5 big mistakes people make when planning their tattoos (and how to avoid them)

Comments welcome!

1. Putting the cart before the horse (trying to get art together instead of finding an artist first)

owl tattooYour most important decision isn’t going to be the art itself, but the artist you choose to apply it. Before you even start putting together any images, you should start looking for an artist to do the tattoo. Most people assume they have to come in with some kind of finished piece and then hand that to just any artist, and they will get a good tattoo. This is pretty much backwards!

Look for a tattoo artist whose work you like, who works in a shop with a decent reputation, and who shows interest in your idea. The best way to do that is to simply search online, plugging in the name of your area or region and “tattoo artist”. Or, alternately, ask people you have met who have tattoos that you really like. Word of mouth is a good thing!

Choose the artist by their work. If they are doing tattoos that you think look awesome, it doesn’t matter if it’s the same subject you’re looking for. For example, if you want a bird on you, you don’t have to look for someone who can tattoo a bird. Every tattoo artist can and will tattoo a bird- it’s the WAY they will tattoo it, that you need to think about. Look at their STYLE. Do you like it? Not your mom, your partner, your friends. YOU. This will be your tattoo. So if you like their style, that’s what matters.

You can usually send an email to an artist or contact them online and present your subject matter to them, and see how interested they are. Sometimes your idea is fine but not exciting, and that’s ok…but sometimes you get lucky and the idea you have is one that THAT particular artist would really love to work on, and that’s always a good thing.

Once you’ve picked out a tattoo artist, go have a consult with them. They will make the art for you, as part of the tattoo process. Seriously. Finding an artist whose vision you trust means you don’t have to pay anyone else to draw for you.

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the horror movie list.

halloween tattoomy list of favorites… (new additions at the end)

the woman – domestic violence, rape, and revenge horror

possession (the one from the 80s) – monsters, divorces, and doppelgangers

altered – aliens and a hermit guy, innawoods

resolution – drug addiction, atmosphere, original premise, creepy spying, innawoods

slither – aliens, bad relationships, marriage, monsters

relic – bad science, monsters, sexy beasts

the seasoning house – brutality, warfare, rape, oppression, and revenge

from beyond – science, monsters, villianous experimentations

pontypool – language, viral plagues, zombies of a sort, bad day at the office

the grey – animal attacks, betrayal, isolation, survival horror, innawoods

the thing (80s) – brilliant. isolation, distrust, betrayal, aliens.

return of the living dead (any of the first three) – zombies that can speak.

dead end – dark humor, great acting, excellent dialogue, ghosts, innawoods

teeth – abstinence-only sex ed, incest, revenge.

trick r treat – werewolves, murderers, ghosts, pumpkins.

pieces – slasher film with lots of suspense moments.

pioughkeepsie tapes (if you’re a fan of true crime documentaries, you’ll love it)

s&man – mockumentary, self-referential to the horror genre and “extreme” video.

V/H/S – anthology film, harpies, ghosts, video nasties.

abcs of death – anthology, some artsy, some feminist, some violence, zombies.

the masters of horror series. varies

memories of a murder – serial killers, korean horror.

audition – best bad guy ever, gory

funny games – self-aware horror that breaks fourth wall
cabin in the woods – same

the pact – murders, ghosts, incest, abuse.

the host – monsters, claustrophobia

the frighteners – ghosts, bad cgi, JEFFREY COMBS’s BODY IS AN INSTRUMENT OF PAIN

the road (not the one with viggo in it. the foreign one)- ghost road

the shrine – demons, religions, eastern european fear

severance – killers, history, warfare, strife, business, bad days at the office, innawoods

andromeda strain – viral plagues, government fuckups

the mist – monsters, religious nuttery, perfect ending

the shining – domestic abuse, ghosts, evil places, creepy kids

the descent – claustrophobia, monsters, betrayal, great characters/acting, innawoods

anamorph – crime thriller, dark arts, murder

the stuff – consumerism, monsters, plagues, cassandra complexes, industrial espionage

troll – (NOT TROLL 2!) – naked julia louis-dreyfus, sonny bono, monsters, fairy badness, creepy kids

nightwatch – fate, monsters, secret worlds, russian behavior

primal – aussie mayhem, monsters, claustrophobia, isolation, innawoods horror

dogtooth – incest, abuse, control issues, isolation

barton fink – isolation, art horror, serial killers, mayhem, the life of the mind

call of cthulu – silent horror, monsters, elder gods, madness

dead man – existential horror, art horror, isolation, innawoods, ghosts

ravenous – cannibals, innawoods, isolation

american werewolf in london – monsters.

