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.

side note: this information applies to most any kind of scar, not just self injury.

 

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.

"don't cover them"

“don’t cover them”

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

using a scar as a design element

using a scar as a design element

after. the indentation and raised areas become an asset to the design

after. the indentation and raised areas become an asset to the design

 

 

 

 

December! the Inlander, and a few ideas.

I had an interview in the inlander, which was great. They were very easy to talk with and they quoted me correctly!

 

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also, a reminder; I’d like to do more works like the following images.

painterly flowers, solid black heavy rough edges, and high contrast works. winter is a good time to get a tattoo, mainly because it’s easy to heal this time of year. I’ll be at mom’s in Spokane (and in Eugene for the evergreen convention in March)

ukokprincess

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safety pins;

if you are capable and willing to defend someone who is being harassed or harmed, this is a great idea. I’m fully in support. there may be some naysayers but I think expressing this willingness to help others is a good thing.

you shouldn’t feel bad if you can’t help others or may be victimized yourself; but if you are able and willing to step in and stop others from being harassed and harmed this is a good way to express that, just in case.

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because I support this idea, on November 20 I’ll be doing safety pin silhouette tattoos (visible places only, wrist/hands/neck) or semicolon tattoos (any place on ya) for $50 (below our minimum.) first come, first served, from noon till five.

for each tattoo I do I’ll also donate ten bucks to the Southern Poverty Law Center to aid in their efforts to stop racism and misogyny.

 

I’m doing the semicolons as well, because not every person is able to step in and help others. some are not physically able, others are likely to get targeted themselves, or have other reasons.

bullying is often a contributing factor to suicide and suicide rates spiked in vulnerable populations this past few days, so I’d like to support those who are struggling with that, as well as those who are allies willing to step up and defend others.

 

feel free to share.

in other cities/areas, for safety pins,

Brent Schlemmer , (Indiana)
Kimber Teatro, (Portland, Oregon)
Curby Dickens (Salem, Oregon)
Club Tattoo Scottsdale (Arizona)
Suzen Tattoozen-Tanton (Eugene, OR)
Denise Gardner (Corvallis, OR)
Jessica Parrish, Ink Dreams Tattoo (TN)(will be donating to local soup kitchen for each tattoo done, the 21st)
George Long (Seattle, WA)
Premium Tattoo (Oakland, CA)
Steph Burnside (San Diego, CA)

 

I don’t know if they’re donating to anything, what day they’re doing this, or what they’re charging but you can look them up to find out.

 

if you’re a tattoo artist or shop doing something related, please comment- I’ll add you to the original post. then we can all share it so people in different regions can find someone who’s doing these.

xox #safespace #support #ilovemyclients #safetypin #semicolon #spokanewa #spokanetattoos #solidarity

Seminar: Passive income and social media use for tattoo artists

13912592_10153856265657712_6602799035210498873_nSeminar: Passive income and social media use for tattooers.

Even though we all make our daily bread tattooing, we all are also human beings, living inside bodies that can get broken or worn. When you’ve got slow times or an injury or illness, passive income is a good backup, and if done properly it will complement and improve your work on skin.

If you’re using social media at all- to share your tattoo work – or if you would like to start selling your other artwork online to reach a wider audience- this class is for you.

If you see the internet ad social media as a chore, hate pinterest, and fear theft- this class is for you.

Learn to use social media properly — without compromising your copyright.

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.

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.

Seminar text and cheatsheet handout packet, aftercare instructions, and legal consent form templates included.

round two of the DayStar tour!

Eugene, Seattle, and Auburn WA.

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Video seminar is live!


This streaming video contains about 2/3 of the information I present in my seminar. You can stream it as much as you like, pause and play, rewind, and take notes all you want.
If you’ve taken my seminar in person, email me to get the free version of this. If you stream this and wish to take my seminar in person, email me and you will get a discount when you attend!

All feedback is welcome. I hope this information helps you- it’s hard-won.

 

Three projects at a time

BEK

black-eyed kids

I’m back east in Spokane for a few weeks. In the time I’m here, I have to:

I leave October 1st and I won’t get home until the 26. It’s going to be a long trip full of events and work!

Here are some photos- small images from the new book. A picture or two of the seminar prep work (kinda boring to look at but the seminar itself will be out of this goddamn world, you should go preregister for it, because it’ll cost a little more if you just show up on the day)- and pictures of the lifesized predators.

Now, I had some of this work done from before- the seminar text I had written already, but not the slideshow or the handouts. I had the illustrations sketched, but in pencil and messy, not inked or scanned. I had copious notes for the book text but nothing completed or proofread. I had the shark nearly finished and the grolar bear and wolf sketched out as underpaintings. But everything else? I’ve had to work every day I’ve been home, sometimes pulling ten hour days on these projects. Not to mention I have another show going on all this month at a gallery in Seattle! I spent last month’s days off prepping for that.

