twenty years.

I bought the resonanteye dot com domain twenty years ago, in 1997. it was lost to domain squatters in ’09 and again in ’13. so that sucks… but hey! twenty years of stupid, slowly progressing into something better (I hope).

 

 

happy birthday resonanteye website. happy birthday.

 

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1999

dreads?

Sorry it hurts, are you OK?

On memorial tattoos.

When you’ve lost someone close to you, tattooing is often a tool you can use in your grieving process. I do many memorial tattoos and I know from my own personal experience of getting them, that it can be really emotional.

The best thing to do, first of all, is to contact the artist and set up a consultation. Every artist is different, and what I do may not be what all artists do. So check in first, before assuming anything. That said, I deal with memorial tattoos by taking my cues from you. some people are light hearted, remembering good things. others are in mourning and need to cope with that. I’m not a therapist, just a person, so here is my take on memorials and how I set things up for you if you want one.

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You might want your own soundtrack. This is fine- the shop doesn’t need to change their music for this to happen. The shop music is for the people working in the shop and we don’t change it- however I’m more than happy to work on you while you listen to your own calming music or meditation tracks on good headphones. If you don’t have good noise reduction headphones, let me know- I have over-the-ear ones that are amazing, and will keep out the hustle and bustle of the shop for you, so you feel safer. I’ll let you borrow them.

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I’ll put up a screen if you’d like to have more privacy. Crying and feeling emotional are common things when we get memorial tattoos so please don’t feel worried if you need a moment to let it out, or if you get overwhelmed during the tattoo.

We can take breaks as needed. I usually charge for a break, if it’s one you need and not one I need- but in this case I stop the clock. i don’t charge for that time. It can take some minutes to calm down, to refocus. I respect that need and I want the tattoo to come out perfectly, so a little break for you to cry or breathe it out is OK. It’s not unusual and I’m not thinking poorly of you. There’s no need to get embarrassed about it. Everyone on earth loses things and people they love, and I have been through it too.

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Bringing along comforting objects like books, photos or a pillow can help, especially if you have sensory issues. A familiar (clean) blanket and pillow are always ok. A photo for you to look at, a book, or videos through headphones. this can also help you remember the good times, and make your tattoo a celebration of the person’s life instead of just a sad moment thinking about the loss.

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You’re welcome to bring a friend or loved one who is sharing in your grief, so that you can have someone to talk to, who really understands. I highly recommend this. Bringing someone along who also knew the person, or who is very supportive of you in your life, can really help. it’s difficult for me to both commiserate with you AND do the tattoo perfectly, so having that friend along to hold hands, tell stories, or just vent to, will help you get through things and still walk away with a good tattoo.

case in point.

images are always good, not just words.

I do a lot of lettering, dates of birth and death, names, as memorials. This is very classic and totally ok. It’s just fine to do a memorial that’s simple and understated. I also do a lot of meaningful images related to the person who died. If there was an in joke between you, a pet name, or something you both loved, using an image of that as your memorial is a great idea and a really good way to remember the person going forward- as someone who had a positive impact on your life in an active way.

think of your loved one as a star. what were their greatest hits? what was their joy in life? did they create something wonderful, do something valuable? these are all good ways to think of images to memorialize them, rather than just letters.

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I’ve also done tattoos that include cremains. This involves several steps- you’ll have to sift the ashes to get the lightest, finest ash. I’ll only need a tiny bit (the ink cup I use to pour out your ink into is very tiny, think a few drops) so a little sprinkling on top of that tiny cup is what we will use. You’ll need to bring them in the day before your appointment, so I can sterilize them for use and let them dry out. Then we will dust a small bit of them on top of the black ink we will be using. Cremains in tattoos is a debatable issue and a lot of tattoo artists will refuse to do this, and the do have good reasons. you may lose spots of ink during healing, since the ash has larger particles than the ink. However by sterilizing them ahead of time, we avoid any possible bacterial contamination of them and any other risks.

If your tattoo is a memorial don’t be shy about telling me or asking about these things. I’ve got memorial tattoos. I cried during a few of them. I wore headphones, hugged someone’s t shirt that smelled like them, I took breaks and I felt miserable. The process itself, though, seemed to help me work through my more awful feelings- and having someone there to discuss the good times with, seemed to help me the most.

one of my own memorial tattoos, on me.

a memorial tattoo on me.