dog soldiers – monsters, betrayal, war games

may – social anxiety, medical weirdness, frankensteining

they live – a documentary

the changeling – possessed wheelchair, kid ghosts, perfect soundtrack

contracted – sexual repression, rape, body horror, gay rights being impeded

 

REAL THINGS THAT HAPPENED:

cropsey, dark days, the dust bowl (ken burns), tell me and I will forget, kinjongilia, reel injun, titicut follies, just melvin just evil, child of rage, a place for pedophiles, children underground, this entire series

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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Dr. Seuss and childfree artists.


I am childfree, and do not feel comfortable around, nor interested in, kids.

They disturb my mind in many ways. I do not have interest in them.

I do however remain childlike as myself; my life is lived even now as a Ville Villekulla, a bright and giddy place full of friends and art and craft and fun, and freedom. I live now the way I dreamt I would live when I was a child. I have built the life of my youthful daydreams into reality around me like a coiled shell.

It satisfies me.

Dr. Seuss had little interest in children. He found them disturbing to his peace of mind, he stated that he was opposed to the population boom, and he rarely made time for children in his life. He and his wife had no children, didn’t want them.

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(Originally Published on: Oct 26, 2011)

He lived in his imaginary world IN REAL LIFE, and the cares and concerns and woes that a child requires would not allow those things to stand. So he stayed away from children, for the most part.

Adults are just obsolete children and the hell with them both.””~Dr. Seuss

He did not enjoy the noise and commotion of children, and thought that perhaps if they were encouraged to use their minds and their imaginations instead of screeching and leaping around, they would become more capable and interesting adults one day.

“This book is to be read in bed.” 
― Dr. Seuss

Theodore Giessel was a very active man with unlimited skills in doggerel and inking strange creatures to fit. He was childfree- he had no children and wanted none.

.

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How to prepare specimens safely.

How to get the bones from animal remains you find that still have a bit of meat on them, and which are not dried out:

 Wear disposable gloves. Wild animals carry loads of diseases which you can in fact succumb to, such as rabies, flu, and even leprosy (YES, leprosy).

This is the low-investment method. You can also bury or macerate the remains to get the bones; but maggot cleaning will be less involved. You could get a beetle box, but maggot cleaning is less upkeep.

  • DO NOT BOIL OR SIMMER BONES. Cooked bones can and will ROT! Boiling breaks the fibers that hold bone together, making them brittle, and thinning them. Let nature do the work for you! (and keep the stink outside!)
  • Put them on a piece of window screen that is twice their size, and wrap them up in it. Fold over the edges to close it like a pocket, leaving a one inch opening on one end for flies and other insects to get in.
  • Hang the corpse-pocket up outside. You want it up out of reach of cats and dogs, but low enough that you can reach it. I hang remains from a tree limb near my house. You can also wrap the corpse this way and then bury it a foot deep or less. Either way, insects will do the cleaning for you. This will not work in winter though.
  • Wait a few weeks, less if it is hot/humid. check on your developments. at some point the bones will be fully exposed, and all meat will have been picked away by insects.
  • soak the bones in HOT water and blue Dawn dish detergent. Change out the water/detergent mix every day. It can cool off overnight, just use hot water to refill it each day. Use about two cups of Dawn per gallon of water. Do this until the bones are not yellowish with fat anymore.
  • Scrub the bones in cold water with more dish soap. Then soak again in HOT water, mixed 1:1 with regular old store-type peroxide. YOU DON’T NEED BLEACH; BLEACH WILL MAKE THE BONE CRUMBLY AND WEAK, AND SOFTEN IT. Peroxide and hot water will disinfect just as well, when used in conjunction with the soap soak. refill/continue soaking until the bone is as white as you’d like. I find that it usually takes three water changes to get the ivory-cream tone I prefer.
  • Dry the bones thoroughly, NOT IN THE SUN. Then spray, with a coat of matte UV protectant. Sun exposure, like bleach, degrades and weakens bone.
  • The best way to hang a skull is to string it on thick, soft twine through the orbital bones, then hang that on a hook on a mountboard. I like to attach the jaw as well, and pose and articulate bones- I’ll go over that stuff in a later post.