Once I leave, I have no days off until halfway through the month. And then I will spend those days driving.

It’s going to be a long and rough road until November, but I think I can do it all. Then I can relax for two weeks. Then I’ll be in Seattle at the shop there for two weeks…and then I will not be working in December. Like, at all. Maybe on personal little things but NO big projects like this. It’ll be a nice break and I think my brain will need it by then.

Hope to see you guys at one of my stops on this trip!
(I’m totally booked for the trip for tattoos- except for one day in Redding, and one day in Phoenix. If nobody wants in I’m gonna take those days off, though. !!!)

jersey devil

jersey devil

deerwoman

deerwoman

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a short break

a short break

seminar stuf

seminar stuff

running on fumes?

running on fumes?

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meeting niharika and luisa

On this visit I got to meet two incredible, creative women. One was Niharika, who does costume/dress for movies in India. She is so sweet, funny, and stylish. And she made me feel stylish too.

I worked overtime one night and stayed late, and when I came home she gave me the most perfect soft sweater ever…
Also she took some pictures of me which are kind of funny. We had cactus tacos together, and she got a really fun floral tattoo (with wasps in it! I’ve been dying to do some wasps.)

Here are picture she took and pictures I took.

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Then I also got to meet Luisa, a glass worker from Mexico City. She’s Colombian, beautiful, and hilarious. We watched some episodes of the Strain together and talked about art, and she shared her coffee with me.
Here we are looking fantastic.
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And here she is with some of her work, which was marvelous. I got a pair of green glass ear weights from her.
In this picture is her work in mirrored glass.
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While all this was happening, the shop here got a new owner. She’s a really wonderful woman and incredible tattooer that I worked with ages ago- and I’m really glad to be working for her/with her again. Here’s a picture of all the women I work with right now, it’s so great to have a good mix of man and woman at work. I love working with other women.
There are men at the shop as well and they’re awesome too, but I had this photo of all of us ladies together so I figured I would post it.
vbnmjhg
Last but not least, I got my hair trimmed and fixed by Jordie, my favorite hair worker, I think she did an amazing job. I feel stylish. Between her, Jason, and Niharika I was a fashion queen this week.
cvbnmjh
I say Jason as well, because I got the most amazing glass ring that matches my eyes. He made it from matte glass and layers. You can see it in the photos up top that Niharika took of me, it looks like sunny side up eggs (just like my eyes)

spending a few winter days in Seattle!

all healed up!

all healed up!

I’m here until tomorrow night, and I’m having a great time.
I’ll be at Laughing Buddha taking walk-ins until tomorrow night at ten; I come back through in February too.

I’m spending all my off time getting ready for the Evergreen Convention in March. SO STOKED. After that convention I’m going to be in Oregon for a few weeks too, working. Can’t wait to see all my people there. The convention is a big thing for me though- I’ve been feeling like I need more learning time, and there are some seminars going on that weekend I’m really looking forward to taking. I always feel like I could be better at my work and sometimes I get really dejected, and feel like I’m not making progress. Having a teacher here and there banishes that feeling pretty fast though!

I really don’t like winter, but this year has been ok so far despite all the chilly moments. It’s been icy and snowy in Spokane but Seattle is just chill and damp, how I like it. If you live in the ice-bound states, I’m sending you an e-cup of cocoa.

 

Mandala, or mandorla?

karmic eye

mandala

I want to talk a little about why I paint and work with mandorlas rather than mandalas.

A mandala is a circular pattern, sometimes used ritually, which is built on radial symmetry. Each section of a mandala will be the same, drawing the eye into the center.  The eye moves into the middle distance, being drawn past the paper or surface and off into what it perceives as a distant center. This is subconscious and happens because of the radial symmetry. We’re accustomed to seeing lines of perspective radiating from the distant horizon in art, so our eye interprets the center of a mandala as being far away (even if the artist has used every means to make it come forward at us, visually).

I think this is all fine and dandy. But-

mandorla

 

Mathematically speaking, a mandala is based on the circle, a single-edged shape. They are often meant to represent wholeness or unity. A triangle has three edges, a square four, and so on. Each of these shapes, symbolically speaking, have their own meaning- their own particular use. For example, the pentagram has been used as a symbol for humanity. Arms, legs, head- making a five-pointed star. The symbolism of triangles with fertility (mother, father, child) or some kind of trinity of gods, is common. A square is often used to represent a church, an institution, the law. The circle, used as it is to represent oneness (since it is a shape constructed of one line) is well known among many religious traditions.

The mandorla? It’s really only used as a backdrop. As a containing symbol for other objects. I think, though, that it can stand on its own. It’s less often used, less the subject of an image, than a circle or a triangle. Hell, even seven-pointed stars are more common than a two-sided shape. Why is this?

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