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As of April 2016 (exactly four years after arriving in Massachusetts) I will be relocating once again. In addition to the dates at Off the Map I will continue to support the network of shops that I’ve worked with over the past few years.
I will (finally) begin collaborating with Voluta Tattoo, Indiana and while home in Kentucky I will be booking appointments at Charmed Life Tattoo until I open my own place in Louisville, KY 2017. As many of you know, being an independent artist has been a dream of mine for a very long time and at last this dream is becoming a reality.
For all you young tattooers out there I'll be filming my first webinar on my tattoo process and physical techniques used in my designs later this month. I was apparently incapable of taking a picture that wasn't blurry the day I did this pet tribute tattoo, but it was soooo much fun that I wanted to share anyway. I love the front view of this geometric tattoo I did while traveling through Lexington Kentucky. Check out this sweet Cthulhu hand tattoo I got to do when I was visiting Nashville a while back. Dave's an old friend and a long time client so he let me run wild with how to lay it out.
Now that New England is finally immersed in sunshine and warmer weather my appointments have been filled with flowers and the colors of summer. I love how the background enhances the flowers color without distracting from the foreground.
For the two tattoos below my clients wanted something more strait forward in the composition but gave me freedom in color choice and placement. The rib piece at bottom left was done in two sittings and the roses on the right were a single sitting. On the left is a Tibetan Infinity knot on an inner arm and to the right, a cross section of a Nautilus shell.
I've got a lot of ideas on incorporating these techniques in large scale color work as well. If these images tickle your fancy then please click on over to my CONTACT form and message me your ideas!
As a tattooer, creating imagery that is considered timeless is of the utmost importance to me.
Also, the Empire State Convention that I 'll be working in the Waterloo booth is just around the corner!
However I'm getting better everyday and feel confident enough to relax my attention and get the blog back on track. Music for this video has been provided by a very talented friend of mine Dave, who I've been tattooing for many years. I just watched this very consciously aware interview with Aaron Della Vedova of Guru Tattoo and had to share. Then tonight a large room of smiling faces and I will dance away the rest of our winter blues and celebrate spring to some island jams as the Easy Star All Stars perform their tribute to pink floyd with "Dub Side of the Moon"! From here I begin to draw the composition directly on the skin ensuring that every line conforms and curves to his exact shape. I've explored many processes and practices in my 11 years of tattooing and for now I confidently say this is the one for me. I've spent the last two days in the studio trying to finish the newest commissioned illustration piece, listening to records, and trying to stay productive. As bothersome as this stage can be, it's also the point where I can finally see the end. Also in this video is a drone recording of my amazingly talented friend and sworn brother Nicholas Larkey AKA Ghost Affirmation. This month represents a challenge in patience and focus for me, and at the end there is a whole new chapter. At this point my face washes with confusion as well, however my own confusion comes from a different place. If it's understood that artists do art, and if they love doing art they most likely do it a lot, why do so many professional artists do art so little? If we celebrate a man for being the person he claims to be and taking care of himself in the process then what does that say about what we expect from ourselves? Today I'll be doing a mandala design on a foot for Kaleigh and recording another time lapse of the process. In this edition of the video blog I got the privilege of doing an abstract, watercolor inspired tattoo of water lilies. 2)   Instagram contest winner has been announced and the next giveaway begins tomorrow!
3)   The two newest illustration pieces are finished in their first stage and awaiting scanning! For those that don't know Off the Map North East is home to six resident artists, including myself, and is setup in two parts. As I'm sure you can imagine, through the course of a week I see and hear a LOT of people! A) Most tattooers, myself included, prefer to have at least a direction or a topic to draw from. In printing news, I have put together an official price list for print services and options for 2014. I had planned to do some camping with some friends the last couple of days but unfortunately that didn't happen. Speaking of flowers, last night, I met up with my buddies Johnny Smith and Matt Driscoll for a late night drawing session with chalk pastels. Next on the new stop list is the one and only Ink and Dagger Tattoo in Decatur Georgia to once again work alongside my former OTM booth mate Kelly Doty! And of course I'l be returning to my old kentucky home late September to tattoo at Charmed Life Tattoo in Lexington. I'm still not sure how I want to release these though; prints for sure but I really want this group to stand out! Aside from featuring two of my favorite subject matter (skulls and geometry) I'm really enjoying the fit of this piece. I do my best to combat this scenario by keeping a couple in progress pics on my phone or computer to be able to review the images before the appointment date and once again bring our intentions back to the front of my mind. Every order is printed just for you here in the USA using eco-friendly inks on the highest quality garments such as American Apparel, District Clothing, and Alternative Apparel.