 

we all grieve differently. if you’re getting a memorial tattoo, we should have a consult before your appointment, just to be sure we get everything settled for you, so you can use the process instead of feeling worse. Again, my concern is to do a good tattoo on you, that will give you positive feelings as you wear it over the years.

I’m not a therapist and I can’t help with the grieving process on that level. all I can do is give you a hug, and schedule you at the end of my day so I’m not bringing the weight of that loss in to my next appointment.

The truth about fan art.

Now, I’ll admit  that I’m a fan of things. I enjoy things. I have problematic favorites just like anyone else. wanted to get that out of the way before I proceed.

case in point.

case in point.

 

now, about fan art. I’ll do it. I’ll do a caricature tattoo (more painterly- I don’t do photorealism) of any thing you like- especially if I like it too. however, I don’t want to copy a still frame of a film, a production photo or an exact image of a character someone else owns the rights to. it seems like bad karma somehow. those folks worked long and hard and they need to get paid for that, they own the character, the art, the film itself.

 

so my solution has always been to find a reference, a pertinent moment, and refine it into an idea that references the original without interfering in the ownership of the image. I’ve fallen down on this, all tattoo artists have. a tattoo is personal use, you see, so as long as I’m not using it to promote or create follow-up products, I’m on the ok side of things.

 

I prefer the subtle approach. for example, right now I’m obsessed with Westworld. I’ve got sketches of every damn character, based on extensive research into the actors, not based on any one moment in the series. they’re loose, painted. I’m ready to tattoo these. once. one person gets them. I may post them and tag we online (they are open to fan art) but I’m not interested in exact reproductions. I want to capture a moment or meaning, not a face.

 

all the things there were mechanical until the "upgrade" to cheaper materials like meat and bones. they were beautiful, now they're just like us. including the horses, the bison. so there it is.

all the things there were mechanical until the “upgrade” to cheaper materials like meat and bones. they were beautiful, now they’re just like us. including the horses, the bison. so there it is.

 

they can't ride that train anywhere. it's a goddamn loop around the park areas. it's headed nowhere. they can't escape. who laid those tracks? there it is.

they can’t ride that train anywhere. it’s a goddamn loop around the park areas. it’s headed nowhere. they can’t escape. who laid those tracks? there it is.

 

I’ve been obsessed with other things over the years, of course. mostly horror and sci Fi. I’d rather do something that contains the meaning of a scene, rough and raw and laid in strong, than copy and break a law or even piss someone off. there’s a lot of celebrity images in the public domain, I tend to rely heavily on mugshots, government images, and my paid Getty images access for these. I’ll use these and some of the character’s words or token totem items to make the piece. crossovers are fun, too, if I’m a fan of the actor.

 

looking at you, Walken.

looking at you, Walken.

 

looking directly at you, goldblum.

looking directly at you, goldblum.

 

 

I’ll do some things. I have dodgy soft spots. if I’m geeking on the same thing as you, I am a marshmallow and I’ll do it. I feel bad afterwards, but I love some things too much to say no outright. and I usually only do this if the creator has died.

 

Ernst Haeckel, public domain actually.

Ernst Haeckel, public domain actually.

 

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I really want to change the things to make then more my style, more to your fit, more important. I want to bring out the abstract qualities the original creator didn’t do- I want the meaning, the pith. if you’re a fan of a thing I’m a fan of, expect our consultation to be a geek fest about our fan theories and conceptual framework, finding symbols to use without infringing on copyright. that’s my goal every time.

 

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they never kiss.

from the literary description of It.

from the literary description of It.

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painting of a little sister.

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I wanted a real turtle.

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I’ll go abstract as fuck to capture the most powerful Disney villains.

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had to add sex appeal, sadness, and painterly feeling.

if, like me, you find important moments in media, like books, movies, shows… come talk to me. I like a lot of stuff, mostly horror/sci Fi and a little weird standard fiction. I’ve got a list of things I’d love to do, on standby. if our interests match, we’re going to end up with magic.

 

I was more lax about copyright in the old times of my career. after all, I need the word of mouth, the internet brings me about half my clients, and known franchises and characters will consistently outpace original works. people like the familiar and you’ll see a crap copy of a screenshot from a movie with 19,900 likes and hearts and comments, while thoughtful original content gets ignored. it’s really difficult to deal with as a creator. I’ve chased that little bump before. Won’t do it again. anything related to a media franchise from now on is all OC based on the universe in which the characters are set, all characters drawn from copyright free sources.

