal” kits which include chemicals, or patches imperganted with chemicals, to be applied over the area that is tattooed. Basically, these are simply methods for achieving a large chemical burn, and the massive wounding may ytemporarily hide the tattoo. Once it heals, though, you’re left with not only a bad tattoo you don’t want, but one which has scars all over the surface.

The only real option for completely removing a tattoo is the laser. These have been around for quite some time, but only within the last decade or so have they been used to remove tattoos.

The process is pretty painful; it feels like a hot rubber band being twanged against the skin repeatedly. However, most facilities use some kind of anaesthetic ointment before and during the process.

Laser tattoo removal can take time. To completely remove a tattoo, multiple sessions are required. Professionally-applied and brightly-colored inks are harder to remove than grey or faded amateur tattoos. This is because the ink used professionally is denser and of higher quality. After just one session, you should see some fading. After a few, the tattoo may be almost unnoticeable.

53b0e0c0 (1)Laser treatment has become less expensive and more accessible in general in the last few years. A half hour session now may only cost about the price of the tattoo. Multiple sessions to completely remove a tattoo can become pricey after a while, but for some people it’s worth it.

Many laser removal specialists will also work with your tattoo artist to lighten specific areas of a tattoo in order to make a cover-up tattoo more easily accomplished. Lightening an old tattoo in order to cover it more effectively is definitely an option for those who like having tattoos, but dislike a specific design they’ve gotten.

In short, don’t trust those who would sell you a shortcut for tattoo removal. The laser removal treatments are the only non-scarring choice for real tattooo removal. There are no shortcuts when it comes to your skin.

Posted in clients, complaints, dos and donts, health and safety, questions, removal, tat zap wizard, Tattoo, tattooing, you | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Does it hurt to get a tattoo?

Posted by resonanteye on 07/22/2014

6368_117697942711_7645712_nPain is defined as an unpleasant sensation. Most people avoid pain at all costs. Tattoos do hurt- but not in the way you’d think.

Most people, that is, who don’t work out, diet, wear makeup or high heels, or get tattooed. The phrase “no pain, no gain” is as apt with tattooing as with any other uncomfortable act people perform for a better reward. The profit, in this case, a permanent decoration, outweighs the discomfort.

Tattoos, while painful, are not distressingly so. The pain results from surface nerves in the upper layer of skin and the hair follicles being punctured or pressed on by a group of small, hair-fine needles inserted rapidly about 1-2 mm into the skin.

Tattoo needles in a typical tattoo machine move in and out so rapidly that they can’t be seen in motion, only as a blur. The sensation is not like punctures or pokes, but more like a continuous tingling scratch. Most of the damage to the skin is from the friction of the needles’ motion, not the punctures.

During a tattoo, sensations range from mild and almost dull to very sharp and intense. When the process first begins, the body responds strongly to the sensations, releasing endorphins (the same hormones that cause a “runner’s high”) and adrenalin. Adrenalin can cause a fight-or-flight response, making the process very uncomfortable at the beginning.

Once the endorphins are absorbed by the system, however, the sensations rapidly become duller and less urgent. The pain may be just as unpleasant, but becomes less intense and attention-grabbing. This is the stage some people refer to as “numbing”. Some people even fall asleep during this stage of a tattoo.

14991_381213057711_3789778_nThe endorphin rush associated with getting tattooed, or with running marathons, is notorious for becoming addictive. It is the same internal reaction that’s mimicked by the drugs ecstasy and morphine, among others.

Endorphins cause a warm inner glow, like that caused by running or tanning. They block the body’s pain receptors, so while they’re in the system other pains (like a sore back, or previous injury) are also diminished. They also flood the brain with dopamines, which allow the body to recover from injury by relaxing. This after-tattoo “buzz” more than makes up for the previous pain for many people, and can account for the addictiveness of tattooing.

People who are getting their first tattoo have usually weighed the pros and cons, and are interested enough in the personal expression to be gained by applying the image to deal with some level of pain. It is for most a planned decision; and most tattooed people will say that the first tattoo they acquired hurt much less than they’d anticipated.

So why, if they think it will be so painful, would they still get it done? Most would say it’s because they wanted the tattoo badly enough not to care. Some are seeking personal pride in having conquered the pain, using mind-over-matter as a test of their willpower or inner strength. Others are already adept at dealing with physical pain, and don’t see it as an obstacle at all; and a very small group actually enjoy pain. In ten years as a professional and busy tattoo artist, I’ve only met two of these out of thousands of clients.