Getting sleeved, meaning to have your entire arm tattooed, are getting more interest from potential tattooers who want to demonstrate a personal and unified artistic theme for themselves.
When checked, Shutterstock's safe search screens restricted content and excludes it from your search results. It’s been almost four years since I made the pilgrimage to New England to work with Off the Map Tattoo. My wife and I will be returning to Lexington, Kentucky to be closer to our growing and ever changing families and to pursue opening my own tattoo and design studio.
To all of my clients and fans, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for all of your support! This piece is tying into a preexisting rib piece and will trail down the hip and leg as we add more elements.
At the time a close friend was dealing with some very heavy heart break, loss, and drastic life change and it reminded me of times in my own walk through life. I'm really happy with color scheme and the integration of the occultish finger symbols.
So much so that I found it necessary to downsize my workload, cutting back the webstore, blog, and prints just to stay mentally sharp and focused. Aside from the usual drips, smears, and splats this tattoo will have some geometric elements that I believe are going to take the design to a whole new level.
If your interested in getting tattooed at this show you can contact me HERE currently I still have availability Saturday and Sunday. From here these two will get a final pass of fine tuning and then sent off to the framer for their union as one piece.
Aaron is a huge inspiration for me artistically so listening to this chat with Off the Map Live's Ben Licata has been the perfect way to start the day as now I can call Mr.
Whether it's the watercolor effect, adding in non-objective geometric shapes or patterns as design elements, or literally tattooing fully abstract shape and color I feel good about how striking these techniques can make a basic tattoo idea look. I have a couple tasks to finish before I do an official introduction to the team but all the boring work seems to be behind us for now.
Wilson has come to me to receive a full backpiece of a Japanese inspired dragon with maple leaves. This process also allows me to stay open to  improvements and alterations that I might have missed if I were using a stencil. Two days is a lot of time to spend on a drawing and normally I walk away feeling accomplished, however this drawing is in it's small detail stage, in which I could spend hours doing subtle adjustments and tightening to pre-existing strokes.
Now there is a finish line and within art, every finished creation is a milestone of achievement; a culmination of everything that piece taught me lives on the page. In life, just before something can be really great, the struggle to achieve that greatness increases exponentially.

Normally I'm a little hesitant when taking on reproductions of other artwork because there tends to be very little wiggle room for creative suggestion. One said artist is known to wake up, run five miles, draw a full backpiece for PRACTICE during breakfast, and THEN start a full day of tattooing as many as six days a week; most nights finding time to paint as well.
You see, what I heard in this story is that this dude takes care of himself and is an artist that does art. June 20th-22nd I'll be tattooing at the Empire State Tattoo Expo presented by Inked Magazine in New York!
Thank you Michigan and thank you as well Eternal, I will certainly make every effort to return next year for the 20 year anniversary! To help maintain and feed the momentum your support has created I've decided to bring on a couple new faces to the Ritual Art Team in the coming months. The other big thing in times like this is to view these creative lulls as opportunities to step away from all my various projects and live life. I'm excited to document this one, I use a pretty basic stencil for these tattoos so on film it should look pretty awesome as it comes together!
This is by far the most concise and unified my work load has ever been and I am extremely grateful! Since the client was fond of yellow and orange tones we decided to make the flowers a golden color with muted blues for background. These are looking very nice out of the printer and now I'm off to trim and add another layer to the individual prints. The front, or business side of the shop houses our guest booth, Tim Senecal, and Max Rothert as well as the amazing front desk team. After a while you start to notice that the same questions come up over and over again so I figured I would take the time to answer some of these on the blog. The OTM crew and I will be gathered at my favorite bar Luthier"s co-op in Easthampton, MA. First is Patricia's lower leg half sleeve of two Japanese inspired koi fish with stylized water lilies. Like the previous tattoo, Mike's final pass was primarily about line weight and solidifying black. Patricia and Mike gave me a lot of freedom to be myself in the designs and were infinitely patient with the process.
