Archive for September, 2016

I managed to squeeze a quick overnight visit to London into my weekend, and check out the annualย  London tattoo convention. I rate this convention as one of the best anywhere, lots of amazing international artists ply their trade that you would never get to see any other way. You can just stand and watch them work, flip through their portfolios and maybe pick up a print of their artwork if they have any for sale. I go into full throttle nerd mode when I’m there, it’s great to watch all the different ways of tattooing, machines and inks. Everyone has their own way of dong what is essentially the same basic process, there are of course the ones who use no electricity, only hand tapping the ink into the skin

and for those of us who use machines, there are a lot of trade stalls where you can browse different kinds of them, run them and see how they perform. Endless fun!

I noticed that some of the tattooists who were blowing us all away just a couple of years ago, and who were feted and hailed as gods, had been overtaken by the next ‘big thing’ and were not being paid much attention to

things develop and progress at such a rate, and the new talent is coming thick and fast with hundreds of thousands of ‘instagram followers’ in their tail, that it’s a case of here today, gone tomorrow. I was left wondering if the age of the ‘super star tattooist’ had passed. It’s hard to come up with anything new, and the boundaries of technical ability has pretty much gone as far as it can with the prevalence of incredible photo realism- what can you do now to blow people away?

I think I noticed a few more artist who were producing more dark and gritty, illustrative work, maybe that’s a reaction to all the photo realistic portraits and roses. here are some of my favourites

there were a few artist who had ‘black metal’ style logos, you know the ones that no one can make out what they say

whoooo?

I loved this guy’s stall. No portfolio. No nothing except business cards and three horrible, massive, rusty nails. Nice! ๐Ÿ™‚

this guy is always fun to watch. he charges something like ยฃ400 euros an hour, but it must work out an ok deal, because when he gets going he is like possessed, going at a furious pace. i hate to think what that feels like.

With my interest in Japanese tattoos, I’m always pleased to see The Daddy of modern japanese tattooing, Shige of Yellow Blaze studio in Japan. I owe him a lot.

Also spotted Horiyoshi III’s son tattooing, I didn’t know anything about this person, but he’s certainly got a good start in his career with a dad like that!

Apart from the tattoo convention i enjoyed a trip down Brick Lane, where i was staying. It’s hard to beat for street food, vibe and quirkiness!

This guy made me some healthy pancakes with coconut chocolate on top. I love how the urban art in the background makes him look like a kind of saint- a pancake saint!

London is always fun for people spotting

and here’s a guy selling coffee from out of the top of a London cab. Genius.

beautiful detail reminding us that Brick lane used to be the centre of tailoring with the immigration of the Huguenots

The next day i had time to go and look at some paintings, another one of my favourite past times. I spotted some tattoos on a couple of paintings from 1851! Captain Cook had brought the idea of tattoos back from his voyages onlyย  ~50 years earlier, so to see them in a painting is quite remarkable. You need to look carefully at the forearms in the bottom of the compositions, it may not be that obvious in the photos, but when you’re standing in front of the paintings the tattoos are very obvious.

as for tattoos I did this week, there was Laurenne’s cute ‘mon mon‘ cat (we designed our own) with her lily of the valley. In progress

also nice and colourful is Kirsty’s manga style piece, the flowers and peacock are based on a spray painted mural, and we might still add some of the more urban looking drippy detail in the background. The peacock covers some scarring left over from some terrible tattooing and some heavy handed lasering. None of it by us, i hasten to add

gareth’s tiger got some colour

dave’s black and grey sleeve is making progress

and Scott’s sleeve is finally finished, after having started it 6 years ago!

We made a start on Andrew’s half sleeve, today we tackled the cover up . The pin up will be surrounded by fairly dense detail, Andrew has a whole pile of ideas he would like incorporated, so we will see where this leads us. So far I’m liking his ideas

and last but not least another installment on Tony’s leg piece

September, and my time to pack my bags and go to work in Hamburg for a week, at my friend Charly’s studio ‘Jungbluth’. I have some lovely regulars in Hamburg, including of course Martje, who is getting quite a bit of work done including this colourful goddess we are working on. The goddess is Kwan Yin, the goddess of compassion and mercy- or as Martje calls her ‘the vegan chick’ ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Danker decided to get some another wing/ feathers kind of shape to connect to one we did a while ago, and to connect with another, older piece to make a sleeve. We got some of the shading done, and apart from finishing that next time, we also want to add some dates in the gaps. The dates will be in a rough typewriter font, done in a punky ‘ransom letter’ kind of graphic style, with splashes of red and black. Danker sings in a punk band, so this look will be perfect for him.

Christine is getting a fairy backpiece, we did the last session on this when Christine was in scotland, travelling around in her beautiful campervan. We were all pretty jealous of her motor!

