15 books that will change the way you tattoo (for the better)

owlbooksThere are a lot of great books on art out there, and I’m bound to miss a lot in my list. These are just books I have found incredibly helpful in my work, and which I refer to often.

These are not books of reference images (although I did come up in the time before google images took over, and every shop had its own reference library on site…I still can’t part with all those books!)

These are, instead, books about art in general, about art techniques, or about being an artist that I think apply very well to tattooing. If you have favorites that I do not list, please add a comment and link me to them! I read voraciously and love to find new sources of knowledge.

At least a few of these are free on kindle/ebooks, most are cheap, one or two are pricey, all are available and not rare.

 

An artist is not paid for his labor but for his vision.
To say to the painter that Nature is to be taken as she is, is to say to the player that he may sit on the piano.
~J. M. Whistler

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art and craft day with the roseburg kids.

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Today we had arts and crafts day here in Roseburg. I made these three sets of weights! Jimmy made a split sheet of flash, and Zack made a painting, and Annee made a pair of earrings with beads. Here’s some photos of everyone crafting and drawing.

I grew up the oldest of a bunch of kids. Until my brother was born, I was the only kid in a house full of people, uncles and aunts and grandparents and cousins. I love when there are a bunch of other people around making art, crafting, doing things. The energy of a group really makes it easier for me to work somehow. Even just someone in the other room writing, feeds my energy and my ambition to see things through.

Today was great.

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No, it's not a tattoo of Gary Busey.

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I spent most of my day working on this awesome owl, on this awesome guy! It’s a cover-up of an old tribal armband. His lady got this bird on a branch last year, and she is also awesome.

The owl took two big sessions to finish.

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No, it’s not a tattoo of Gary Busey.

DSC_0264 DSC_0270 DSC_0274 DSC_0276

 

I spent most of my day working on this awesome owl, on this awesome guy! It’s a cover-up of an old tribal armband. His lady got this bird on a branch last year, and she is also awesome.

The owl took two big sessions to finish.

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talk to strangers.

bride portrait

Originally published 12/5/2011

I was looking at the viewing statistics for the site here and noticed that one person among the couple hundred went through every post just about in the space of a day or two. OMG ARCHIVE BINGE! It made me extremely happy and I felt warm, and loved.

Whenever I find a site or an artist I like online I just read EVERYTHING from them, I will binge until I am reading their diary from ten years ago, if it’s posted. Like when I found crimelibrary the first time, or when I started looking at explodingdog. I just went nuts, spent all my internet time following the trail back to the start. I suddenly realized that you guys read my stuff and look at my site the same exact way I look at yours and that made me feel really good. So thank you, anonymous archive binge person, for making me both happy and more educated about what I am trying to do, and how people feel about it.

THEN- I have gotten a slew of emails from total strangers, asking questions, tattoo and art process stuff, and general sort of things. I LOVE talking to you guys. Man, if you’re reading my stuff someplace and suddenly have a question, and you email me that you like my things and want to know the answer, I get sweaty excited about it. It makes me feel good- I love sharing information, and while I am not the most educated or the most knowledgeable about everything the things I DO know I love to share. And sometimes even if I don’t know, I can send the question to someone who does. And that feels great too.

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And also- I spent the last few days interviewing a series of artists for a longer article I’m putting together. I’m working hard to write something useful about it. It’s taking me some time to assemble but I think it’ll be good. Talking to new people who get it, and who are working in smaller ways to affect the world- people who put their hands on the work and make things that have deeper meaning as well as visual aesthetics- that’s been really eye-opening and inspiring to me too.

Oh, and, last of all, I spent a day making paper. That was fun as all fuck, too.

I love talking to people about art. I don’t know how approachable I seem but really, I like talking to new people and I really feel great when I can help someone, give information, or just even see that people are interested in what I’m doing. So thanks guys for reading along.

If you have questions for me to answer, let me know in the comments. Or email me!

(you can find more of me by googling resonanteye, I am literally everywhere online. I talk to all the strangers!)

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…)

yelpers

tumblr_n7bjqcpvJp1sfnn0mo3_r3_500side note: they have the wrong website listed for me, and it’s been years since I worked in Corvallis. but don’t let that stop you!

did you have a mind-altering experience getting tattooed by me? If so, hit up the yelp page about me and share your mystical insight with the world. Now, yelp has a history of extortion, and of treating businesses badly. But I find it to be a fun place for you guys to express the strangeness of your time with me. I hate the way yelp treats restaurants in particular, people seem to be so mean to the wait staff then write on there to brag about it…Let’s make my little corner of yelp into something different. Something a little more…off-center.

You can see by the reviews that have already been posted that I hope you feel free to express yourself in detail and with a mind to the hidden aspects of your own experience.

Here’s the link, go hit it with your best flowery and psychedelic prose. The closer your review is to a David Lynch plot, the more I will love you for writing it. Also, tip your wait staff well as hell. Serving people food is one of the most emotionally draining jobs on earth.

 

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I'm learning instagram! Also, man tears and logging tattoos.

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This is Cody. He’s teaching me to instagram. (my name there is resonanteye)

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this isn’t political or anything, I just have a fetish for eye-water.

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simple tulip I colored in.

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just some sky.

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a gang of doglets.

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added on to an older tattoo I did years ago.

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how that tattoo looked all healed up before we added the text and sunset colors.

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an inch.

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apprentices.

I’m learning instagram! Also, man tears and logging tattoos.

10497256_10152279070637712_3793600154937322876_o

This is Cody. He’s teaching me to instagram. (my name there is resonanteye)

10440668_10152279295327712_6958900651736761659_n

this isn’t political or anything, I just have a fetish for eye-water.

10548332_10152279566617712_5763015077124912808_o

simple tulip I colored in.

10404339_10152274117152712_529879433899499100_n

just some sky.

10522473_10152274115847712_8650231444119354793_n

a gang of doglets.

10345923_10152272128827712_7173156773499527783_n

added on to an older tattoo I did years ago.

10494529_10152272128632712_7889055341943246950_n

how that tattoo looked all healed up before we added the text and sunset colors.

10334240_10152272129082712_1128309351944727929_n

an inch.

tumblr_inline_mzokt5aMYd1rtghi4

apprentices.

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

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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