I personally love these experiences, every tattoo seems to inspire the wearer toward a higher ideal of themselves. It's going to be a really fun piece with a lot of symbolism, some nice geometry, and a splash of illustrative flare.
So, I took the days off anyway and spent some quality time at the ol' drawing table instead. Today I'll be tattooing some more flowers on a return client who is accumulating quite the garden at this point! I did an abstract version of one of my favorite rose pictures from this past season and I'm super happy with how it turned out! This year is going to be a little different from the last couple since unfortunately there will be no Paradise Gathering this year and I will not be attending Hell City Columbus. This spot is by appointment only so if your interested in one of those days please contact me ASAP! As you lean to the side to take in the rest of the image the skulls placement gives a great 3-D look that I couldn't be happier with.
Continuing work I started a while ago, today my two clients and I will be making a hard push toward the finish line.
In doing so I can set up goals for the day ahead that will allow me to make huge leaps in progress from session to session. This contributed to the popularity of Full sleeve tattoos in recent years and one of the main reasons are that they look really awesome on your arms, and not to mention a major boost to your pride and ego too.
Since that time I’ve made amazing friendships, created some of the most inventive tattoos and designs of my now 14 year career, and traveled to breathtaking locations all over the globe. There is always a timelessness to the imagery that really appeals to me on a lot of levels. These changes definitely add more time to the overall process but, the result is absolutely worth every minute. Soon the flowers will make their triumphant return to the streets and yards and fields of Easthampton and once again we will be fully awakened from the icy haze of winter.
For me these things bring an excitement and energy to an image in ways that other styles rarely achieve.
The first round of meetings with the Ritual Crew has left me extremely excited for the future of the business as well as the amazing art and projects that we intend to create together. Not only do they buy, sell, restore, and repair vintage stringed instruments and tube amps Luthiers is also a bar and music venue featuring microbrews on tap and live local entertainment almost every night with zero cover charge. Aside from the obvious reason to be excited about this kind of project the first session is extra thrilling because of the exploration of the layout and the unfolding of the yet unseen tattoo design. The ability, for example, to have the client move to various positions, gives certainty that all angles of the tattoo look flattering to it's wearer in everyday life and not just when posing for a photo.
At the end of these two days the image hardly shows any substantial  or noticeable changes. The result came out beautifully and Lindsey who sat like seasoned tattoo collector couldn't have been happier with her introduction into the tattooed world. Aside from the meditative and sometimes eerie droned sounds of Ghost Affirmation Nick is also an active member in many other bands with styles ranging from driving and thunderous stoner rock to bludgeoning black metal to rootsy bluegrass and has become a titan in the thriving music scene of Lexington KY. Usually if your a big enough fan of a film or cartoon or whatever, to permanently mark yourself then you want that tattoo to be spot on to the original and thats totally understandable!
As the stories of these exploits are shared I watch the room as the collective jaw drops to the floor.
Maybe we should stick to measuring artists by the quality of the work they produce instead of how often or fast they produce it. All three days you will find me working in the Waterloo Tattoo Workstations booth not only tattooing and selling my one of a kind prints but also demo-ing the functionality of Waterloo Workstations. First up i'll be adding to a half sleeve of various flowers on Dena who I started tattooing last January. I've been riding the wave of creativity and the raw energetic high that comes with it for a couple months now and as a result I've managed to be tremendously productive!
We do still intend to extend up the ankle, at which point I'll do small touch up on the foot to adjust contrast and density but for the most part this section is done. As an individual this has given me so much artistic clarity and opportunity for growth and I truly feel as if I'm able to give more of my self and ability to every tattoo client.
She loved the way I did the owl tattoo in my portfolio and gave me total control over the composition, allowing me to really have fun with all the little splatters and textures. The back of the building, aka the party room is where you can find me, Johnny Smith, Matt Driscoll, and sometimes Frank Ready. Also, if you as a reader have a question that you would like to see answered on here then feel free to email me and I'll do my best to give the answers you crave. I personally don't have certain things I like to draw more than others, but I do have particular ways I prefer to draw, [my style] and when given freedom of interpretation those methods come through in the tattoo. Done in several sittings over the coarse of last year this final pass was mostly focused on strengthening the outline, solidifying any solid black areas, and adding the splash around the knee. Since large work takes such a long time to complete, a session of balancing a sleeve can help insure the tattoo ages evenly. The arm is looking great and I couldn't wait to share so I threw together this quick film as a teaser!
