Friday, February 26, 2010

Better late...

So to be clear it has been a bit since returning from the Milan Convention. Most of this post I actually wrote on the plane trip home, but only now got the opportunity to post it. The past two weeks have been a whirlwind of sorts. After returning home Turk stayed with us for an extra week to work. In that time he did some pretty damn amazing tattoos. You can check out his writing and photos from his stay on his site: Left Hand Black He tattooed me while he was here. Ill post photos when it's healed. I dont think i could be happier with it. He's is a great friend, and an amazingly talented artist. I look forward to seeing him again soon when he returns to the area for the Skindustry Expo in April.

Below is the part I wrote on the plane. It is tempting to not even post it now as some of it seems redundant to previous posts here... but the feelings were strong when I wrote them, so they should see the light of day, even if its a few weeks later..

Leaving the convention I was left with a few impressions I'll try to express without getting too deep...

I am coming home with a solid sense of confirmation. To explain, as I have written in previous posts, I have been attempting a change in the approach to my work. Largely focusing on establishing and embracing my influences, then trying to figure out what to do with that knowledge. I have always fought the desire to go too far down the road of an established "style" and lately have come to see that as a hinderance. In order to continue to do the sort of work that I enjoy, I really need to fully realize and promote that style.  At the convention this weekend I had the opportunity to really talk about that aspect of tattooing with folks I genuinely respect and admire. That is where the sense of confirmation comes from... Sometimes it's just nice to hear your thoughts backed up.

Tattooing is changing so much and so fast it is hard to fathom. The most dramatic to me is the concept of self promotion. It seems in order to stay on top of your game, you need to constantly remind people that you are in fact at the top of your game. It goes against my nature completely, but is no less a fact. The concept of just putting my head down and doing the best work I can is simply not enough. Don't be surprised to see me sending photos to magazines. I've done it twice in 19 years of tattooing. I think I need to up that a bit. There are lots of things I plan to get more involved with, of course time and money provided.

Anyhow, I wanted to post some more photos from the trip. These are all taken with my phone, but I will post the actual camera shots another time.

This is a lovely photo of our hosts Elodie and Sandro. I cannot thank them enough for all the did and put up with while we were their guests.

This is the elevator to their apartment. That thing alone made the place absurdly cool.

This was the view from our room.

Here is a Photo of a dear friend Safwan from Imago in Montreal. Here is his shops site, and here is his blog. (his recent post has an interview he did for a polish tattoo magazine where he brings up the state of tattooing today, and what we can do to better manage it) He made this machine for me... and it rules! I honestly got a little choked up when he gave it to me.
This is Dimitri signing a copy of his sketchbook to me. This guy's illustration based tattoos are incredible. His coworker Steph is equally amazing. Check out their work: Dimitri and Steph
This is a shot of the work in progress painting i posted sketches of in an earlier post. When i had some time hanging out at Elodie and Sandro's apartment i was able to work on it a bit. I decided it will be going to Safwan when it is finished as thanks for the machine he gave me.

We passed this on our way to dinner after the show each night. i don't know who did the treatment, but is was pretty damn funny

Thursday, February 11, 2010

A walk in the cemetary

Turk and I walked to the most amazing cemetary todAy. Sandro had work to do writing music (he's in a band I'll get into more at another time) so the two of us geeked out for a few hours. The cemetary is so massive, we spent a few hours there and still missed a good portion of it.

We are planning to head out for dinner and a bunch of drinks in a bit, so To conserve time I will just post photos. These were all taken on my phone. I took a ton with my camera that came out way better, but they will have to wait until I can upload them to my computer. These still came out well, but they don't really show the sheer scale of the place. Anyhow, here they are...

Location:Via Legnano,Milan,Italy

1st day in Milan

After being driven to the airport by a dear friend, (thanks Jim) We flew out of JFK. We got out about an hour before they grounded flights due to the snowstorm hitting the east coast yet again. It sounds like it was a good one. The storm last week started a roof leak in the shop that did a fair bit of damage to the walls and floor. I can only hope this storm doesn't make things much worse as all the new snow melts.

As for the flight, it was uneventful beyond the woman sleeping on the floor next to us. She was spread out in the center exit row. Turk and I tried to get some photos of her, but didn't want to use the flash and scare the other sleeping folks.

Upon arrival at around 8am local, the customs folks were great. I only wish all border crossings were as uneventful as that one. We took the train from the airport to downtown Milan where we met an old friend of Turk's (and a new friend of mine) named Sandro. He and his girlfriend Elodie are kind enough to let us stay the week with them in their amazing apartment.

After settling in at the apartment and recovering from the long flight, sandro took us for a walk around the city. It was a grey chilly day, but fine for a long walk. We made our way through the park directly across from their apartment. Walked through a castle where Holly and I spend a good bit of time going through Two years ago. It brought a sense of familiarity that I didn't expect. Form there we made our way to the Duomo Cathedral. Again this was a place Holly and I spent a bunch of time on the last trip to Milan. Having said that, this visit was no less impressive. I took a ton of photos that I will post here, but will have another post when I get the other shots from my camera. The photos will have to work in place of description because there are no words for the feeling brought on by this place. Both turk and Sandro are not fond of heights, but we still went to the rooftop of the cathedral. Again photos will have to do it justice where words cannot.