 

I’m an artist and I know artists need to get paid. while I need the exposure copying and making fan art gives me, and I enjoy it with my particular interests, we’ve got to find ways to change things- to use elements that are meaningful in that universe, without simply tracing a damn thing.

 

currently I’m interested in Westworld, the Wire, better call Saul, Ursula k Leguin sf (not fantasy though), everything from Stephen King, Octavia Butler, any horror movie you can think of, and of course, any celebrity who’s a little off their rocker. I’d like to do an Idris Elba, Antony Hopkins, Charlize Theron, Gary Bussey, Grace Jones, any woman in a good strong character actually from any era. I’d like to paint character actors. I’d like to tattoo a lot more characters from fiction instead of movies. true crime! but then also, I’m a horror movie creep so I’d like that too. inglorious basterds! hey just try me. if I’m not a geek for it, I’ll know someone who is.

don hertzfeldt tattoo

OH GAWD HELP ME MY ANUS IS BLEEDIINNNN-

just no direct copies. I’m not made for photorealism, my work is rugged and strange and won’t work that way. you can contact me if you’re interested by email, or with the link here: resonanteye.net/gettattooed.

I’ve been focusing more on skin and less on paper, so these images start out loose, they get refined on the skin. it’s about your interest in a thing matching mine, and your trust in the process. but I’m gritting my teeth waiting for more of this in the schedule, so please, bring it my way.

 

please. my inner nerd is underfed.

 

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outline of center areas done elsewhere, repaired and added the rest. xox John Waters

ka is a wheel. piece still in progress.

ka is a wheel. piece still in progress.

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bring these to me. please. I’m in the mood.

start rough, then refine

working with landscape in tattooing, getting a natural look to a landscape

 

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also some extra things that have happened recently

 

 

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getting tattooed with scars from self-harm-answers to common questions.

I’m not going to include many photos in this post, to provide my clients with some privacy.

 

don hertzfeldt tattoo

 

I’ve got some scars from self harm. I know a lot of people do. it can be really embarrassing, or feel shameful to have them seen. if they’re in really visible areas, it’s even worse.

I’ve had mine covered with tattoos (I stopped cutting years ago, when I was still fairly young). I’ve gotten images that remind me of what I’ve been through and of what I’d like my future to look like. I want you to know you’re not alone with this, first of all. I also want you to know that not only are you not alone, I have seen and tattooed worse scars than yours- burn wounds, surgical scars, all of it. yes, you may have done serious damage to yourself, but no- it’s not impossible to tattoo over it.

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If you want to do this, here’s a few things to keep in mind.

  • you have to stop cutting in that area and adjoining areas for at least a few months before we can start working on it. the skin can only heal so much at once, so nearby open wounds will mess up the healing process of the tattoo. if you can’t entirely stop SH/SI, try to go lighter and in a completely different area for a while before you come for a tattoo.
  • make a consultation time with me first. that way we can figure out the pattern and texture of your scars and skin, what areas are “ripe” for tattooing and which may need more time. scars should be a little bit settled in before we tattoo on them, so the ink will hold properly. a consultation gives us a chance to also meet up and discuss what your goal is with the tattoo itself.
  • it’s OK if your goal is ‘hide these’, it’s OK if your goal is ’emphasize these’, it’s OK if your goal is to stop SH/SI and it’s OK if your goal has nothing to do with stopping. I won’t judge. I won’t look down on you. I know that you have your own reasons, and you don’t have to explain that to me or go into detail. you don’t have to relive your troubles just so that I will tattoo you. my goal is to make you happy with your tattoo- that’s all. I’m just here to make something positive happen for you.
  • minimal, crisp, geometric, thin-lined, pale, wispy art doesn’t cover or hide scars. if your goal is to camouflage the scars, we will likely end up doing painterly, saturated, textured organic shapes of some kind. branches, trees, flowers, plants, animals. things that have volume and texture. if your goal is NOT to hide or cover the scars, let me know, so that we can work out what you do want to do.
  • scars that are fresh, still healing, or very livid usually don’t take ink very well. usually, moisturizing often with vitamin e and/or a good scar reducing lotion for a few months will fix this. this is yet another reason to stop harming the skin in the area you want tattooed and the surrounding area. we need to give your cell walls a chance to regenerate, to hold the ink in.
  • don’t be afraid to email me or contact me EVEN IF you aren’t coming to me for the tattoo. I’ve been through some shit and I know how intimidating it can be to walk in to strangers and talk about this stuff. I can always answer questions, possibly suggest understanding artists in your area, or even just listen. I think everyone deserves a good experience when getting tattooed, and I’m here for that if you need it.
  • you’re likely to get an endorphin high during or after the tattoo, similar to what you’d get from shallow cuts or abrasions. getting heavily tattooed was part of how I broke my cycle of self harm- I realized I could get that sensation in other ways. it’s almost the same chemicals released as a “runner’s high”- so just speaking from personal experience, running and getting tattooed are both good ways to get that little kick, without doing more damage.
  • come prepared to comfort yourself. your favorite blanket, pillow, headphones, dress in comfy clothes. self-soothing is totally welcomed in my space, I will never mock you for making sure you’re comfortable and feeling safe. bring a snack as well, or something you like to munch or drink (no booze!) you can bring a friend or come alone- whatever makes you feel safer.

