Monday, May 14, 2012

Old and New Tribal Tattoo Designs

Contrary to popular belief, Tribal Designs for Tattoos have been around for a very long time. A popular choice is the Tribal Design with Meaning, which would have a connection to some aspect of your life. There are also those that choose that design only because it appeals to them.
Tattoos can be placed just about anywhere on the body. Some people like the idea of having their tribal tattoo on the back of their shoulders, while others prefer their tattoos on the leg. The design that resembles a band going all the way around the arm is a very popular. These designs are readily available for this specific purpose but you can also choose to have the tattoo artist create an armband tattoo with the design of your choice. Many people like to combine cross and tribal tattoos to create a band of crosses that encircle the arm or they use one of the native tattoo designs and add a cross as a central design.
Although these tribal designs have a deep history for different cultures, some people use them to represent their heritage or a group that they are affiliated with that represents an important part of their life. Many tribal tattoos with meaning are related to the person's spirituality. This is one reason that it isn't uncommon to see a tribal cross tattoo. Another type of cross and tribal tattoo is the type that symbolizes the Celtic heritage. The variety of elaborate tribal cross designs are very appealing and meaningful.
Maori Moko tattoos are some of the most elaborately detailed tribal design tattoos and are normally worn on the face. They are created with many whirls and the designs have a long history with the Maori tribe of New Zealand. However, a Maoris tattoo may be worn on any part of the body. Many people choose these tribal designs, with meaning ignored, as a factor in their decision.
While it is common for men to choose a cross with tribal design or tribal dragons tattoo, women may choose a butterfly tattoo as well as tribal tattoos for the lower back. Although women still like the elaborate tribal designs for tattoos, they are more likely to choose a basically feminine design like a butterfly or flower and then choose a less visible area for the tribal tattoo. Shoulders and hips are common areas for women to get their tattoos, whereas men might choose to wear the tribal tattoos on the arm or on the leg.
Whether you are thinking about getting a design of tribal tattoos with meaning that is significant to you or you just like some of the native tattoos designs, there are many different ones to choose from. Every tattoo store will have tribal design tattoos of all sizes to fit on different areas of the body.
There are some decisions you want to make before you get the actual tattoo. You need to decide exactly where you want to wear the tattoo and how large a tattoo you want. If you think this through you will be happy with the end result. If you really want to find a tribal tattoo with meaning you should take some time to research as much as possible in order to find the right one for you.

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The Art and Making of Star

Most of us out there who have had any type of memorable sporting encounter (good or bad) will remember it with a certain clarity and can usually recall the memory readily, due to the importance we place upon this type of event. Come back with me and briefly relive one of my abiding golfing memories and understand why this distant event is a template to be referred to when things hit the skids!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Clay of the day

This is a new one, just brought sculpture of sea manhome from the clay studio. I was thinking he was walking through water.
front view of sea man sculptureside view of sea man sculpture


So last Friday I forgot to take pix after I had worked. Tuesday ended up being a studio day, and I continued working on the pieces I started last Friday.
acrylic painting of bachelor buttons just startedFlowers! They’re outside busting out all over, and thank goodness for that because that has been the galleries’ requests this week, too.
I have been out sketching and looking as the spring beauties just keep doing their thing. I was at Fearrington Village in Pittsboro last weekend marveling at the varied and lovely gardens.
acrylic painting of pinky-white blossoms beginningtwo acrylic canvases fo flowers in the studio

I really maybe oughta learn the names of some of these. It’s helps with titles and with answering the inevitable question –”what kind of flowers are they?”
oh well. It’s low on my to-do list.  I am doing a another version of “sun-seeking mums,” the one on the right with the big swoopy stems. It’s kind of kick to do.
acrylic painting of cat-tails
I like cat-tails for that nice repetition and vertical energy I’m so fond of.
photo of easels and paintings in their new position in the studio
As I put things back after the stairs re-do, I’m reluctant to crowd my space like I had it before. I am trying out the easels over on the lighter side of the room.
It’s good to be back at work.


Part of my travel west included hanging out with my sister and her menagerie in Tulsa, OK. She has 6 horses and rides, takes lessons, runs a biz and her household. Phew! My one art job seems so simple in comparison.
And work I did, tho. I did some sketching while she and my niece had a riding lesson. sketch of horses and riderssketch of horses and riders
This first one is compressed charcoal. The ones below are charcoal pencil. I was mostly working on proportions of horse and rider.
All the tack (saddle, bridle, etc) is distracting to me. It covers so much of the horse’s body.
I think I’d like to do a whole sketchbook just on their legs. I’d love for those to flow effortlessly from my hand.
sketch of horses

Their faces are elegant and boney and their eyes huge and deep. All of these sketches are fast, of course, gestures made while the horses are moving and doing their thing. I haven’t re-worked or corrected anything.
sketch  study of face and eye, horse

And this horse’s markings! I just had to draw because they were so unusual and square! Who would believe it if I just painted it that way.
pinto face sketch

studio remods part 1–the stairs

Before my trip out west, you may recall, I was quickly, crazily, collapsing half of my studio to clear around the perilous, precipitous stairs for reconstruction. They looked like this:  Note the small underneath space and angle of decent. photo of old studio stairs
Fortunately for me, my neighbor is David Scott of Caledonia Construction. David and his partner, Charlie Straughn, had the brilliant idea to do the stair-fix while I was out of town, so we wouldn’t be in each other’s way thru the process.
I came home to these rock-solid, easily traversed, roomy stairs!
photo of stairs
There’s a landing I can turn around in, and I don’t have to duck to avoid hitting my head when I step down to the second flight of stairs. I can even take work up and down with ease. photo looking up stairs