Just like last year I'll have some fresh sketches on the table as well as some awesome new prints for sale!
Some use there totem to invoke strength, others focus on wisdom or cunning, and still others need their totem to bond them to an ancestral past.
We're aiming to finish this tattoo in one sitting but staying open to maybe needing a short second appointment. The Gathering in particular has become one of the most cherished parts of my year for experiencing growth as an artist and Hell City is simply the best of the best as far as tattoo conventions are concerned. 21st through the 23rd I'll once again be setting up at the Motor City Tattoo Expo in Detroit Michigan. We have a long way to go on this tattoo, especially since Austin has given the green light to wrap to the front of the leg and possibly even to a full sleeve! Not only does this allow me to finish the tattoo more efficiently but it keeps my clients excited to get back. Some of the common full sleeve tattoo designs include the Koi Fish Tattoos, Tribal Tattoos, Flower Design Tattoos, and Celtic Tattoo Arts.
With the gradual decline of the hippy culture, tattooing simply lost its shine in the next few decades. Not only how to be a better artist, but a better business man and all around better person. So, as far as subject matter goes, I feel like I'm most successful at creating timeless art when portraying images of nature.
And so, it seems as if Dena's appointment has been perfectly timed since today we finish her half sleeve of flowers started last spring.

Best of all abstraction is extremely diverse and works well paired with realism, traditional, illustrative, and is even ideal for most cover-up situations. I am so thrilled to do business with such a great group of people and I can't wait to share the new imagery that we've come up with! For a while now, i've been drawing about 80% of my work directly on the skin, large scale tattooing especially. After the composition is complete the client and I will AGAIN review the overall design and once approved, we officially will start the long journey ahead. When I'm behind on all other tasks and chores in life, this sluggish stage of drawing is frustrating to say the least.
This struggle, consistent with the theme of the month, is an exercise in patience and focus.
I am feeling pretty confident however that everything is in place for the new staff members to begin work next month! Their faces are washed with confusion, completely bewildered of tasks that appear near godlike in the land of lowly mortals. So in that case sure, the story then changes to "This guy wakes up does work then comes home and does work during breakfast, then he gets dressed and goes to work!" and that sounds crazy! I had the privilege of meeting Donnie of Waterloo last year when he debuted their product at Hell City Columbus and was blown away by the quality and thought they had put into these tool boxes so of course I was thrilled by the opportunity to represent them at Empire this summer. I never thought I would get used to the day to day updates because I tend to be a bit of an introvert but I've gotta say I really enjoy it now! Unless she decides to extend down the arm (which as we all know has a tendency to happen once you catch the tattoo bug) then today should be the final session to pull the whole thing together.
This year has already seen substantial growth on the blog and instagram, an all new portfolio of tattoo work, new illustrations and prints, two print giveaways, AND the full year of travel dates already set!
We shut ourselves away from the world in our studios and homes and we consume ourselves with work because it's what we love.
We plan to now let the tattoo heal and settle for three to four weeks and then go back in for roughly another hour to tighten details and make sure there is enough contrast throughout the tattoo. The interesting thing about the back room however, is that its one big open room so everyone is in everyone else's experience. I've really enjoyed this tattoo and I love how the under water koi on the inside of the leg turned out!
After an hour or so of building up lines I reevaluated the background density to help push the images forward and add a greater density to the overall sleeve.
Regardless of intent transformation is the end result and I'm thrilled to be able to embrace this modern shamanism into my world!
Big tattoos in full color can do a lot of trauma to the skin and if you go to far with blending and detailing you can cause a bad heal. The newest addition being a cool time lapse short of the "Above" art in progress! I spend most of my creative energy on tattoos in my day to day, so having time to do art for art's sake can be really rejuvenating.
They always have a timeless appeal and artistically there seem to be no limitations in the infinite ways to represent them. It's regularly filled with real time updates only seen on IG, and soon I will begin a series of giveaways! So in order to fill that void I've chosen two guest spots that I'm certain will be nothing short of amazing!
