Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Dragon Back

So these photos are actually from a while ago, but I'm just starting to work through a back log of pictures from the past couple months.  
We've done a couple of sessions since this, but I like looking back at every step and trying to figure out for myself what I'm putting into making these things.
This session was drawing on and outlining the right buttock and down the thigh.  I had it sort of mapped out on paper and it ended up working out in real life (sometimes before starting a big piece I'll take a picture of the person's blank back, blow it up to an 11X17" piece of paper and sketch out a large thumbnail for the piece.  I either then blow that sketch up to the traced out actual area and refine it, or use it as template to draw stuff on.  Sometimes I really prefer this method as I find drawing a larger piece actual size from the get go you end up trying to put in too much detail and watering down the over all impact of the image.  Drawing it smaller and blowing it up later almost prohibits you from fussing over the details too much as you don't really have enough room.)
Since this session we've filled in the whole lower left side with background and are moving over the middle and starting to fill the stuff from this time.  More regular updates soon I hope...

Monday, July 16, 2012

Paternity Leave

Wow.  Just realized how long it's been since I've updated anything on here.  Past few weeks have been a whirlwind as my my new son was born on June 11th!  I've already got an amazing 7 year old daughter, and now the family unit is all balanced out with this great new little dude.  Couldn't be happier with how it all worked out and we're all feeling super blessed and looking forward to the next phase for our little crew.  Here's my scene these days:

That's Sparrow in the background.  My wife came up with her name early on in pregnancy and we both instantly knew that was the one.  This time around it took a while to really wrap our heads around a name.  For several months I was having this feeling like the one I was looking for was right in front of me and I just couldn't see it.  Then thankfully one day it finally came...Enso.  Not sure if it's really been used as a name before (I'm sure there's plenty on Enzo name confusion in his future) or if it makes a ton of sense, but we really dig it and I think it's going to work perfect for him.
An Enso is a Zen brush stroke of a circle:

I've always been very attracted to and interested in Zen Calligraphy and shodo in general (stylized Japanese calligraphy).  I don't know a ton about it on an academic level, but I've always really connected with it pretty strongly on a visual level, and enjoy trying it in my own way.  I've spent many late nights just drawing simple pictures/shapes/and words with brushes or brush pens and getting really lost in it for hours.  It can be super meditative and the flow of your hand can really help tap into a good stream of consciousness that ends up on the paper.  Really more about the process than the result for me (nice break from the pressures of tattooing where the result has much more importance).
An Enso is sort of an embodiment of this mental space...a quality I strive for and value.
Here's a description lifted from Wikipedia:
Ensō (円相) is a Japanese word meaning "circle" and a concept strongly associated with Zen. Ensō is one of the most common subjects of Japanese calligraphy even though it is a symbol and not a character. It symbolizes absolute enlightenment, strength, elegance, the universe, and the void; it can also symbolize the Japanese aesthetic itself. As an "expression of the moment" it is often considered a form of minimalist expressionist art.
In Zen Buddhist painting, ensō symbolizes a moment when the mind is free to simply let the body/spirit create. The brushed ink of the circle is usually done on silk or rice paper in one movement (but the great Bankei used two strokes sometimes) and there is no possibility of modification: it shows the expressive movement of the spirit at that time. Zen Buddhists "believe that the character of the artist is fully exposed in how she or he draws an ensō. Only a person who is mentally and spiritually complete can draw a true ensō. Some artists will practice drawing an ensō daily, as a kind of Spiritual Practice."[1]
Some artists paint ensō with an opening in the circle, while others complete the circle. For the former, the opening may express various ideas, for example that the ensō is not separate, but is part of something greater, or that imperfection is an essential and inherent aspect of existence (see also the idea of broken symmetry). The principle of controlling the balance of composition through asymmetry and irregularity is an important aspect of the Japanese aesthetic: Fukinsei (不均斉), the denial of perfection.
The ensō is also a sacred symbol in the Zen school of Buddhism, and is often used by Zen masters as a form of signature in their religious artwork.

Sorry for the ramble.  Point being basically alls well with the little guy and family, but there's been no real time to keep up on everything other thing (like this blog).  With the way the schedule's been the past few years, this whole time was already booked before my wife even got pregnant, so there's been a lot of shuffling and adjusting of the appointment book.  Thanks to all for their understanding with missed or changed appointments, my helper Darci who sorts it all out for me all the time, and most of all my wife for putting up with how much I work and how much it takes of me to make it happen. 
Hopefully in the next week or so I'll be able to sift through the tattoo photos of the past couple months and get them updated.  Getting close on some super cool ones, and been starting some new stuff I'm really excited about...