Time to dust off the ol’ blog!
The last few months have been quite busy, but I’m back, and now I’m tattooing! This guy was my very first tattoo. It took a hell of a long time to finish, but the amount I learned during the process was amazing.
We’re planning on expanding this to a comic book style leg sleeve in the future, so I didn’t want to add any background until we worked out the other panels. It’ll be full of silly characters that play off of Batman. Eventually there will be a Man-signal in the sky behind Manbat…I can’t wait!
And now for something completely different…
I finally took a much needed break to get some practice in. This is way out of my norm, but that’s what makes it fun and challenging to do. It’s obviously heavily influenced by traditional Maori tattoos, which I know next to nothing about. I’d really love to learn more.
The design that started it all. I’m in the process of having this done on my chest, and I’ll be sure to take a photo of it when it’s done. And to think…this started out as a small pink ribbon!
Tattoos and body art have always been something that fascinated me. When I was a child, tattoos were something that “bad people” got. That idea was something I picked up from society, and not my parents (that I recall). I couldn’t help but like them, despite the stigma attached to them. While I never imagined actually doing tattoos on people, they were another form of art to be studied in my pursuit of becoming as good of an artist as my Mom was.
My teenage years brought a lot of major changes to my life, and art was one way for me to cope with it. By this time, I was already considerably more talented then my classmates, but being shy prevented too many people (outside of my art class) from knowing it. I remember having a large marker set that I would use to doodle on myself while in class. Of course, it would always wash off at the end of the day, but for a few hours I was happy to walk around with something drawn on my body. I still wasn’t considering going into tattooing at that time, yet it’s probably the first glimpse of the path I find myself on today.
I moved out of my parent’s house at 18 to move in with my boyfriend (across country!). After a year of living together, we decided to get married at the local courthouse in a quick ceremony. Life simply took over from there. My art was almost always in the background, but I could never get it to the point where I could stop my day job to turn into a professional artist. The low point in my art career came when I had my first child at 26. Taking care of her consumed me, and I virtually stopped drawing. We had our second daughter when I was 28, and I felt like our family was whole, yet during that time I was losing my identity.
At 30, I started to reflect over the last 10 years or so of my life and found I wasn’t happy with where I was headed. I love my husband and my children, and wouldn’t change them for anything, but I wasn’t doing anything in my life beyond them that I was proud of. I wasn’t sure what it was that I wanted to do, but I knew something was going to have to change. Luckily, Fate stepped in to help point me in the right direction.
My Mom had come to town to visit and I talked her into getting her first tattoo with my Mother-in-Law and me. We had been tossing around the idea of getting pink ribbons, for more than a year, to celebrate my Mother-in-law surviving breast cancer. The original idea was for something simple for all of us, but it just lacked a personal touch. It felt great to draw again, and the unique designs that I came up with for us took on a life of their own. What was to be a small, simple pink ribbon for myself became a fairly large chest piece with orchids instead. My Mother-in-law had decided that the area was too sensitive to get hers done, so I had decided to wait on the ribbon until I could do it with her, and go for something that made me feel beautiful. My Mom kept telling me that I should start designing flash (pre-designed tattoos) for shops, and my husband agreed (though he thought that I should do the whole process, not just flash). They both hated the fact that my abilities were going completely unused.
Dimitrius, the artist that was taking my work and translating it to skin, was impressed with the drawings I had done. Half jokingly, he told me that I needed to get into tattoos. At first, I was demure and brushed off the idea. The thought of working in such a permanent fashion on another person’s body was scary. The idea just wouldn’t leave me though. Me … doing tattoos. The more I mulled it over, the more I liked it. The next day, I wrote Dimitrius and told him that I wanted to get into doing tattoos and wanted to know where I needed to start.
This pretty much catches us up to present day. The first step for most artists is to find a shop where they can become an apprentice. As an apprentice, you get paid in knowledge, not in money, which makes it difficult when you have a family to support. I’ve found a local shop where I hope to apprentice at, and I’m busy getting a portfolio together for the owner to see. There will be rough spots, I’m sure, as I try to balance my family life, financial obligations, and time to pursuit becoming a professional tattoo artist, but it will be well worth it when I no longer feel like I’m not being true to myself. The next time I decided to reflect back on my adult life, I want to be proud that I chased a dream and caught it.