This whole move has been in the works for a while, but let’s make it official: I’m excited and honored to be joining Butterfat Studios with the mega-talented Esther Garcia. An appointment-only shop is a huge change from the fast pace of a street shop that I’m used to, but I’m welcoming the change, it’ll give me the slower pace and focus to work on custom pieces and some other projects I have in the works. I encourage you to check out the website, and Esther’s work (and tumblr!) as well, I’m confident this is a fantastic beginning of an already fantastic year - we’re gonna make great music together.
Of course I have to thank all my amazing clients, and from everyone at Metamorph Studios for all the support over the last few years, I couldn’t have made it this far without you.
PS: I can still be found at firstname.lastname@example.org for any inquiries.
The past 4 months:
- Taking nearly a month off work (because: this) to travel through Rome, Venice, Florence and Nice was an eye-opener. I got lost, ate amazing food, fed my brain, shed tears over heartbreakingly beautiful artwork everywhere. (+100 XP) Came back to the homeland with a culture hangover. - Turned a year older (-40 HP, + 40 XP), felt old, familiar panic of slowly dying/wasting time. - Started smoking again (-100 HP) - Got my huge Ito Jakuchu thigh tattoo started by the lovely Gakkin, still have many hours to go. (+10 MANA) - Dating, like a human being (+20 XP, +20 CHARISMA) - Bought a ticket to Iceland for the spring for visiting friends, soothing geothermicities, learned to make things happen if you want them to happen. (+ 20 SPECIAL) - Seeing the proof of a year of hard work. Endings, new beginnings and inklings for bigger things. (+50 SECRETS)
I updated Blueskycomplex with some finished tattoo work, which I will be updating here as well. I’ve got so many great projects in the works at the moment, but I’ve only got these bits & fragments (see above) as things slowly come together. I’m just as interested in the process of a tattoo as I am the finished product, and of course larger tattoos take quite a few sessions. If you want to see more of these, follow me on Instagram: feralcatbox. I’ll be around here more often, I promise.
Been busy, things are moving, and shaking. Snag me on my way out to the southwest for a tattoo!
The last page of my fourth sketchbook, which has been lingering around for too long now. I started this moleskine almost two years ago, and somehow it’s an amalgamation of all the frustration and post-college anxiety and artistic constipation over the last two years (it seems appropriate to use those pressed flowers, since they’ve been floating in my book for about that long). Luckily, I’m ready to let that all go. And what better time to start a new sketchbook than on your first trip to Europe? Having a sleek, unmarred new moleskine is a great feeling - and I’m ensuring it comes back to the States with some mileage on it.
Now, to hop on a plane and worry about all the things I’ve forgotten to do! Rome, Florence, Venice, and Nice, France. See you on the other side.
Summer, you’ve gone already. I hardly knew ye.
I’ve been busy. I like being busy, in that hectic momentum that keeps you afloat and your mind swimming - work at the shop has been providing me with a steady flow of tattoos, projects both big and small. There are a lot of exciting ones in the works (see above!) that I’ll be chipping away at through winter, but I can’t help but feel like I let this summer slip away from me. But, the tattooing business in Chicago booms in the summer, and while I can lament for missed sweaty summer nights and drunken swimming and dizzying arrays of fireworks (alright, there were a few), I’ve managed to save quite a bit of money for some much-needed time off.
Since starting my apprenticeship in July 2010, a mere month and a half after graduating, I’ve been working full-time plus, spending most of my waking hours in the same place - and while I love my job and I love Chicago, I’m feeling restless and stifled and in desperate need of some fresh air and scenery. I’m calling it continuing education, but really, I’m taking 20 days off work to go to Italy and France, and knock some of those things on my bucket list that I should have done a while ago. I’ve never been to Europe and definitely feel like I owe this to myself, both the break and the opportunity to get out of dodge and see some truly amazing things. And eat some amazing food. I’m so excited to do everything and nothing all at once, and be truly outside my element, because really, there’s nothing worse than feeling comfortable. You know, expanding horizons, nourishing your soul, being a citizen of the world or whatever. I could do with a good dose of nourishment (and by nourishment, I mean delicious meat and cheese and pasta).
