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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you just found the perfect tattoo idea online.

listen to me.

if you see tattoos and artwork online that you really like and would like to have tattooed on you, that’s totally a good thing. the next step is not to copy that thing exactly, but to find a tattoo artist whose work you like, bring them that thing, and say “I want something like this, and I like this piece because (reason you really like that idea)”

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the tattoo artist will tell you they can’t copy it, and will draw you your very own tattoo using your taste and that idea as a starting point. that’s what good tattoo artists do.

it’s OK if you printed it out, traced it, or saved it to your phone for us to look at. don’t panic. it’s OK. just tell us that you found it online and want something like it because (reasons you like it so much). seriously, it’s OK, bring it along and tell us why you like it.

it’s good when you find things you’d love to wear. showing us that stuff helps us figure out what your taste is, what qualities you want in the finished piece. it’s totally fine to want similar ideas to other people’s tattoos. it’s just not OK to try to copy exactly.

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find a good tattoo artist, then talk to them. show them things you like. show them that perfect tattoo and tell them why it’s perfect. they can make it fit YOU.

we get into tattooing because we like to draw. part of our job is to figure out how to draw a thing that fits you and nobody else.

the other part of our job is to be able to reproduce a thing exactly. so if you find tattoo flash, (it’ll be labeled “tattoo flash” and have the artist’s name attached) let us know!

because usually you, or we, can buy the rights to do that. cheaply. plenty of artists draw works that are designed to be sold as tattoos. if we know the source, we can often get permission. you can also ask us what we have drawn- most of us have flash, prepared art, ideas and sketches of things we’d like to do.

 

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keep in mind you don’t HAVE to find exactly what you want. find your tattoo artist first, then show them the things related to the tattoo you want. we can work from stick figures and bad explanations! it’s part of the job.

(also, if you lie and say you drew it, we know you’re lying. although the internet is big, the tattoo industry is small and we all know each other.)

 

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over the holidays, December ’16

a few recent things.

 

I’ve added a few of the skull mounts to the shop section, I’m still photographing them and figuring out shipping costs.

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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

some recent works, since Halloween

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next year’s agenda

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So far, my plans for next year are sparse. I’ll be wintering in Spokane until March, when I’ll be working at the evergreen convention, then a week or so at high priestess right after. 

I’m hoping to work the Portland convention in the fall- depending on dates. I’ll likely work at the eye candy convention in NY state next fall again, too. I have not yet made any other plans!

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I’ll definitely be back in Seattle for at least a week or two, here and there, and I’ll try to make it to az/lv as well. I’ll be on the east coast in September/October if all goes well, too.

 

do you live somewhere I haven’t been? do you want a bunch of tattoos? drop a comment and let me know, I’ve got time for at least one distant drive (within the US) that I haven’t planned yet.

 

Northern California is possible, as is the Southeast.

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side note: I hate driving through Texas, so if I’ll have to do that, you better be ready to make me some dinner.

pennsylvania, on to NY state after this!

 

the most frightening sign

the most frightening sign

 

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