After leaving the Duomo, we walked around the city visiting a few galleries and antique shops. We also came across a pretty amazing art supply shop. We each picked up some pencils and sketchbooks in hopes of making the time to do some life drawing around the city.

Upon returning to the apartment Sandro started cooking dinner and we relaxed until Edodie got home from work. We ate, drank lots of wine, and talked politics late into the night.

All in all a pretty amazing first day in town.

Location:Via Legnano,Milan,Italy

Monday, February 1, 2010

less whine more substance...

So my last post was a bit on the negative side. Im sure I will get back on that topic again, but for now I’ll get back to the usually scheduled subject matter…

My head has been all over the place lately so it has been hard to focus long enough on any one thing to accomplish as much as I would like. I keep giving myself extra homework on top of my drawing for tattoos for each day. Some days, my focus is unwavering, and others I can’t even get a line on a page. Creativity is definitely something that comes and goes for me. I’m sure most folks reading this can relate. To a degree that is why I have been keeping this blog, to motivate myself as much as hopefully some other folks as well.

The Milan convention is coming up mid month, so I have been trying to get a new painting done for that. I have the concept drawing/layout figured out, the hotpress is stained and ready to go, I just need to transfer it and get to painting. Hell, there was even a point of going out to take some photos for reference. It feels good to go find the settings myself, instead of just finding photos from flickr or some other photo database. The photos that are going to be used are all from the creek just down from my home. Passing it every day, it will be fun to interpret it within the scene. One of these Sundays, I will just have to get my act together and set up a box to paint from life rather than photos. I’m pretty excited with the concept so the drawing came together pretty quick. I will post the storyline for the illustration once it is finished, for now I’ll just put up a blurry photo of the pencil drawing. (this was also posted on twitter earlier, I just wanted to explain it a bit more here.)

As for the Milan convention, I cant wait to get back there. Turk will be joining me again on this trip, and I look forward to seeing the other cast of folks when we get there. Sure it sounds obvious, but I really look forward to these shows and the folks I get to see while there. I don’t do too many conventions, so it stays fresh for me. I can’t imagine being the sort of fella that goes to show after show. I just don’t think I like people enough for that, at least the crowds of people anyhow. I will of course post photos from the show and from around Milan. It’s a beautiful city, with some amazing artwork. It gets overshadowed by other grand cities in Italy, but should not be missed!

There are some tattoo photos in this posting as well (go figure) I have continued pretty lucky with my customers. They have really been giving me some great ideas, and then the freedom to run with them. I have had quite a few consultations with folks regarding upcoming appointments, and I cant get them started soon enough. Time management has become a constant battle. I need to just commit to a specific span of time to draw each day. easier said than done. The hour commute has its drawbacks for sure!

I have had some ideas for other blog posts, but I will need to just focus on one topic at a time. These epic update posts are fun, but I cannot get into anything too deeply. Watch for some slightly more focused themes in future posts. Until then here are a batch of photos to roll through…
Be well
here are some ref and layout photos of the new painting in the works...
 next are some tattoos and concept art. 

1st is a pair of drawings for the start of what will be a sleeve. these designs are intended to border an existing tattoo so it works with the rest of the sleeve. i'll post updated images as it goes along. it will be a pretty crazy tattoo when its all done. 


next up is a drawing and start of a hula girl. it was tricky placing this one as he wants to keep the web. we already did an aircraft carrier with an f-18 on the backside of the same arm. that was posted in a previous blog. this section will tie in with the other when all is said and done.


next up is a pretty deep concept piece. this is the start of what will fill from his knee down. it is to be tree people (think ents from lotr)  carrying children away from a ruined polluting city. this will be the largest closeup of one of them, the rest will zom out as it wraps around his leg. whenever i do a full wrapping image, it helps to use a large image that breaks up the vertical view. the idea is to break up the scene vertically so the perspective still works, even though it wraps around and meets itself.


the last tattoo is the first sitting from a burne hogarth illustration. i dont often copy someone elses artwork, but in this case, it was the perfect design. we will indeed be changing the design in the next sitting where i will be adding something to the open section of his head. so far the thought is a fetus in there, but it isnt 100% just yet. the guy that is getting this tattoo is another tattooer named frank rudy. he is a genuinely good fella, with some pretty damn cool paintings and tattoos of his own. he works out of timeless tattoos in bordentown nj.

the last photos are just some scenery shots from out and about. the snowy ones were a fluke day. i had no idea it was supposed to snow, and woke to about an inch and a half. nothing crazy, but it was all fresh out there, and i didnt want to pass a chance to go roaming around the property with hoss (our badass brussles griffon) the very last shot was one that one of my customers sent. it came out pretty rad and my mom likes to see pics of her little kid at work.