 

yes, that's me

me getting my upper arms worked on.

if you need further information, email me, or, preferably, comment below. I’ll try to answer any comments I get here as quickly as I can.

 

it goes without saying that SH/SI is dangerous and you shouldn’t do it. we all know that. but I know, and you know, that sometimes it’s a thing we do to cope, and we can’t just stop until you find better ways to cope with all the bullshit life throws at us. I hope we all find better ways to cope, I hope everyone reading this is able to find things that help. I did-and if I can do a thing I am damn sure that you can do the thing.

I understand that it takes time and work so again-don’t feel ashamed. It’s just a thing some of us do. Be as safe as you can be.

 

(sterile saline wound wash, steri-strips, and clean hands help a lot)

 

xox

 

 

 

all quiet on the eastern front

I’m in PA. (full tour tattoo dates are here). Here’s the trip, in all its glory. photo-heavy post after the jump.

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(more…)

some works from the archives.

These are the more popular things I’ve made available as prints over the last few years. They’re not all my own personal favorite pieces, but they’ve gotten the most attention and love from you guys. I think collecting them together here might give me some clues about what you all like so much, maybe.

Also I won’t be posting for a few days as we’ll be celebrating solstice here, but I’ll be back right after, on the 23rd. xox

“Down with the Ship”
This was a piece of tattoo flash I did as part of a series, and people really seem to like the sideways lighthouse in it. I did it at 11×14″ in watercolor, and did the linework with a nib pen and ink. The original sold and the prints have sold a lot too, I don’t often draw ships but I think I did a decent job on this one. You can still get some sizes of prints of this, here.

vjhbh

 

“Einstein”

I did a little contest on my facebook asking people to tell me the funniest story about someone falling down. My friend Tiny told a great story, and was the winner. The prize was a portrait of anyone famous they liked, they’d get to keep the original art. He chose Einstein, and man was he fun to draw. Lots of people seem to like this one. I tried to give him nice gentle eyes. Yes, there are still prints of him. I did this one at 8×12″ in colored pencil.

ein

 

“Red Highway”

The original of this, I gave to a collector of my work. It was a 10×13″ watercolor. Of all the landscapes I’ve done, people seem to be most interested in this one. Maybe it’s all that hot dawn cloud color. I’m not sure.

reda

 

“Dahlia with Dice”

Of all my still life work, this one gets the most attention. Maybe it’s the format, that high vertical? It was originally a 12×16″ watercolor painting. The prints of this one are popular and I’ve made a few handmade runs of it, as well as the open edition prints.

EPSON MFP image

 

“River Otter”

A lot of you guys love the animal totem series, and this guy is the crowd favorite. He’s a little more simple than some of the others, so I think a lot of people just really, really like otters. Colored pencil on handmade tinted paper, 8×12″.

ott

 

“Weeping Doll”

I’ve done handpainted prints of her. The original sold as soon as it was finished. I’ve redone the entire image twice and both reproductions by hand sold immediately. And the open edition prints…people really like this beat-up old doll. She’s pretty melacholy. It’s originally a 10×13″ watercolor on hotpress.

