My Art Their Art

August 8, 2018

Tattooing is a great job, sometimes stressful, sometimes super fun. It can be overwhelming – especially when there’s a long line of clients waiting for me to take care of them. Creating art is challenging, and even more so when clients are not satisfied with the choices I’ve made and I have to try and make things to their liking. It’s a service job.  I am serving. People sometimes say they are giving me artistic freedom, but I have never ever seen that to be true. The client will still request changes to make it appealing to them.  And that’s great – that’s how it should be. I have to pursue artistic freedom on my own time.  That is why I paint.  That is why I work on my graphic novel.  I wrote a movie script back in 2010 (I think) and last year I decided I should do something with it.  So I started making a graphic novel.  However, as with most new projects I start, I soon realized it takes a lot of work and commitment to see a project to completion.  So far I have only completed four pages.  I made the first three pages last year in probably a week or two, and I haven’t worked on it since because I have to devote most of my time to my tattoo shop.  But yesterday after my morning tattoo I decided to spend some more time with it.  I hope I can keep working on it because I think it’s a pretty cool story.

The tattoo I worked on has been challenging because her skin is so incredibly sensitive that I can usually only work on her for an hour at a time before we have to stop.  We’ve tried numbing creams and sprays and they just don’t help.  So progress has been slow.  A lot of the color is patchy because I am unable to do multiple passes.

Another big problem happened early on during the design phase.  She has a previous tattoo on the other side that needed to be covered, and the client has a distaste for certain colors.  This limited my color choices and also made for a poor decision – she wanted a maroon color for the background behind the coverup.  I explained that it would too dark – the coverup needed to be dark, and putting a dark background behind a dark coverup would be bad. But ultimately I felt the client has final decision.  And now after I put in a ton of maroon color, she sees that it is too dark. Looking back now I wish we had debated it more. The goal for now is to get the entire lower leg covered and then go back over it at the end to try and get the colors more solid.

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