Some say pain is change resisted, or that pain is growth, or that beauty is suffering. In short, people are willing to suffer in order to look the way they’d like to look. They will deal with some pain in order to bring their soul to the surface.

 

(written by me, originally published at this link)

Posted in complaints, deep thoughts, female tattoo artist, health and safety, interview with the artist, oregon tattoo artists, questions, surviving your first tattoo, tat zap wizard, Tattoo, tattooing, you | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

four essential aftercare tips for fresh tattoos.

Posted by resonanteye on 07/19/2014

398191_10151137265617712_1686171381_nTattoos, just like a fur or a pair of old favorite boots, require some care to stand the test of time.

Tattoos done before about 1990 have little hope of staying clear and unsullied by sun and weather and wear. The inks used before that time had many pigment ingredients which could react to sun exposure, and to the wearer’s own body fluids. These days, most tattoo inks used by professional artists are inert and hypo-allergenic, and at the very least should not react to the skin itself. They can still be faded and worn if not cared for properly. (Some people might still be allergic to certain inks, but it’s very rare.)

A tattoo is ink that is permanently set just under the translucent top layer of skin. This top layer is like an elastic window that you look through to see the ink. If the top layer is damaged or thickened or darkened, it becomes a dirty window. Age, sun exposure, and scars can all obscure a gorgeous tattoo and turn it into indecipherable mud. Also, the darker your skin, the more “tint” that window has.

  • First and most destructive on the list of tattoo-destroyers is the sun. Just as a photograph left in the sun will fade over time, the pigments in a tattoo will fade. The pigmentation of skin is a poor defense, and putting sunblock on your tattoo will keep it looking fresh over the years. If you tan, try using a high SPF lip balm, and apply it just to the tattooed area. If you use a stick lip balm you can use it like a crayon and color in just the tattoo, letting the skin right up to it tan. This makes the tattoo look even newer next to the tanned area. If you will be out in the sun use a high SPF sunblock, even if your tattoo was done last year. The pigments can be faded even after the tattoo is long healed. Don’t start with sunblock until the tattoo is at least two weeks old.
  • Second, wrinkles will obscure your tattoo, and may even distort it. Over the years, the cells in skin shift a bit and change relative position. As any dermatologist will tell you, avoiding sun exposure and staying hydrated keep wrinkles away. This will help your tattoo, also. Once the tattoo is applied it becomes part of your largest organ- your skin. What is good for your skin is good for your tattoo, too, so drink enough water. Moisturizing the tattooed area helps. Even years after the procedure, the area that was tattooed remembers the abrasion, and can get dehydrated more quickly than the rest of your skin. So be sure to continue moisturizing occasionally, even after the tattoo heals.
  • Third, accidents happen. Scars that destroy tattoos are almost never intentional. The good news is that most scars can be tattooed over. Unless the scar is raised more than 1/4 inch from the surface, or is heavily textured, there are many tattoo artists that are willing to repair or retouch scars. If you’re planning on repairing a tattoo that’s been scarred over, try to allow at least six months for the scar tissue to “settle”. Use some light vitamin E oil or Emu oil on it from time to time and massage against the grain of the scar. This can sometimes help reduce the texture of the scar, and makes the tissue softer and easier to tattoo over.
  • Last but not least, if your artist offers a free touch-up, take advantage of it within a few months. The best time to get tattooed is in the winter, when your new art won’t get exposed to the sun. But no matter when you get worked on, wait until after the summer sun has done its damage before you go back to get a touch-up. This way, the artist gets the satisfaction of a second look at your work, and you get to repair any damage the vacation did to your new ink.

 

When your artist gives you care instructions, follow them to the letter. Every artist uses different techniques to apply a tattoo, and usually they know which healing procedure will work best in conjunction with it. Artists use such a variety of needle, ink, and bandaging material- as well as the variatons in YOUR body’s healing ability- that it’s impossible to give out one universal set of aftercare directions.

532637_10150946499952712_7830756_nDon’t listen to your friends, other artists, or people you meet out and about. If you don’t trust the artist to know best, you should buy your tattoo from someone you DO trust. Pick an artist who you trust, and listen to them. They know how to help you heal your new work.