I leave in a week, and I’m all abuzz with anxiety and excitement and nervousness. If you want more consistent updates from me, follow me on Instagram @feralcatbox, which is mostly tattoos, food, and cats but surely I’ll make good use of it on this trip.
My good friend Jared Pace just completed his first album - which I did the art for. If you’re interested in some late summer beats n’ jams, give The Yarn a listen. It’s available for free download on Bandcamp.
stonesinyourmouth asked: I've been following your artwork since 2005-2006 and I just wanted to say that I love how your style has evolved since then! you truly are an inspiration to me :)
I sometimes forget that I’ve been putting my work up in various places for as long as I have, forums, Livejournal, etc. It’s always good to hear from y’all! And glad to hear I’ve kept your attention this long. :)
theworldcantbringherdown asked: Do you have any advice for an aspiring tattoo artist?
Oh goodness. Getting to the apprenticeship itself can be a task in itself - research, find a shop you like the work of, get tattooed. Immersing yourself can be a good way in, or a least a way to make sure this is truly the path you want to take. Be serious about it, and find someone to take that chance on you - who you want to learn from, work closely with, and eventually work for. I’ve heard a lot of stories of eager people getting taken advantage of in their apprenticeships, either by paying money, or being left in the purgatory of free labor without any of the opportunities promised. So do your research.
Once you get your foot in the door, be patient. It’s hard work, it’s meant to test you and humble you and will do it thoroughly. I can only speak to my experience at my shop, but what an apprenticeship consists of varies by the attitude of the shop and your attitude as an apprentice. At it’s basics, you’ll be spending a lot of time in a shop, watching, cleaning, doing whatever they ask of you (getting 8 different sandwiches from Subway, etc.) before you even come close to a tattoo machine. It’s a huge time commitment, I was spending 50 hours a week in the shop, unpaid. It’s not easy. About 7 months into my apprenticeship, I was broke and worn ragged when they finally gave me my light at the end of my tunnel. And what a good feeling that is.
I’m very much a part of a new generation of tattoo artists who come from an art background, who went to college and come into the business with an already ingrained artistic style, and I was lucky to find a custom shop that encouraged it - the tattoo industry is notoriously stubborn, so don’t be surprised if you’re met with a bit of skepticism. If you want it badly enough, it will come to you if you’re patient, and with some perseverance. Good luck.
lilysnodgrass asked: i am in love with your artistic style! I would love to see more of your work! do you have another website or portfolio?
Thanks! The rest of my work can be found at blueskycomplex.
Anonymous asked: what school did you go to and what did you study?
I spent two years at Arizona State University, as a painting major. The program was pretty straightforward, and put me through a lot of classes that focused on materials and technical training - oil, watercolor, 3d/2d design classes. Somewhere in my second year I had a fire lit under my ass for bigger and better things, and thankfully I took the opportunity to pack up and leave my life in Arizona for Chicago. I spent the next three years at School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and since they don’t even have majors, I sort of set adrift trying to find my way through studio classes and find my work within them. There wasn’t much room for illustration at that school, and SAIC’s conceptual approach to artwork lends itself mostly to producing fine art rather than editorial artwork. I stayed mostly in the painting department, dabbled in stone lithography (which I loved, but wouldn’t pursue outside of school), and eventually took haven in Scientific Illustration at the Field Museum. The class was spend at the museum itself and the group was always an odd collection of students who were in the gap between comics and illustration and concept art, all in the context of a very technical class. After spending one semester there, it became a nice break from the heady conceptualism of the painting department, which usually discouraged any representational work (or “illustrative”) work for emphasis on abstract impressionist/conceptual work.
Looking back on the work I made during this time, it made a lot of transitions, and it’s truthfully a bit lost. I think I was getting a lot of information at once about what art is and should be, it was a lot of working through ideas by talking about them, rather than true execution. If ASU prepared me with technical ability, SAIC finished it off by really making me examine my work and what it meant to make it, peppered with some great art history classes, and an incredible museum to use as a resource. So, to your question - without a major or any program it’s hard to say I “studied” anything strictly. At least not in anyway that put me through a set of classes with an end goal - I’m not a Painter, or an Illustrator, or a Designer. I dip a toe in all of those titles and have found what I need within all of them to make the work I make now.