Phoenix Rising

Phoenix in process...

Phoenix in process...

Building onto an existing tattoo is a challenge I enjoy, particularly when the client I’m working with is game to relax in to the journey by trusting the creative process. While our first tattoos are each significant to us, often times they are unrelated to one another which can result in a patchwork appearance. When the desire to wear an extensive piece of art comes upon us, we are faced with a two fold design process: planning the new piece itself as well as strategizing about how to incorporate the existing art in a way that is consistent with the overall design. This requires creativity as well as an openness to allowing the process to unfold.

In this week’s photos you’ll see the first two steps in the creation of a half sleeve that is building onto an existing tattoo. “Before” shows the existing work that we needed to work in and work around. The “stencil” is the freehand sketching and stenciled outline of the custom Phoenix, smoke and flames that will become the focal point of this piece. And “in process” means this story is to be continued once the piece is completed. Stay tuned…

Eagle Flight

Eaglets taking flight

Eaglets taking flight

Two weeks in the north woods does spirit, body and mind good. I felt blessed by an ongoing presence of Bald Eagles around me this trip, having the opportunity to observe parents encouraging their young to practice flight skills. I sat in the canoe for nearly an hour watching take offs and landings over… and over… and over.

Another particularly awe inspiring moment was experiencing one of the adult eagles soar low overhead, circle around, and then slowly and gracefully swoop down to forage a dead Walleye from the water surface not twenty feet from my canoe. What a humbling experience. Thank you, Eagle.

I always look forward to time spent in the north woods as time for unwinding and gaining a fresh perspective on whatever aspects of life are at hand. It is an added gift then, to experience wildlife so personally and then return to the studio and apply that energy and experience to a piece of art.

On Wednesday of this week I began a half sleeve of a Phoenix rising from the flames (which was an interesting experience since there was a tornado going on outside… at the time we didn’t know…). Creating this extensive Phoenix piece with the Eagles and the elements so immediate in my mind was inspiring. I look forward to finishing the piece. I’ll post photos soon. In the meantime, enjoy the Eagles.

Today’s Tattoo

WZCelticI always get excited about having the opportunity to tattoo a portrait. It’s a style of tattooing that isn’t often requested, is extremely challenging, and incredibly distinctive. When tattooing a portrait, it’s important to have multiple clear photos to work from in order to most accurately render the subject. However, as you’ll see here, even when working from one photo an accurate photo realistic representation is possible.

Indelibly Inking With Intention

John Troyer (AKA Dr Death) and Awen discuss Memorial Tattoos

John Troyer (AKA Dr Death) and Awen discuss Memorial Tattoos

Wednesday evening’s event provided thought provoking conversation and insight that I’ve been reflecting on in the days since. For example, how fine a line we walk when defining Memorial Tattoos as separate from tattoos that mark life’s various transitions. All transition requires an end as well as a beginning, and often times these include struggle and grief, along with joy and celebration. Another example; while some images are instantly recognizable as traditional memorial motifs, many others are not. How then are we to know, when looking at a tattoo, that it’s a Memorial Tattoo? We may not know… but we do know that the art being worn is meaningful. When we choose what is meaningful for us and then express that meaning by indelibly inking it with intention, we are transformed. Thank you to everyone who attended, and for your willingness to share your stories, your perspectives and for posing terrifically unanswerable questions!

Wednesday Evening… Hey! That’s Tomorrow…

Dr DeathJoin us for an evening of discussion
A Constant in History: the Memorial Tattoo
Wednesday, July 29 at 7:30 pm
West Bank Social Center
John Erik Troyer, from the University of Bath’s Centre for Death and Society, and I have discovered common ground in the subject of memorial tattoos, as both of our work is graced by the legacy of those we remember and miss. John and I have shared hours of conversation during his hours of getting tattooed, and we thought it would be fun and interesting to share a wider discussion on the topic. On Wednesday night, John will share a brief presentation (most recently shown in Edgbaston UK) followed by an interactive discussion.

We hope you’re able to join us!

West Bank Social Center, 501 Cedar Avenue South, Minneapolis 612.839.0810

A Shiver of Sharks

do not reproduce ©artwithapoint2009

I often describe tattoos serving as bookmarks in life. In this weeks blog I’m highlighting a beautiful example of celebrating a milestone and family. These shark tattoos mark a tenth wedding anniversary as well as honor the growth of this family from two to six over the last ten years… Happy Anniversary!

Join Us For an Evening of Discussion

Dr DeathJoin us for an evening of discussion
A Constant in History: the Memorial Tattoo
Wednesday, July 29 at 7:30 pm
West Bank Social Center
John Erik Troyer, from the University of Bath’s Centre for Death and Society, and I have discovered common ground in the subject of memorial tattoos, as both of our work is graced by the legacy of those we remember and miss. John and I have shared hours of conversation during his hours of getting tattooed, and we thought it would be fun and interesting to share a wider discussion on the topic. On Wednesday night, John will share a brief presentation (most recently shown in Edgbaston UK) followed by an interactive discussion.

We hope you’re able to join us!

West Bank Social Center 501 Cedar Avenue South, Minneapolis 612.839.0810

Dr. Death Gets a New Tattoo

art with a point custom tattooDr. Death is back from Bath, England and ready for a new tattoo. His newest piece is a Celtic half sleeve designed by his friend, Nathan. This piece has nicely integrated references to Dr. Death’s other tattoos, and reflects the half sleeve on his left arm beautifully. The intricate detail in Celtic work makes the process of applying an elaborate outline such as this one rather intense. I expect six to eight hours of outlining alone. Photos of the outline will be posted later this week, so stay tuned.

Hold the date on July 29! Dr. Death – AKA John Troyer – from the University of Bath’s Centre for Death and Society talks memorial tattoos. His perspective on our cultural attitudes towards death and how we express them through tattooing is eye opening.

Come on down and join us in the discussion. http://westbanksocialcenter.org/

Evolution of a Tattoo, part 2

concept design and final tattoo

concept design and final tattoo

Another example of the evolution of a custom designed tattoo from draft to completed artwork. You’ll recognize the artwork from the blog entry dated July 4 of this year.

One aspect of this piece I enjoyed working with was the texturing in the armor. While we’re quick to think of how to add color or shading to a tattoo, incorporating texture into the piece is less common. While often under appreciated, textured detail adds significantly to a piece.

Evolution of a Tattoo

concept design, final design and completed tattoo

concept design, final design and completed tattoo

Today’s blog entry shows the evolution of a tattoo, from concept sketch to final draft and finally, the completed tattoo.  The concept sketch is a simple initial sketch which captures the flow of the arm and introduces the various design components.  The journey from concept sketch to final draft refines the design and begins to introduce some detail.  The most notable transformation comes during the tattoo application itself when full detail, shading, color and texture are introduced.