all-saints’

IMG_20150309_182736

I’m not religious by any stetch and no amount of ceramic dominicans can change that.

all-saints’ day. i’m not religious but i was mainly raised catholic, my middle name is a saint’s name. patron saint of migraine sufferers and writers. she liked to read. she was a rebel at home so they sent her to the convent, which was a lot less strict than her family had been.

she of course was religious but not nearly enough. she had malaria and seizures and visions, and decided to promote reform in the church. “The only right prayers are those that create actíon. Prayer without action does go unheard.”

this was a bit of a mistake. the catholic church persecuted her and disliked that a woman was ‘teaching’. she lived a good long time though.

http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=208

I’m pretty sure that my middle name was intended to be the name of the “little flower”, st. therese. however it’s spelled as the english version of st. teresa of avila, which means they done screwed up and gave me a hotshooter as a namesaint rather than a quiet little girl, and I’m ok with that.

tomorrow is all-souls’, or dios de los muertos if you’re latinx/excatholic. a much more meaningful day for me. but I figured I’d share this tidbit about saints and middle names. what’s your middle name? who’s watching out for you?

Seminar at Portland Tattoo Expo, sunday Oct 11!

EPSON MFP imageI’ll be teaching a seminar at the PDX expo in October!

Click through here for more info and to sign up. Bring notepad, pen/pencil, phone or tablet, and questions when you show up for the class. Counts for two hours of continuing education!

Leveraging Social Media to Sell Art Online, for Tattooers

Learn to use social media properly — without compromising your copyright. We’ll cover print-on-demand services, pros and cons of social media use, networking as a strategy to find collectors, consolidating your media management, and getting more reach with your work online.

This class relates to the sale of secondary mediums beyond tattooing, and will go over the relationship between your existing client base and the collectors who will buy your work on paper rather than skin.

weird ways people have found this site, and their quick questions.

2008, work gear.

2008, work gear.

It’s time for the yearly list of weird searches that have brought people here, and questions that I can answer in a few words.
I can see search terms that people have used to find my site so every year I trawl through them and find the ones that make me giggle- or the ones that are simple questions I can answer. This year was a good year for this.

I was going to write something helpful today…

praying mantis shadowbox with teethI had planned to update my old post about lettering for tattoo art (because I’ve learned a lot since then)- but then…

today I looked over what it costs me to keep my websites up ad-free. two hundred bucks a year. It’s a lot, maybe too much. every year it takes a chunk and I always wonder if it’s worth it, that’s money I will only have if my car repair is cheap and I don’t go to the dentist. You know? That’s two months of internet and phone. That’s a doctor-bill payment.

The ads wouldn’t pay me anything, this is a non-commercial site, and I’ll never MAKE money from it. Even if I downgrade and allow the ads- they won’t pay me anything. This site is considered “adult content” so I can’t have any google ad network ads on it- and even if I did, my numbers would pay out maybe five bucks a year. Then there’s the content of those ads the hosting company would run, they’d be for crap I don’t endorse (THANKS GOOGLE YOU JERK) like tattoo schools (SCAM), unlicensed equipment (WTF), etc… and all it would do is lower my cost yearly to around thirty or forty bucks if I let them run them.

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the 6 worst pieces of promotion advice for artists, and the real solutions.

After countless suggestions of sites to use for promotion, I’m starting to realize that several things do not help at all:

1. Selling on more sites, adding more print-on-demand stores, or more marketing profiles.

fff

When you ask most people “how should I promote my art?” you will often get well-meaning people, telling you “you should sell at *printsite*!” or “are you on *marketsy* site yet?” or even “maybe you should sell them on *auctionworld*!”  “Do you have a *deviantshit* profile???” It’s as if they purposely misunderstood your question! “But I already sell on *somesite*!” You protest. “I already have a *americanartprints* profile, do I really need to be on *shirthoarders* too?”
You know, and I know, that you already ARE selling your work on a site like these. There is already at least one site out there with your work on it, for sale, clearly marked prices and all. What you need isn’t TEN MORE OF THOSE, you need PEOPLE TO GO TO THE ONES YOU ALREADY HAVE, and spend their money on your work. Yet asking how to do this never gets that kind of response! This is because most people have one or two sites they have heard of, vaguely, or bought something from once, and so they assume- if you are asking how to promote, it’s because you don’t even know where to list shit.

Most people aren’t trying to sell art. They’re buying it. So yeah- if ten people suggest *randomprintplace*, you should check it out, maybe. Because you already know ten people shop there. But be wary of paying for a bunch of shops or profiles on these sites, because they usually don’t offer much return. (If you DO need to know which sites to sell on, you’re not ready to promote the art yet. concentrate first on listing it, a lot of it, all in one place. I like redbubble for print-on-demand and squareup market for direct sales of originals. )

2. Writing in-depth or posting art directly on social media sites instead of your own.

nooo

I keep my favorites to the left.

Let me guess- you post your work to facebook, twitter, tumblr, instagram, googleplus, wanelo, weheartit, pinterest, linkedin, and maybe even a few dozen other places like this. You’re exhausted. You put off making stuff because you spend way too much time in an endless round of liking and sharing and pinning and chatting with people who never buy a damn thing. Then you get caught up in talking to friends and family, and somehow the day is gone and you actually didn’t do anything you could call “work”. I know. OH TRUST ME I KNOW. Then you go look at your own site, your own blog on your own domain and there’s only like two views. Ghost town. Well, of course it’s a ghost town! You don’t live there, you live in social networks, and you don’t invite anyone there- you talk to them on facebook!