Lisa got a dram catcher on her side, this piece was a struggle for her from the first dot til the last, poor lisa!! We tried everything for the pain, numbing creams of all types, but nothing really worked. I felt terrible. Some people are just very sensitive to pain, and the ribs are famously tender. We got there in the end, but I would love to get a chance to work on it just a bit more…poor Lisa will probably kill me though.

Even though I only go to Hamburg twice a year, I’ve managed to do a full back piece and a chest piece on Marko, just chipping away at it every time I’m over. (Actually, he did come to Scotland once in between, too. Good old easyjet flies direct these days) This time we started on a half sleeve, as usual Marko has a wonderfully eclectic mixture of graphic elements he wants to include, my job is to fit them together and make it work. The top is a masked lady that on first glance could also be a butterfly, going into a softly shaded city scape with trees and a wee figure crossing a tight rope. There is also some lettering in there, we made a good start on the basics, but I can’t wait to see this finished!

back in Edinburgh, I had Gerald in who has decided to take his sleeve down onto his hand. He likes this illustrative skull, which works well with the work we have been building up on his arm over the years. make that decades haha!

We also added a little bit a script on the forearm, it’s from a bottle of jameson whisky ๐Ÿ™‚

Ian was after a night sky to tie together some existing pieces he had been collecting on his upper arm. Once this has settled in I will revisit it and make sure all works together with the older tattoos.

Mark is getting a fiery dragon in warm colours and with autumn leaves, as a contrasting colour we added some teals to the belly scales and crest. Some yellow in the flames and hair will finish this off nicely.

also working on some pink roses as scar cover up

Laurenne fell in love with the mon mon cats

(by artist Horitomo), so we designed one just for her, with peacock feathers. This is just the first session, there will be flowers surrounding the cat and background, love it ๐Ÿ™‚

 

I had two weeks off at the beginning of august, one for doing Edinburgh festival stuff/ lazing around in the garden (which was great ๐Ÿ™‚ )

and one pretty much for fecking jury duty. I was cited for the tuesday and managed to shift enough appointments to make it just about work,ย  ended up with 4 days off to do my jury duty. Of course I didn’t get picked the first day, got asked to come back on the third day, didn’t get picked, etc, and in the end I was excused. What a monumental waste of everyone’s time! Next time I’m called, I’m going online and booking a hotel for the dates- anywhere- and say I have aย  holiday booked and i can’t make it.

Anyway, rant over. I did some tattooing in the second half of august, so here goes!

roses are a popular choice, and I did a fair few recently. Here is Colin, who is getting a lot of roses eventually, with a few other objects of his choice in between. Roses compliment pretty much anything you put them with, a design classic that manages to be romantic without being sugary- I think that’s because of the thorns on the stems, they have a bit of a sinister side.

Dave is working on a dragon and foo dog sleeve, today we added a wee pagoda in the background. Nothing makes a scene look more japanese than a pagoda (although I did find myself wondering what actually goes on inside of them. I will look it up) (it’s a place of worship. must be small congregations)

my next piece is very romantic, Helen wanted a tattoo based on her wedding flowers. We chose the main features of the bouquet for her tattoo, and although there is still a bit of work to do, the resemblance is already there

Alex was in for a couple of finishing touches on his geisha and tengu sleeve. (The tengu artwork is not mine)

I covered some old self harm scars with some cute, illustrative daisies. I wish more people with these type of scars would chose to get them covered with a nice tattoo, it makes a remarkable difference.

If you have some, and have been advised that your only option is a skin graft, please come and see me!

my next customer, Kirsty, had had some lasering done on her old tattoo and was ready to get it covered. Kirsty had come across some manga style graffiti and loved the colours and chunky fluidity of it. We used these elements to our advantage, and will add a cute manga girl (not the ones in this artwork) and some drippy spray paint style background, too.

I’ve been tattooing some bright and colourful work on Alex, and she surprised me this time by saying she had experimented with her eyeliner on her tattoo, and was now in favour of some more black in the background.

this has the advantage of helping to bring out the different animals and figures, and tones down the overall brightness of it. I like it! I liked it bright, too, but the more muted effect really brings out the shapes.( the nymph piece at the top is not by me, I’ve just been adding on to it)

Another sleeve in progress, this one is for Elliot, and we are going for lots of movement and detail

and to finish how I started this blog- some roses. This will be a half sleeve of mostly black and grey ones, with maybe one coloured one somewhere. Samantha’s son has black and grey roses tattooed, so she is getting, some, too. It’s a family affair ๐Ÿ™‚

oh, and a wee piece i did, it’s reference to Dougie’s Hebridean heritage