 

It’s OUR job to put the tattoo in just the right layer of your skin, just right. It’s YOUR job to do the other half- to heal your tattoo properly. Keep your tattoos clean while healing, and wash your hands before touching a fresh tattoo. Don’t wear tight things that will rub against or irritate your tattoo. Don’t swim or surf for the first few weeks. And most of all, let your tattoo get air.

A well-healed tattoo will make you happy for decades. Taking a few weeks to care for it properly is COMPLETELY worth it.

(written by me, originally published here)

Posted in art, clients, DIY, dos and donts, female tattoo artist, health and safety, oregon tattoo artists, posts with lists in them, questions, step by step, surviving your first tattoo, tat zap wizard, Tattoo, tattooing, you | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

What to do when your kid wants a tattoo!

Posted by resonanteye on 07/18/2014

164103_487686512711_1326404_nThere are a lot of younger people today who are very interested in tattoos. In many cultures tattoos are used as a rite of passage from youth to adulthood, and in our Western culture it is no different. The lack of culturally-based rites of passage and tests of maturity leads many teenagers to seek alternate forms of self-challenge, and tattooing is currently high on that list.

Children are only tattooed usually by indigenous or tribal groups to whom it is a cultural staple. Occasionally there will be a photograph of a child wearing airbrushed tattoos (which are painted on) in a magazine, but actual children are extremely rarely tattooed. If they are, it can be considered child abuse.

Although most jurisdictions outlaw the tattooing of minors, many children and teenagers will tattoo themselves at home, using sewing or other needles and common household dyes and inks. This can be extremely dangerous; using an unsterilized needle or one that has been used on another person can transmit disease or cause serious infections. Home-made tattoos tend to be deeper in the skin surface than professional tattoos, and this can lead to infections that cause excessive scarring.

Most commonly found dyes and inks in home use are not inert and can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Young people should NOT use household items to tattoo themselves; this is a given. That they WILL do it, is incontestable. Educating young people and explaining to them that sharing needles (no matter what sort of home “sterilization” they invent) can transmit HIV, hepatitis, and bacterial infections, is a good beginning; also it may help to explain that running a needle through flame, boiling it, or soaking it in alcohol or antibacterial wipes will not kill all bacteria or viruses that may be present.

221622_10150169153602712_298593_nIn addition, a home environment contains many bacteria and other germs that could infect a fresh tattoo. Lack of proper knowledge about cross-contamination and bloodborne pathogens can put kids at serious risk when they get tattooed in a home environment.

Since minors can not obtain a legal tattoo, they will often try to use fake ID to do so,and try going to a real studio instead of someone’s house. Usually shops can tell when they’re presented a fake ID, but a very well made one can occasionally slip through. Especially a real ID that belongs to someone who looks similar to the kid…

Parents should know that professional studios are not pleased about this; parents should always attempt to contact the studio where their child claims to have received a tattoo. Studios often are required by law to keep consent forms for up to two years, and can usually provide a copy of the false identification that was used. This is not negligence by the studio, but fraud by the minor. In some states the studio can prosecute the minor and their parent. Parents should make sure that their teenagers have no access to their wallets and purses.

When a teenager is nearing eighteen and the age of consent, parents should do research with them into studios they may frequent or patronize. It may be reassuring for parents to know that the studio is clean and reputable. Minors are often not welcome in tattoo studios without a parent; this can be a good opportunity for parents to ensure that if their teenager decides to get tattooed they are at least in a situation that is not unsafe or unhealthy.

Every professional tattoo shop should have an autoclave which is regularly spore tested, disposable latex or nitrile gloves should be used, and all workers there have proper health and safety training. Go with your kid, ask questions. We’re happy to explain all this stuff to you. We want all of our clients to be safe.

Bringing your teenager with you to investigate their options may also discourage them from performing unsafe tattoos on themselves at home, and may even dissuade them from getting a rebellion-motivated tattoo at all. After all, if parents approve, many teens won’t participate.

And if they decide to get one anyway, you will know where they’re going, and that they won’t be risking their health for it.

 

(originally published here)

Posted in clients, deep thoughts, dos and donts, health and safety, oregon tattoo artists, questions, surviving your first tattoo, tat zap wizard, Tattoo, tattooing, you | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

What can you do with a bad tattoo?

Posted by resonanteye on 07/17/2014

BEFORE, with marker drawing on top of old tattoo.

BEFORE, with marker drawing on top of old tattoo.

AFTER. old tattoo is no longer visible.

AFTER. old tattoo is no longer visible.