How many people on there do you NOT know? How many people on there BUY things from you that way? I know I get sales to previous clients or friends on these sites sometimes, so it’s tempting to post there a lot, and spend time interacting, and all that…and call that “promotion”. But it’s not, really. It’s not work-related, it’s not promoting, if you do it that way. It’s either time spent with friends hanging out, or you’re just creating content for free so someone else can make money off of your work.
How social sites work, you see, is that people who make things and write stuff, they post these things on that site. That site then slaps ads everywhere and rolls in the dough. If they find out they can charge you to post your work too, they will. They’ll take the ad money YOU and YOUR WORK attracted, and ALSO charge you too. Without your work and your writing and your time spent there, THEY DO NOT MAKE MONEY FROM ADS or datasharing or…or any money AT ALL. YOU ARE PAYING THEM TO GET PAID. There are solutions to this, which will be in the next section (if you click through)

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around the shop

I came in way early (for me) today, and I had a little time to spare, so I took some pictures of things from around the shop.

It’s funny how every shop has its walls of sketches- one of my favorite things to do is look at everyone’s rough drawings.

some of my prints at the shop  (you can dig through them in person there if you're local)

some of my prints at the shop
(you can dig through them in person there if you’re local)

Pig skull tribal mount, hanging among its friends (she is also for sale)

Pig skull tribal mount, hanging among its friends
(she is also for sale)

Lisa's sketches

Lisa’s sketches hanging on her wall

Three ways to end a creative block, right this very instant.

noncomplianceFirst of all, sit down. Clear a place on the couch and sit your ass down. Creative blocks are evil. I mean evil, wicked, bad things that get all of us at some point. I hate when it happens, and the worst is when you get into that feedback loop- you know, worrying about it and trying to start working on stuff, but it won’t come, so then you worry some more, then try and you still can’t do anything, and so you worry…that worry and fear is the root of it, sometimes, and it can turn into a neverending battle.

Other times a block isn’t really a block- it’s that you have fed your head so much that it is still processing. You’ve taken in a lot of inspiring work or ideas lately from other artists, and now your brain needs some down time in the dark to ferment it all into delicious beer. (or bread. whatever.) Either way, you can end it. You actually can end it, but it’s going to suck, just like breaking down a real wall sucks and is heavy work. It’s not easy but it’s pretty much dead simple. (more…)

The evolution of tattoo culture

tiger tattoo

tiger tattoo

To understand the current popularity of tattoo art in the US and Europe, it is important to know a little bit about its past.

Tattooing is one of the oldest art forms known to exist. The oldest preserved human skin ever found is decorated with tattoos that were done during life. It is used as a form of expression in the majority of the world’s cultures, and has been used for many purposes throughout history. In the last century in the West, it has been less common than in other parts of the world and in previous times. Recently, there has been a resurgence in its popularity.

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The ten reasons people get tattoos.

time to make the donuts

time to make the donuts

Tattoos do have a purpose, although to some it may seem they are merely frivolous decoration, or a ploy for attention.

After giving it some thought, I’ve realized there are ten main reasons people come in to get tattooed. I personally have been tattooed for all of the reasons listed here, and more.

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What are your reasons for getting tattooed?

anji-marth-tattoos-and-art-70Tattoos do have a purpose, although to some it may seem they are merely frivolous decoration, or a ploy for attention.

In indigenous cultures, tattoos are used to mark rank or status. In the west in modern times, this still holds true for many people. Getting a child’s name or portrait marks the wearer’s status as a parent, for example. Some use tattoos to show their membership in a group such as a fraternity or gang, and others wear them as status symbols to express their positive personal qualities, such as wealth or the freedom to look as they please.

Tattoos in the west in previous decades carried a heavy stugma of social unacceptability, and this has contributed to the use of tattoos to mark “outsider” status in some groups. Bikers, gang members, and prisoners may get tattooed as a badge of pride in their outsider status.

Tattoos can also mark a momentous occasion for the wearer. The birth of a child, the beginning or end of a relationship, or the attainment of some goal are all personal milestones that some choose to remember with a tattoo.

full-3Some use a tattoo to express their political or religious feelings. Many young Christians get crosses and fish tattooed on them as reminders of their moral beliefs, and many people get symbols of their personal opinions tattooed on them.

Others use the tattoo to commemorate the life of a loved one who has died. These are currently popular due to some television shows’ use of similar stories.

Yet other people will get tattooed for superstitious reasons. Sailors even today will get a pig tattooed on one foot, and a chicken on the other, to prevent drowning. Many also get tattoos of talismans or personal symbols of good luck. Horseshoes are always popular.

2a62883f6a5facde8cd4ba3b8f98258b-d4d2ojnBy far the most common reason to get tattooed is to express a hidden aspect of the wearer’s personality. The majority of people I’ve tattooed over the last ten years have stated that this was the reason they decided to get tattooed. For some this is as simple as getting a single word in english, or in another language, such as “truth” or “love”. For others, it can involve a large and extensive custom drawing that contains many personal symbols or images that express the personality of the wearer.

Another purpose of tattooing is simple decoration. Some people love the way tattoos look, and get abstract designs intended to emphasize or beautify various body parts. Some use a decorative tattoo to hide flaws such as scars, stretch marks, or older, less-attractive tattoos.

In the ten years I have been tattooing people, out of thousands of clients, I have only ever encountered two or three that claimed to get tattooed because they liked the sensation. Usually the pain is a sacrifice people are willing to make in order to accomplish the purpose of the tattoo.

 

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