Biweekly Newsletter 10/10/2016

Posted on Tue, October 11, 2016

October 10, 2016

Greetings from Reinventing The Tattoo!
This past two weeks has been dedicated more toward preparing for my upcoming seminars than actual day-to-day tattooing, with a few fun exceptions. I got to be involved in a couple largish collaboration projects, the first with Texas artist Shaine Smith, and the second with my partner Michele Wortman, with whom I share Hyperspace Studios. 
The project with Shaine was another example of a seamless biomech collaboration project. Bio is a great style for collaborating, since the participating artists have a number of common understandings about flow, form, light and depth while at the same time, inevitably a lot of unique aspects to their approach. With most collaborations, I find the best way to mix both artists' styles is to pass the drawing back and forth and take turns tracing over the whole thing, so there aren't necessarily parts of the piece that can be traced back to individual artists. The execution is handled the same way, with artists taking turns working through every part of the piece. When handled the right way, with enough communication, this approach results in a piece that appears to be by a third artist- one who can only exist when those particular artists are working together.
Shaine and I have a lot of the same influences, but he has a much stronger Giger imprint on his style, so we made a point of letting a lot of that character into the piece. We started with a bunch of loose sketches which we boiled down into two very similar drawings, as seen in the first image here. From those drawings we sketched on the client's leg, starting with a light green marker and then going successively darker and more developed until we were satisfied with the drawing, as shown in the second photo. We took turns through this process and talked in detail about the different parts of the design as we were doing this- remember that communication is key. 
After a long day of tattooing, we got a pretty good foundation in place, with the basic colors and all of the dark and light areas blocked in, as seen in the third photo. This will require a followup session to really dial in the detail and saturate the colors, although we plan on keeping a lot of that neutral fleshy look. It was a fun project that went off without a hitch, and I look forward to continuing it soon.
The other collaboration that I did, this time with Michele Wortman, was over the course of two days instead of just one, so we were able to get a lot more ink in the skin. We really enjoyed the different organic and geometric textures, and had fun with a small coverup in the gemstone area, where there was a twice-lasered star that still contained a bit of color, as seen in the fourth image. It wasn't dark but definitely had to be taken into consideration, so we let it influence our color choices for the gem, which you can see in the fifth image. We were only able to work one artist at a time because of pain tolerance issues, but I'm still very satisfied with the first pass we got over the whole thing. Since we had to work quickly, the color is less saturated than I'd like it, but we'll have a final pass on this at some point in the near future.
The other project was a final session on a backpiece that has been in progress for a decade and a half. Some backpieces are like that, as many of you no doubt already know; often it's not by any fault of the wearer. At any rate, I had a ton of fun with this back, which was based on photos shot of a huge clay model that I had built for the purpose, and finally feel satisfied with the level of detail and development that I've put into it. I do organic pieces like this one all the time, but seldom do I have a photographic reference available for the purpose and usually can't get them looking quite this realistic, although doing these kinds of projects occasionally does help me to do things out of my imagination that are more believable.
That's the last two weeks here at the studio... now my focus is pretty much entirely on wrapping up the seminar content for next week. For this who can't make it to the Paradise Tattoo Gathering, I plan on using my seminar materials for some new content that will be added to Reinventing The Tattoo over coming months, although the classes are interactive, so I'd still recommend trying to make it in person if possible. Tickets are available in the Event Tickets page at TattooEducation.com.
Thanks, and I'll be in touch soon!
Guy Aitchison