TEAL DEER: 

DON’T FUCKING BOIL OR BLEACH BONES! IT DESTROYS THEM!

How to disinfect feathers (legal ones- domestic and game birds)

Find out if they’re legal to own!

Wear disposable gloves.

Be especially cautious with feathers, because bird flu is an actual thing. So is west nile virus, salmonella, and more…

  • Figure out if it is a land or water bird. Water birds have oil in their feathers, land birds do not.
  • Figure out if the feather is legal to own or not. You can check the list here to find out.
  • Spray with alcohol (land bird) or tea tree oil, almond oil, or oil-based castile soap (water bird) and let dry.
  • Soak a paper towel with full-strength hand sanitizer, and wipe feather gently, in the direction of growth. Soak the feather well.
  • Tie a string to the base of the shaft and hang the feather, shaft up, overnight to dry out.
  • Using hot water, wipe the feather down again. Let dry. Use almond oil (water bird) or a damp cloth (land bird) to smooth the feather to shape it again. Again, let it dry completely.
  • Smooth out with your fingers to re-shape the feather and re-attach each strand of it.
  • To dye land-bird feathers, use translucent, lightfast inks (FW, or diluted liquid acrylics) and wipe ink onto feather surfaces in the pattern you want, or better yet, spray it on lightly. let it stand until the ink has dried, then wipe gently with a damp rag, using your fingers to smooth the surface and attach the strands.
  • To dye water bird feathers, use an oil paint, diluted with almond or walnut oil. Make sure to re-shape the feather several times during the drying period, or the strands will clump together.

TEAL DEER? MOST FEATHERS ARE ILLEGAL, DON’T BE A DUMBASS.

(you can find my work in these materials here or here)

originally written on: Aug 1, 2012
updated today

Five reasons some tattoos hurt more than others.

4e5e78bb33d5f17bc32071ea1be508d7-d3gtw12I hurt everyone the same. I’ve heard I have a heavy hand, a light hand, I’ve had people fall asleep, giggle, cry, complain, pass out, sit still and do nothing…all shades of response. But my machines are set one way and my hand is set one way and that doesn’t change unless you have leathery elbows and knuckles you want worked on and I have to pry the cells apart to get the ink in there at all…hurting people more takes more work than not hurting them. Think about it.

The reason I’ve heard all these things, when I’m doing the same thing every time?

 

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four essential aftercare tips for fresh tattoos.

398191_10151137265617712_1686171381_nTattoos, just like a fur or a pair of old favorite boots, require some care to stand the test of time.

Tattoos done before about 1990 have little hope of staying clear and unsullied by sun and weather and wear. The inks used before that time had many pigment ingredients which could react to sun exposure, and to the wearer’s own body fluids. These days, most tattoo inks used by professional artists are inert and hypo-allergenic, and at the very least should not react to the skin itself. They can still be faded and worn if not cared for properly. (Some people might still be allergic to certain inks, but it’s very rare.)

A tattoo is ink that is permanently set just under the translucent top layer of skin. This top layer is like an elastic window that you look through to see the ink. If the top layer is damaged or thickened or darkened, it becomes a dirty window. Age, sun exposure, and scars can all obscure a gorgeous tattoo and turn it into indecipherable mud. Also, the darker your skin, the more “tint” that window has.

