Friday, April 29, 2011

Koi, Skull and Chrysanthemum Leg

Got a lot of shading done down the back of the leg (all those rocks and the water).
At one point I looked at what I was doing and realized how much black was being put into the back of the knee...poor guy.  He did awesome as usual though and we're both liking the fact that some more darkness is getting worked in to contrast all the soft shading at the bottom.
We were the only ones in the shop for this one, so the door was locked and the phones went unanswered.
It was very relaxing and we were both able to be super focused and "in the zone"...

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Medicine Buddha

Definitely one of the more intense line jobs I've done in a while.
I was a bit nervous because of the injured back (if I'm shading something and need to stop early it's no problem, but with a line job like this once you get going there's no turning back...) but we pulled it off.
Three different outline thicknesses and a bit of time later and it all worked out.  Maybe the power of the Medicine Buddha transferred to me and helped me through (seriously).  These types of images can be even a bit more intense to do because of the psychic importance they have to the wearer.  As if tattooing anything nice on anyone isn't enough of a karmic responsibility...
Plans for the future are black and grey shading, then eventually blending in the existing tattoo and turning it into a 3/4 sleeve...

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Once in a while I put up a non tattoo related picture or video that I feel really shows some aspect of myself that I'm into or connect with.
This pretty much sums it all up.
 If ever I wanted to express what my idea of total happiness and inner peace is, you're looking at it...

Suikoden Back Piece

More detailing...
We've got a few more appointments to finish the main figure then it's time to discuss the background.
Always very smooth and relaxed sessions.  We both stay very positive about the whole thing and "in the zone" while working.  Very cool piece to be able to do...


Fun one to draw and tattoo.
She has another woman on the other thigh with flowing robes and long hair (done by an old friend of mine Hector Fong at Tattoo 13 in Oakland) and wanted a companion on this leg.  I traced out the area of the existing one, and the initial idea was to sort of match the exact shape and style of that one, but as a mermaid.
Then she came in one day before her appointment to visit a friend getting tattooed and saw a Mucha style art nouveau woman I had drawn on the wall.  She expressed how much she liked that sort of style and it kind of stuck in my head, so I went home, scrapped the original concept drawing and drew this one up at the last minute.  It was great for me as I really enjoy this style a lot myself, and consider Mucha (who is the inspiration for her style hair and face) one of my favorite artist/designers of all time...

Hagoromo Tennyo

Here's the current status of this one. 
Lately we've been meeting every couple weeks in the morning and doing like one hour and some change sessions.  Works nice for both of us (especially with the back injury I'm still trying to work and live with) and helps me be very present with whatever small section we are focusing on that day.
Started in on some of the more ornate detailing in the border of the bottoms.  Wanted to give her a little sneak peak at some of the more detailed patterning to be worked in eventually.
Slow and steady...

Friday, April 15, 2011

Chrysanthemum and Swirls

Really perfect session.
She knew exactly what she wanted and the basic placement, lucked out and drew it on in one shot with no changes, and the tattooing went very smooth and she sat great.
Has kind of a nice softer look to it that I'd like to start trying more often...

Thursday, April 14, 2011


This was another appointment cut short by the back pain.  I actually drew most all of the feathers going down the leg, but only tattooed the initial spray just at the end of the bird's body.  
You have to contort your body a bit to get to some of those spots and angles wrapping around the leg, and it just wasn't happening...
I am happy with what we did accomplish though, and I've been learning to embrace the turtle ethos-Slow and Steady...


Got all of the leaves and cherry blossoms finished up.  
Still have to cap off the shoulder area and fill in the flowers and fish, but it's starting to come together.  I felt bad hoping around to so many different sections of the arm, but she did great.
I just starting working a little after the back injury, so some sessions are being dictated by how long I can comfortably work.  I've had to throw in the towel after an hour or so on quite a few recently (which can be frustrating) but long term health needs to be a priority right now.  No use pushing it, and I'm very appreciative that everyone is so understanding...

Friday, April 8, 2011

New York Tattoo Convention

I'll be working at the 2011 NY Tattoo Convention at the Roseland Ballroom May13th-15th.
Think this is maybe my 6th or 7th time doing this one and I'm really looking forward to it.
I work with my friends and mentors Bill and Junii Salmon of the Diamond Club in San Francisco, and we stay with our great friend Shinji (Horizakura) of the Horitoshi Family (currently living and working out of a new private studio in the Lower East Side).

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Tengu Sleeve

From a couple weeks ago...
Drew on the rest of the background and even got a little more shading in.  The planning and "hard" part is over and it's just fun from here on out.  We're matching another 3/4 sleeve on the other arm (which we finished not too long ago) and I'm excited to have the pair done all around the same time in the same style with the same themes...


The back is still in a pretty bad state, so no tattooing for a little while.  I can however still draw in short intervals...
This is the beginning rough sketch for a back piece I start in a couple weeks.
Kannon is a Buddhist Bodhisattva of compassion.  Like most icons of Japanese Buddhism, she was adapted from China (Guanyin), where it had arrived from India before that.
Very positive and beautiful image that I'm very happy to be able to do on such a large scale.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Koi, Skull and Chrysanthemum Leg

Time to add frog and rocks to the list of ingredients on this leg.
Started the upper addition a little while ago but just getting around to sorting pics.
Technically this is a three legged frog (Sanbonashi no kaeru in Japanese).  In Chinese and Japanese culture it is a symbol of prosperity and a good omen to related to wealth.
Next time on the inner thigh we're adding a small magical hammer called a Uchide no kozuchi, also a good luck type charm that grants its holder wishes.
These were both his ideas, and I've been impressed with the amount of thought and research he's put into his tattoo work.  It's nice to do such a large piece where the client has a very clear vision and style in mind that is open to interpretation...

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


So here's the deal...
As some may know (everyone I unfortunately had to cancel recently), I had to go to the Bay Area last week for a family emergency.  As a double whammy I had a bit of a nasty accident while there and injured my back pretty bad.  
Went to the doctor first thing today and apparently I sprained my back.
It's still in a large amount of pain and I'm unable to work.  Hopefully this won't last too long and I'll be back in action soon.
Apologies to everyone who's appointments are getting messed up and thanks for the understanding.  The  work load has been overflowing lately and I'll be taking a brief hiatus from any brand new clients for a little while. 
 I've been asking interested folks to please get in touch starting in June to set up work for the fall and beyond.  Sorry if this puts anyone out, but right now I need to focus on healing the body, finishing current pieces, and drawing and starting all the new pieces that people have been waiting very patiently for.
I have a ton of respect for the fact that people are putting so much faith in me and take that responsibility very seriously.
Thanks again for the interest and support in what I'm trying to do...


Initially, we were scheduled to do a compass rose and some feathers, but it just didn't look right with the other work.  She has a portrait on her forearm and the owl that I did a few months back kind of under the elbow.  The compass rose looked much too rigid and out of place so she mentioned she had also considered real roses down there and they worked out great.  
We got them drawn on all around the wrist and fitting in around the other work.  We'll also add the feathers next time as well as some background to tie in her upper half sleeve to this new stuff and make it a whole arm...

Passion Flower

Did this fancy one on a great client who's been adding on to an ever expanding floral piece over the last year or so.  This is definitely the most complex one of the bunch and was fun to do.  I was probably complaining about all the little single needle stamen hair things in the middle at the time, but seeing it done it's pretty cool.  
Oddly enough, about a day after I did this, someone got in touch about doing an entire sleeve of passion flowers.  Sounds like quite the challenge just knowing how long one took.  Could be super cool though...
And as for this particular flower, sounds like it's definitely not the last...