After that my wife and I are going to vacation for a week and take in as much of the Oregon country side as possible and hopefully make some new friends along the way! This sketch however really spoke to me, so I finally decided to start it for the sake of making something new. As a client you have left the previous session with sometimes just a framework of what the tattoo will end up being. A tattoo does not change a person on the inside, but first impressions can be everything, and even up to today there may still be a social stigma attached to people with tattooing. As of yet she has assembled a nice collection of her favorite flowers and I'll be tying it all together with an abstract background. If it isn't obvious by my enthusiasm alone, I plan to include some form of abstract tattooing in most of my work from here on out.
This expansion couldn't come at a better time, aside from the obvious benefit of helping catch up on the little things and to serve you the community that supports me better and faster, this change brings about an enormous freedom for me artistically. My dad is in his 50's and does the p90x every day but nobody gathers around the water cooler to share excitement for his exploits.
Yes friends this will be a golden era where customer service and productivity will march across the land in a sovereign union of excellence!! The problem though is that we forget to be in the world and we lose the ability to relate to it. This has become a favorite style for me, I love how relaxed and free the process feels and I can't wait to explore things further!
Also, if you follow me on instagram then you may have noticed that I've announced my first print give away! That being said I always pay close attention to the condition of the skin so that we can stop before damage occurs.
Then it will be back to Off the Map Grants Pass For another week of tattooing from July 13th to July 19th.
At this stage it's easy to get discouraged, especially in a busy shop like Off the Map because it can sometimes be a couple months before you can get back in for another round. If you are an open-minded person however, then you will not have a negative prejudice and would feel fine to the people who have extreme full sleeve tattoos.
I’ve worked in collaboration with Off the Map to set up a series of return guest spots every other month for the rest of the 2016 calendar year.
Along with a whole slew of consultations todays work load is sure to be the perfect pace to keep warm in this frigid New England weather. Art can only be complete when it's viewed by someone else, so if we never get out and live life then we lose touch with the humanity that we need to appeal to most. Tattooers can talk back and forth from across the room and can simply lean over to see each others work.
Pen and ink work tends to take tons of time even when it goes fast, but with an extra undisturbed day to work I now have two of the three ideas looking pretty damn good! Normally I work off of reference photos that I take myself in the the spring and early summer. That time away can also make it hard on the artist because we have spent so much time away from the tattoo thinking of other projects that we can lose site of the intention for the piece, which makes for a slow start to a session and more time in the chair. Recently, girl sleeve tattoos have grown its popularity too since most celebrities are tattooing sleeve tattoos to better express and represent themselves both on-screen and off-screen.
Anyone who has ongoing tattoo work will have priority in booking these dates and others who would like to start new projects will have a chance to book in as well. These images seem to have the ability to make the wearer feel more connected to the natural world and that's a beautiful thing! By the second hour of the first appointments the atmosphere lends itself to a social gathering more than a tattoo station and provides a unique experience for anyone attending. One thing to keep in mind is that having a full sleeve tattoo may limit you from working in certain professions, such as the United States Marine Corps or white-collar jobs from the financial sectors, so do think twice before inking yourself with  full sleeve tattoos.
We have done the best we can to schedule these dates in reasonable distances apart so that tattoo clients can easily plan out there tattoo sessions and not feel like they are waiting a long time to finish a project. Yesterday, I got the opportunity to re-work an older tattoo of a couple flowers and expand it into a bouquet of wild flowers.
My client is already intrigued by the idea of someone else's vision or interpretation of the original film. Aside from one of my hand customized prints I'll be throwing in a whole bunch of other fun goodies like original drawings Off the Map swag and more so don't miss out on your chance to win! I like the concept that not only is a tattoo a representation of the life and time of the person, but also reflects the specific time and season of the region the tattoo was created in.
For the client, these quick sketches act as tools to better explain my ideas and a foundation for them to build their ideas off of. I can come back to ongoing work with fresh eyes, a healthy body, and happiness about a life well lived and that is being truly productive! Not only will they carry those flowers with them for the rest of their lives, but they will always be in bloom and every glance will bring back that moment of springtime. Because each drawing is simple and created quickly, I'm able to detach from my ideas easier and hear my clients requests clearer. To me that is the most important aspect of using thumbnail sketches for large compositions. Once I've discussed and shown my suggestions to Wilson as thumbnails however, we will be able to make any changes or additions in a matter of only minutes and we can then come to a common ground on what we BOTH think is best for his design.

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