  • First and most destructive on the list of tattoo-destroyers is the sun. Just as a photograph left in the sun will fade over time, the pigments in a tattoo will fade. The pigmentation of skin is a poor defense, and putting sunblock on your tattoo will keep it looking fresh over the years. If you tan, try using a high SPF lip balm, and apply it just to the tattooed area. If you use a stick lip balm you can use it like a crayon and color in just the tattoo, letting the skin right up to it tan. This makes the tattoo look even newer next to the tanned area. If you will be out in the sun use a high SPF sunblock, even if your tattoo was done last year. The pigments can be faded even after the tattoo is long healed. Don’t start with sunblock until the tattoo is at least two weeks old.
  • Second, wrinkles will obscure your tattoo, and may even distort it. Over the years, the cells in skin shift a bit and change relative position. As any dermatologist will tell you, avoiding sun exposure and staying hydrated keep wrinkles away. This will help your tattoo, also. Once the tattoo is applied it becomes part of your largest organ- your skin. What is good for your skin is good for your tattoo, too, so drink enough water. Moisturizing the tattooed area helps. Even years after the procedure, the area that was tattooed remembers the abrasion, and can get dehydrated more quickly than the rest of your skin. So be sure to continue moisturizing occasionally, even after the tattoo heals.
  • Third, accidents happen. Scars that destroy tattoos are almost never intentional. The good news is that most scars can be tattooed over. Unless the scar is raised more than 1/4 inch from the surface, or is heavily textured, there are many tattoo artists that are willing to repair or retouch scars. If you’re planning on repairing a tattoo that’s been scarred over, try to allow at least six months for the scar tissue to “settle”. Use some light vitamin E oil or Emu oil on it from time to time and massage against the grain of the scar. This can sometimes help reduce the texture of the scar, and makes the tissue softer and easier to tattoo over.
  • Last but not least, if your artist offers a free touch-up, take advantage of it within a few months. The best time to get tattooed is in the winter, when your new art won’t get exposed to the sun. But no matter when you get worked on, wait until after the summer sun has done its damage before you go back to get a touch-up. This way, the artist gets the satisfaction of a second look at your work, and you get to repair any damage the vacation did to your new ink.

When your artist gives you care instructions, follow them to the letter. Every artist uses different techniques to apply a

all healed up!

all healed up!

tattoo, and usually they know which healing procedure will work best in conjunction with it. Artists use such a variety of needle, ink, and bandaging material- as well as the variatons in YOUR body’s healing ability- that it’s impossible to give out one universal set of aftercare directions.

Don’t listen to your friends, other artists, or people you meet out and about. If you don’t trust the artist to know best, you should buy your tattoo from someone you DO trust. Pick an artist who you trust, and listen to them. They know how to help you heal your new work.

It’s OUR job to put the tattoo in just the right layer of your skin, just right. It’s YOUR job to do the other half- to heal your tattoo properly. Keep your tattoos clean while healing, and wash your hands before touching a fresh tattoo. Don’t wear tight things that will rub against or irritate your tattoo. Don’t swim or surf for the first few weeks. And most of all, let your tattoo get air.

A well-healed tattoo will make you happy for decades. Taking a few weeks to care for it properly is COMPLETELY worth it.

(written by me, originally published here)

Three things I miss about 1989.

tumblr_llv78nlRaH1qepg0fo1_500I miss watching Female Trouble a few times a week.


It was the first movie I had ever seen that completely acknowledged how I felt about life, that made perfect sense to me. It was reassuring in all the right ways and it influenced my speech, my life in fact. It made me feel all right about being a xenophile, and being unable to fit in. We were strange people and the world shit on us regularly- and somehow this movie made it all ok, because it meant there was a whole world of other strange people out there, and they all had been through it and survived. 

And yes, it came out in 1974- around when I was born(ish). But I saw it in 1989 and that for me is the era I associate it with, being that I was only a toddler when it was made.

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6 reasons to post your art online (even if you’re nervous)

shy owlI know, you’re shy! It’s ok, so am I.

Posting your art online can feel very exposing, much like a gallery show. Posting it to social media or other sites can feel scary; and a lot of the time the fear of negative response keeps people from presenting their work online. You don’t have to be afraid, though. Yes, you may get negative responses to your work. You may get criticisms, or even personal jabs at you. But there are benefits to posting online  that definitely outweigh the emotional turmoil these things can cause.

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holiday cards of all kinds.

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except in my house it’s solstice. hawkins has a huge box of ancient holiday cards, spanning from birthdays to halloween and every other holiday you can think of.

I’ve raided this pile to make my own holiday cards. most of the ones he has are pretty sappy, glurgey pictures of kittens laying on puppies and babies, twinkly reindeer and hearty santas with smiling children.

I can’t resist. I used a white matte paint marker, a calligraphy brush and ink, and a gel pen with glittery black ink to rework the cards, every last one of them.

I have never sent out cards before, it’s a new thing this year. I’m not sure why this year of all years but there you have it.

If you click through to read more, after the card pictures, there’s a pile of all the new stuff that I’ve been posting since last round of new-things-for-sale! I think anything you all order before the tenth is definitely going to get to you all on time, and I have a feeling that gifts you order up until the fifteenth have a good chance of making it as well. After that…well shit man, you need to buy presents early if you’re a present-buying person.

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new things after the jump.

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