recently! (summer ’18)

working on assemblage for the October show

working on assemblage for the October show

pin and book set in the shop section of the site!

pin and book set in the shop section of the site!

an anniversary party on July sixth!

an anniversary party on July sixth!

a cover-up for Josie <3

a cover-up for Josie <3

two trips to the post office

two trips to the post office

self portrait

self portrait

flowers.

flowers.

the world on fire; new art, end of summer.

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my current interest/deal.

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the crew . i love these fine people.

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i have the spice.

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seattle tattoo convention.

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with some of my heroes.

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devil shin is nine years old, well healed and settled in.

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i also saw the eclipse and retreated to the forest.

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the world is on fire.

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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.

pennsylvania, on to NY state after this!

 

the most frightening sign

the most frightening sign

 

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Pennsylvania: Heritage tattoo in Easton, Abaddon tattoo in Pine Grove, and some family time.

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walk-in sign at abaddon

 

Photo-heavy post after the jump!

I’ll be at Abaddon until the 8th. I’m booked full except for an hour or two on this saturday.
After that I go on to Frankfort NY, to the electric eye candy convention. I’m teaching the seminar there on sunday at noon- if you want in on that, you can pre-register HERE (preregistration gets you a little extra swag.)

I think I have an hour or two open friday and saturday at that convention. Sunday is solidly booked though! Again…get a hold of me. You can use the form HERE if you’re not sure how to reach me.

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round two of the DayStar tour!

Eugene, Seattle, and Auburn WA.

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No, the magic is not gone.

strength tattoo on women

(originally published 07/04/2012)

I was reading both a blog post, and some forum posts, about the state of tattooing this past week, and had a startling realization.

There are tattoo artists out there who have never worked in a studio without being asked about a TV show.

The demand for tattoos, good tattoos, and the number of people tattooing, makes this a completely different subculture than it was when I started out.

Does this mean the magic is gone? Am I no longer a wizard? Did reality TV really eat the soul of tattooing?

Maybe a year or two ago I would have said yes, and ranted for a while about it. But right now- No. I don’t think the soul is gone, we are still wizards, and the magic is still there, and as potent as ever.

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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.

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“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.

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“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.

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“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.

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“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″.

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“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.

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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.

 

Process photos of recent paintings!

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a journey

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

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