If only there was an eraser that worked on skin! All those past relationships and bad decisions would be so easy to forget.

Unfortunately, laser removal is the closest thing to the magic eraser, and it is expensive and painful.

Getting a coverup is a common solution. Here are a few easy things you can do to make sure you don’t make the same mistake twice-

Pretend you have no bad tattoo. Imagine a peaceful world in which that tattoo never even existed.

Now, picture a good tattoo on the area.

What does it look like?

Hint- it will NEVER be a current lover’s name, or the same as the old one, and it WILL be bigger than the bad tattoo.

Got it? Good. That’s your goal. Keep that image in your mind throughout these steps.

Things to keep in mind:

  • Your new tattoo will be larger than the old one.
  • Your new tattoo may cost much more than the old one.
  • You may need to get areas removed with laser, or tattooed over more than once.
  • Your new tattoo doesn’t have to be all-black, or very very dark. It just has to be planned properly.
befaft

instead of covering up an old tattoo, sometimes you can repair it. If you like the subject of the tattoo but not the execution, this is a good option.

Find an artist. Look at every tattoo shop and website you can find. Shop around- at shops. Don’t go to someone’s basement or home to get tattooed. Look at professional artists only. It will cost some money, since coverups take longer to do, but it will be worth it to get rid of the old mistake. A professional artist who likes to do cover-ups or repairs will take the time to work with your already-existing work; they may send you to a laser removal specialist to get certain areas lightened (much cheaper than total removal), and they can make the old tattoo disappear under the new one.

Look at all the portfolios you can, and pick up a few tattoo magazines. Who is doing something that is similar to the style of your imaginary, new tattoo?

Try to find someone whose work resembles what you’re picturing as your new tattoo. Don’t look at the subject matter, look at the style. Look at the color choices, placement, and way of drawing.

If you like it, it is good. This is your personal art collection, and your taste is all that matters.

Talk to an artist. For coverups, you will most likely have to go in person to the studio and talk to the artist. Ask them if they enjoy doing cover-ups or repairs.

Getting a firsthand look at the problem is the only way to really plan a cover-up. Listen to what they have to say; take it into account. They cover up old tattoos often and will probably have some good advice for you about your particular situation. If they tell you something isn’t possible, listen to them. If they give you advice about ways to hide the older piece, pay attention.

Coverups must usually be much larger than the old tattoo. They also must have at least some areas of shadow to hide any pre-existing dark areas. Tattoo inks are translucent, and a paler color will eventually let a darker one underneath it show through. This does not mean your coverup has to be all black.

“Tribal” designs are actually a very poor choice for a coverup design, as they rely on areas of smoothly curving negative space to be attractive to the eye. The negative space is empty skin, and usually it takes a lot of work to coordinate this negative space in a design with what is already present.

You will not usually find a design ready-made to cover up your tattoo. Remember, it can come up through lighter colors. Your artist will have to draw something specifically designed to hide your previous work.

This may take time, so be patient. They may want to trace the area so they can use reference to draw on at home, or they may suggest freehand work.

floral tattoo

cover-ups don’t have to be dark!

Freehand coverups done by good artists are the best solution to covering up an old unwanted tattoo. By drawing directly on the skin (drawing is done first with marker, then tattooed on) the artist can take into account the form of the old tattoo, as well as your anatomy.

The most important step in the entire process is finding the right artist. Look for someone you like, whose art you admire. Try to find an artist who enjoys not only coverups but also really appreciates the same kind of artwork that you do. Since all coverups are custom tattoos drawn by the tattoo artist, make sure the artist you pick has the same kind of taste you do.

Coverups can be very expensive. Tattoo artists know that if you had valued your personal canvas, and their artform, you wouldn’t need one! Be sure to tip well when getting a coverup done. Most artists spend more effort and time drawing for coverups than they would drawing an original tattoo, and most don’t charge anything for their drawing time. Be aware of this extra work they’ve done and tip accordingly.

You can’t get a coverup on the spur of the moment, unless it is so tiny that it’s hardly visible to begin with. You’ll have to plan in advance and think quite a bit about your new tattoo. Hasty decisions are the reason coverups exist in the first place, so take your time and do some research before you buy.

Getting a coverup may limit your choices in some ways, but the subject matter is still wide open. Knowing that it may have to be darker and larger should not keep you from getting a tattoo you can be proud of, and if you find the right artist you may even forget the old tattoo was there. If you have an idea of the subject matter you want, you can find a way to make it work, as long as you find someone who is capable of tackling the job.

