So, life has changed in the last two years, and with it, so have my philosophies about tattooing.
I'm starting to look at the art form as more than just applying images beneath skin, and while that may still be the basic procedure in some cases, tattooing seems to have naturally evolved into something more for me.
For some time now, I've been more focussed on the divinatory side - that is, with so many people leaning towards formulaic, generic tattoos, how do we return to a space where this process is more sacred, or divine, and concurrently, how do we divine that which it is that people seek, far beyond the surface idea of a tattoo. For me the process of 'tattoo' has become one of transformation, no matter whether you want an aesthetic upgrade, or something to reflect the inner workings, or to mark the passing of a momentous event. Regardless of your intent, you are walking into a space where your very self will be transformed, relatively irrevocably, for the rest of this lifetime. That space should be a respectful and calm environment - free from negativity and distraction.
It is with this in mind, without going too far into my somewhat flakey esoteric thinking about the subject, that I find myself unable to follow certain trends in tattooing any longer. There are many things (or styles) that I won't tattoo, based upon the idea that their fundamental makeup is lacking - not simply in terms of being generic, but in lacking depth, or in having no attachment to the core of tattooing (as I perceive it). Without having an ethos, it is quite possible to wake up one day disenchanted and dispassionate about one's craft, and in tattooing, once you have surpassed a junior level, I don't think it's ever fair to create anything that doesn't resonate with you - why would you channel that energy into something indelible?
I'm not saying that my way is correct, or better than anyone else's, I'm simply saying that this is the direction I'm pushing in, in order to better both myself, and that which I offer my clientele. It does, however, taking the complicity of both parties to get there.
All of my tattoos start with a consult, where we try and get to the bottom of what we're really doing. Sometimes that process won't end in a tattoo, but the hope is that it always ends with a little more clarity for both of us.