And as a bonus–check it out–they came with spacious storage underneath, too!
photo of new stairs from below
I’ve been running up and down them just for fun. That is, after I GOT it that these were my stairs to the basement studio. It took me a few days to stop looking for my old steep, white ones.
I’m working in half the studio, trying to decide how much finishing I want on these stairs (drywall, etc), and the other side is still mostly compressed and stacked like a puzzle.

photo of studio stacked up

Show Biz–old vs new

One of the nice things about showing in alternative spaces (restaurants, community centers, art centers) is that I can group “old” work and new work.
acrylic painting of dog in creek“Old” is not a very descriptive word. In most juried situations and in the gallery world, work over two years-old is considered “old.” Work that has been shown before in other places is considered stale by some.
It’s a word I want to be careful with because I start to believe that old work or work that hasn’t sold despite being shown many places is not good work or is somehow flawed. And along side that is the assumption that “new” is better. That refrain is thick in our very insistent, impatient, super-fast world.
Here are some paintings that are currently up at the Carolina Brewery in Pittsboro. Some are brand new, some are from last year’s work or a year before that. acrylic of sea turtle surfacing
Can you tell the age of these paintings?
If my palette is consistent, and thematically, I can create a related grouping of works, then I can still put together a really good-looking show.
acrylic painting of horses acrylic of beech trees
I remember an artist-teacher recommending to students not to sign the date on the front of their pieces. The thinking is that it could deter buyers if the piece is perceived as old. I really like it, though, when I’ve seen the date by a signature, especially when I’ve been in a museum in front of a piece I really love, ancient or recent. It’s like another piece of the artist’s story.
acrylic painting of flowers
I am a prolific painter and  have a lot of work living in my studio. Many pieces are years-old. They still have meaning for me. They still are a surprise to people who see them for the first time; they’re “new” to them.
acrylic painting of dogs in creek
I will continue to remind myself that a piece’s worth is not determined by its age or the market or even whether it sells. There are so many variables outside of my control. The bigger picture for me is all of the work, the different series, the themes that appear and disappear, the cycles of subject matter and techniques, the whole shebang.

Old School vs New School Apprenticeships

Old School vs New School Tattoo Apprenticeships 
I'm one of those people who don't belive in tattoo schools, tattoo academies, and I'm kind of iffy on going to an art academy for learning how to create tattoo styles as well. I believe that having an apprentiship is the only way to go. There is nothing more rewarding then working your butt off, going every day, seeing your skills get better and better. The first time I picked up a machine I had no clue what I was doing. The buzzing was shaking my hand so much I almost dropped it and it made it so I was nervous of what I would do to somebody else's skin if i couldnt even get over shaking so much. I rememeber as if it were yesterday the first time I broke apart my machine and couldn't put it right back together. Then I loaded the tube onto my machine to see what it felt like; to see it ready for action. I didn't do this sitting in a class. I learned how to do this under a man who gave me a chance. To this day, i can't thank him enough.
I also remember hearing about other kinds of "apprenticeships" through friends. One guy told me a story of how he had to go sweep his bosses drive way for months to even sit in their shop. Another good friend told me he had to change the owner's tires and oil. To me, this has nothing to do with tattooing or even anything to do with the shop. I understand trying to test their commitment but shouldn't that come from them showing up day after day, just to be a fly on the wall? How about taking care of duties inside the shop to learn the inner workings? I always told myself I would want to learn, no matter what it took, even if that meant that I had to take trash out every hour, clean tubes every single day, or recycle sharps containters. My apprenticeship was nothing like what theirs were. I expected to be told to bow down because society has a way of making tattoo artists and the industry seem so hard up and make them feel so much more superior than "normal society."
The first couple of days were spent helping a brand new shop set up their jewelry cases, helping hang mirrors and setting up booths. There were about 4 artists there at the time. From the minute I got there, it felt like a family, except for one guy. He was very old school. He had a traditional apprenticeship that he wanted me to go through under him. He basically told me that I was his bitch; I had to do what he wanted. The guy who actually brought me there intervened and told him that they were not going this route. In his view, I was no less of a man because I wanted to start my path in the tattoo industry there. That was humbling. In the end, I've been there longer than the guy who wanted me to be his slave. I heard through the grapevine that he's been fired from multiple shops for having a piss poor attitude. I've been asked multiple times what makes a good apprenticeship. I have a short list on what I think these are:
1. You're not a shop bitch.
2. Not one person owes you anything. If you want to advance in your career, you make the moves and we will help you along. But nobody is going to pave your path for you.
3. Sanitation is one of the things we focus on so intensly. Be prepared to go the full distance in learning about sanitation.
4. No drugs! We are doing our best to get rid of that image and we wont let anybody destroy our reputation.
5. We dont bad mouth other artists. We are all trying our hardest to get somewhere. Bad mouthing other artists is not going to make you better.
6. No home tattooing. PERIOD.
7. When we make decesions for the shop, we are all involved. If somebody is left out, the decision doesn't get made.
8. This is a family enviroment. We all have kids and we bring them to gatherings! Our families support us and we demand their respect.
9. We all share walk-ins. We are all making a living off tattooing.
Number 10 is the most important:
10. We all RESPECT each other. Without respect we won't make it as a whole.
I know a lot of artists may disagree with me and my views on this, but honestly, this is how I was taught. I have more respect for the man who taught me than i would have for a man to make me clean his garage. I'm all for doing what fits best for you, but this is what made me realize how tattoos aren't just cool or trendy, but they really are a part of life. Once you dive deep enough you can find that this is one of the most rewarding things you can do.