Posted in clients, coverups, female tattoo artist, oregon tattoo artists, questions, repairs, tat zap wizard, Tattoo, tattooing, you | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

why does everything have those three lines and/or dots in it?

Posted by resonanteye on 07/08/2014

I always use three lines/three dots on anything I do. Sometimes they’re front and center, the focal point of the art, and Sometimes they’re obscured- hidden in the backdrop or repeated in a pattern so as to be less noticeable.

I began doing this because of the greek character Ξ, Xi. There’s a few layers of meaning there, and all of them combined made me interested in the symbol/shape, and that interest led to me using it as a part of my signature for a while. After that it migrated, getting further detached from my initials, and becoming more a part of the artwork. And from there it just sort of infiltrated every piece I make.

Back in the 80s-90s I was really interested in mindhacks and psychedelics and pTv and related art and music.

I did some work with sigils. I’m not a believer, not even agnostic, but I do know that our subconscious is a strong force, and that affecting it, changing it, tinkering in there, can bring some odd results. Working with visual symbols is one of my ongoing experiments- using an eye as the main focal point in a painting that is smaller and might be stolen from a gallery (even the most abstract eye affects the behavior of the people around it- see this study for details) or using hands, in various gestures, to suggest action to the viewer.

So while I have an abiding interest in all these things I am not any kind of believer. I do entertain the idea that Jung may have had a good point about how symbols and visual cues lead us, and have an impact on our lives, so it’s always been my effort to find ways to incorporate these things, at least subtly, into my work. The three lines/dots is a personal symbol, though, which I use in my art to influence MYSELF. So in the sense of it meaning something to the viewer, maybe- it’s done intentionally as a prompt to myself while working, though.

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Posted in art, artwork, deep thoughts, geek, interview with the artist, motivation, original art, painting, pictures, posts with links in them, questions, tarot deck, true stories, you | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

the struggle to decide; prints or not? downloads or not?

Posted by resonanteye on 06/27/2014

(originally published Published on: Sep 5, 2013)

I always struggle with the question of whether to make downloads of my work available, or prints. In one way, I hate doing it, because I like the idea of something I made with my own hands going to your hands, as it is, with no other stuff there. Then I realize some things.

  • If I was a musician, I’d sell records, not just perform live.
  • I can only make so many original things, in so much time.
  • I’d like to be able to earn enough from my art to make it worth the time and energy (see footnote)
  • I have to eat.
  • Many people want to be able to enjoy my work but couldn’t afford the cost of an original.
  • I can’t manage shipping and storefronts online and promotion for all of that, and STILL HAVE TIME FOR MAKING THINGS.

I will take these point-by-point.

shirtsIf I was a musician, I’d sell records. I’d want more people to enjoy my work than I could perform for in person. I’d want people to be able to take me anywhere with them. If I was a writer, I’d print books of my work. I wouldn’t expect people to only access my work through attending readings, or by buying the hand-written manuscript. I’d want my work to be accessible, something people could enjoy.  I also would maybe still sell the manuscript, or some signed first editions…but the books would be published, out there, even on a kindle.

I have two hands. If I work the equivalent of fulltime hours, I can make maybe four things, of substandard quality, in a week. I can make maybe one or two things of good quality in a week. I can make one great thing a month. Now…how much is minimum wage? Should I set all the art aside and get a job at McDonald’s? Because if I can only sell a piece of art one time, mcdonald’s will pay better, and maybe I should set this art stuff aside permanently and get a real job…I can only make so much stuff with my own two hands. But if I sell prints and let people download the works, I can post it – set it and forget it. I can sell those while I am busy making other new things, and can continue to make money from a piece for years sometimes, long after the original is sold or destroyed.

I love making art. I spend all my time making things. I do have to eat. So therefore I have to charge money and sell my work- my choice is, work a job which takes all my time, and rarely make anything, or sell my work at a reasonable price and live off that money. I love making art. The process of actually making things, well, I will do that no matter what. I’ve had my Kafka years, working fulltime then coming home and putting in another eight hours painting. But my work wasn’t as good. And I had no time to show it to anyone. I need the time to show my work- to scan it, photograph it, share it, post it. If I don’t make any money from a piece, I’ll still MAKE the piece- but I will not spend the time posting it and discussing it and sharing it with you, or with anyone. If I was lucky enough to have inherited wealth maybe I’d have that kind of luxury, but I don’t. I wish I did, really.