EPSON MFP image

 

Then, there’s “Shy Owl”. The most popular of them all. Due to the buyer of the original schmoozing me out of open edition printing, (I was an idiot and won’t be doing that so cheaply ever, EVER again) there are only cards available of this guy. Every print I did make of it, that limited amount, sold instantly. People email me asking for a print all the time. I’d be at least a few hundred dollars richer if I’d never said I’d only make a few prints of him.
An expensive lesson.

I'll never give up my reproduction rights so cheaply ever ever again.

I’ll never give up my reproduction rights so cheaply ever ever again.

 

materials post: oils, article in Brut Force

 

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I wanted to show you what I use with my oils. in this photo you can see at the top left an expandable wash bucket. I use detergent in the water, this is for any washing I have to do with my brushes, but I usually don’t. if you paint every day and rinse the brushes with turp when you’re done they stay soft.

in front of that you can see a good example of modernization. in the left is a bottle of “copal”. this new product is not copal, which is made from amber/pine resin, instead it’s some citric junk. next to itf you can see a corked bottle of real copal, which I’ve got a jug of hidden away from many years ago and dole out to myself in small quantities. I’ve been using this small jar for about a year.

in front of that is a sealable jar I use for turp. I get the odorless but it still stinks. I use this while I’m working to wipe paint off the brushes. nothing else.

on the right
you can see my paints. they’re antique, I inherited them. the cadmium paints I use aren’t hues (substitution colors) but real cad reds and yellows. it’s poisonous so I can’t eat a sandwich while I work. I’ve got a smallish tube of real rose madder which I hoard. this and the ultramarine are also very old. I think maybe 40s-60s era based on what I was told. they’re heavy pigments, really rich compared to the newer brands I tried. I use lead white from the same batch as well, I’ve got a lot of that. more poison!

the brushes- that big one is hog bristle. the next biggest is synthetic sable and very soft, I use it to blend. there’s a stippler there I use for scrubbing color into or off of the canvas. a few filbert and bright firm synthetics, small chisels, and then a really nice long real sable rigger.

I use a mayo tray as a palette, I’ve bought a few over the years for tattooing but this one got dented while I was traveling so it’s a palette now. I cover it with clingwrap at the end of the day so my paint stays soft.

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Here you can see everything set up for working. I use a mayo tray that unfortunately got dented as a palette. I’m working on two paintings, more about those in a minute. you can see I use a lot of paper towels too as well as a rough old rag. The not-paint-water mug makes its usual appearance, though when I work in oil it just holds the brushes. I don’t trust my brain. There is a bottle of Bob Ross gesso in this photograph. It is empty, I like having it there though. It reminds me not to eat paint.

 

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This is an underpainting, I don’t do them every time but this time I did. I then screwed up the painting beyond repair with some bad composition choices so it’s going to get scrubbed and I’ll reuse the canvas for another thing.

Here is a terrible blurry photo of the little seascape, which I think will turn out just fine.

This is a thin first layer just to lay in shape and tone. It’ll get a second layer, some detail and smoothing, and a glaze.

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I don’t use a lot of medium, I have liquin if I’m impatient and a stand oil too just in case but mostly I work fat, just paint, and heavy and thick. it takes a long time to dry but I like the look. the copal is my glaze at the end.

I use liquin early on, I like the early layers to dry fast. I keep two or three pieces going at once in oil, so something is always ready to be worked on. Going back and forth from watercolor is like stepping onto the ground from a carousel, though. Takes me a minute to get my sea legs back.

 

You have seen my watercolor setup, which is a lot simpler.

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I trust myself more when it’s water and not turp in the mug. All these things have been put away for a few weeks so I can work with oil for a bit. Then the oils will get packed into the box and these things will come back out. I used to have a few dining room tables, each with a different medium set up on it, so I didn’t have to pack things away like this. Right now my space is very limited so it’s one thing at a time. We are supposed to be putting in a shed studio though, so maybe that will change.

 

 

I also want to mention the fantastic magazine Brut Force, which recently interviewed me. The whole magazine is great and I feel a little out of my depth being in there among so many beautiful creative artists and their work. You can read about that here. I usually do not use the telephone but the interviewer had a good bedside manner and he got me through it with aplomb.

 

As a last thought, I’m planning to start scheduling posts by topic; I think mondays will be tech/materials day, tues will be tattoo advice or informaion, weds will be process shots, thrs or fri will be tattoo or other photos.

all-saints’

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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?

a journey

It’s very hot in AZ. Also there was lightning.

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