EPSON MFP imageAnd yeah- YOU GUYS are broke too! I mean everyone is hurting. Being poor shouldn’t mean you can’t enjoy or own art! I want to make things accessible to everyone as much as possible. So- digital downloads. Most people have a printer- or access to a library with a printer in it- and can pay me a few dollars for a file, take it there, pay a buck or two to print it, and hang it up. Prints are next in line- the quality will be better, professional grade, the print will last longer, years even. Limited run? Why? It seems like a waste of time, of energy. I put my initials and a number on them and they’re magically worth more somehow? No. I do handpainted prints though- the next higher price things- and those are fun. I can take an hour and embellish a painting I already did- make new details on it, play around. The buyer gets something unique, like an original, and I get to play…

I spend maybe an hour or two a day online writing copy for my work, explaining it, discussing it, sharing technical stuff, writing, posting, and keeping track of what has sold. I spend another hour or so every day taking photos, scanning, fixing the damn scanner. And another hour every other day packaging stuff to mail out, trying to keep track of what goes where. I am not good at any of these things. They are REAL WORK, hard work I don’t enjoy very much. I’d rather be actually making things. So this work- I need to streamline it, make it as handsfree as possible. Selling originals is difficult. I have to post it everywhere, and hope the right person sees it, and then once it’s sold, do it again, the entire process, from documenting the work to explaining it to answering questions and pricing it and packing it and shipping it. All that work has to be done completely from scratch, every time I sell an original.

A print? I scan it, touch it up, post it, and it’s done. I can leave it there, just like that, for years. People can buy it a year later, without any additional work from me. It’s what they call a secondary income stream, and as an artist working alone I NEED that to happen as much as possible. It frees up my hands for making more better things. The digital downloads are the same- even easier, in fact. There’s no parameters to set, no material-checking, no worrying about quality control. It’s set and forget.

EPSON MFP imageSo, in order to be able to make more and better art, and in order to live, I sell originals, downloads, AND prints of most things. I charge people a tiny bit extra if they buy an original and only want me to do a limited run of prints. I charge A LOT extra if someone buys something and wants me to make no prints at all…for example, A painting I make- the original is a hundred bucks. I will probably (if it’s a good painting) make another two hundred off of prints and downloads of it over the course of a year. For me to sell ONLY THE ORIGINAL and still pay my rent, I have to charge three hundred for that original, now.

Should I do that? Sometimes I want to. Because I love the idea of something I made with my own hands, being in YOUR hands, with nothing in between us. Also because I like originals myself. But I can’t manage to, or figure out how to, promote myself well enough to always sell my originals, let alone for three times what I have them priced at now. So unless a magical fairy of promotion comes and makes me famous or rich, without charging me anything or requiring more of my time to work it…I will keep selling prints and downloads, of nearly everything I make.

I love you guys. Those of you with two bucks, and those of you with a million. You’re all people I like, and I want you all to be able to touch and enjoy my work.

Posted in artwork, complaints, deep thoughts, ethics, how-to, interview with the artist, money, original art, other media, painting, politics, posts with links in them, prints, questions, stuff for sale, you | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 21 Comments »

Things your tattoo artist doesn’t tell you. (Part Two)

Posted by resonanteye on 01/06/2014

hourglass and candle tattoo

hourglass and burnt candle. two things.

Part one is here.

You can only get one tattoo at a time. I can only do one tattoo at a time. I know you have ten things you want to put into a tattoo- but that’s ten tattoos. And we can only do one thing at a time. Each important concept should have its own singular tattoo.

Most of  the time, you can pick two things. One object and one word or phrase. Two objects. And a color or mood for the background. That’s the limit, pretty much, for coherent, cohesive art on the skin. How big or small the tattoo is doesn’t really matter too much, with this. Good tattoos have flow, and are good to look at. Adding too much subject matter to any one space usually ends up terrible.

You have six siblings and you want to get a tattoo that represents ALL of them. So you think of six tattoos, and then ask us to somehow make that into one tattoo.

NO.

You can only get one tattoo at a time! If you need a tattoo for each of your siblings, I am sorry but you will either need to pick one thing that represents all of them, or get six tattoos.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in clients, complaints, deep thoughts, female tattoo artist, questions, Tattoo, tattooing, true stories, you | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

 
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