Cheating Your Creativity

I think about what it is to be an Artist lately. What does it take to truly call yourself an Artist. Who makes the conclusions that you really are, in fact, an Artist.

Theoretically, we are all an Artist. By some form or another, if we are involved in a any form of creating, we exceed well at, and continue to progress at, you can be considered an Artist. But that is not what I am wanting t talk about. I have been thinking lately, about the Industry and the Culture I choose to be a part of. Tattoo Artistry and Fine Arts. A community of Creators, and Inspiring minds. Making 3d illusions of space, depth, and dimension on a 2d plane. People that compose masterpieces, that sometimes only the collector themselves can consider it being.
The way I look at it, to consider yourself a true Artist, one should be able to truly create something from nothing. Whatever medium it is, I believe a true artist should be seasoned in the basics of design and composition.

I did not attend college, nor did I learn an extensive amount of artistry in high school. But I did learn about the basics. Almost every art class I had, from kindergarten all the way up through high school, every Art class taught the basics. Shape, Form, Structure and Dimension. How to draw the shapes. How to create points of perspective. How to shop distance and depth through overlapping, and size differences. How to create shadows and tones with only one color. The Color Wheel, and how to use it to create every color, tint, tone and shadow there is. All of these things are basics, taught on a fundamentals level. For anyone interested in wanting to learn. It is with all this information taht you can begin to experiment and create.

One basic teaching that is learned as well, is the ability to draw in Real Time. Or being able to draw what is in front of you. Still Life. Figure Drawing. Looking at a subject matter, and portraying it on a 2d surface. It is here, that I believe is one of the main factors that can define a true Artist. The ability to be able to put yourself in front of a subject matter, and create what you see, accurately, and as true as possible. I do not mean it has to be an exact replication with every dent, ding, wrinkle and shadow there is. But I do believe that anyone that looks at whatever it is you created, and compares it to the subject you were looking at, they will see what you were doing and be able to understand it.

When it comes down to the Tattoo Industry now a days, it is sad to see that so much of it has been high jacked. By people who are considering themselves to be Artists, when in fact, the work they create is more times than not, a poor replication of a tracing of a picture . . .

Now before you jump down my throats abut this I must say, I fully understand the advantages of Tracing Inspirational line works and line studies. This part of becoming a tattooer is essential to the apprenticeship. It teaches movements, and line weights and use of line work in both positive and negative ways. But being able to trace Does Not make you an Artist.

Another way I see the term Artist get high jacked in the Tattoo Industry, is the rise of Realism and Portraiture Tattoos. How can you tell the difference on who the Artist is from who the Replicator is? It will be hard. There are some really good replicators out there. The difference would come down to time when they will be challenged to draw a custom, or commissioned drawing. Not necessarily a portrait, but something with different layers to it. Even then, sometimes the only way to tell is by seeing the process.

It is at this point that I have unfortunately lost a little emotion for some artists that I used to draw a lot of inspiration from. I would follow their websites, and/or social network pages, and I would catch a Progress shot from a project they are currently working on. Where most people would see a canvas or board with some reference markings, I would see something different. As a tattooer, I made it a point to learn as much as I could, therefore making my portfolio open to as many styles as I could. When I learned to do Portrait tattoos, I had to learn the proper techniques to creating a readable, accurate stencil. Making that tattoo that much more successful. After learning these techniques, and having them stored in my brain, I would be able to recognize portrait tattoo style stenciling. Step back to when I follow some of those websites, I would see a progress shot, with portrait tattoo style stenciling on it.

To make this happen in short form, one would trace the stencil straight off the photo of the reference. Thus making all the shapes, dimensions, lines, shadows, highlights and tonal changes EXACT to the photo. How does this then make it to canvas? Could be a few ways. Back lighting a stretched canvas with a blown up stencil taped to it, makes a makeshift light box transfer. Wood or other materials could have a carbon stencil transferred to them by hand, or by tattoo application. Then there is also tracing a projection of the image.

Once this process is completed, the only real thing the person is doing, is turning a tracing of a photograph into a coloring book on canvas. They are cheating themselves by not challenging themselves to become a more progressive and advanced artist. During the color process, or filler process of the art, the creator can give the illusion of artistry by applying different techniques in fades and shadows and use of color. But my opinion on the matter, this is not to be considered Artist. As Chris Rock told Jason Lee, "You not an Artist, you a tracer. You trace someone else's work and color it. You a Tracer." (Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back)

The techniques I described above I do not want to deem useless for an artist. There is just a time and a place for them to be used. And I believe it should be the complete creation of the artist using them, and not a tracing of someone or something else.

So be it Tattooing, or Fine Art creating. I believe a true Artist possesses the ability to create from scratch. Use references, we all do. Get motivated by someone else's art, we all do. Practice, and trace the lines and movements and fades of other artists, we all do. But understand how all of these things work, then use the understanding, and apply it.

But Please, Challenge yourself! Challenge yourself to create. Draw from life. Draw something that is in front of you. Put something in front of you and draw it. Paint it. Mold it. Shape it. Build it. Whatever you do to create. Just do not limit yourself to tracing and replicating other peoples things. It waters down the Body of Art, and it slows down the Creative movement this culture continues to create.

Telling your story, and speaking with your passion, and portraying your voice in your art will be much more inspirational for both you, your collectors, and your fans. It will take practice, over and over and over again. But it will pay off . . .


Love is . . .

I wanna walk you into a story. It is about a woman. A fantastic woman to be precise. A woman that is the meaning of the word Love.

Her childhood was all but normal. Not to say she did not do the normal things children did, just that most normal kids do not have to juggle the events and the heartache this woman juggles. Self inflicted? Not so much. More like victim of decisions on behalf of her elders. Caught up in the disputes of others. Feeling like there was not much to grasp on to, she walked through it all into the early teens feeling lonely.

On the way home from school one day, choosing to walk a distance longer than normal, she came across something that would spark life into her falling faith. A dog. A shepherd mix, happened to be wandering in the general path she was walking. A few hand motions and a quiet still voice was all she needed to release to attract the pup into her personal circle. With some quick unconditional love in return, the pup began to shadow her all the way home. Knowing that she was not allowed animals in the house, the pup stayed in the pool shed just outside the backdoor. She would take a few minutes at a time and go outside to give it food and water. Show the pup some love then go back inside. This only went on for so long before her mother found out about it. Luckily, she caved to the acceptance when she saw the pup was already progressing with basic obedience and training. Thus a relationship with dogs began in this young girls heart. The pup became her best friend for years to come. Following her to and from the bus stop, and in some scenarios her protector from bullies, as they were to change schools fairly often.

In years to come, the now young woman would grow to enjoy all sorts of animal encounters. She picked up a job in her early years maintaining horses and their stalls. Continually doing such a top notch job, she caught the attention of some owners. They hired her to take care of their race horses. Set them up, bring them in, and calm them down. Train them during the week. Eventually, becoming a racer herself. Loving all the challenges of the horse training, she purchased herself three. A male who no others wanted to attempt to train. A female who was below standards and not cared for properly, and a smaller than normal male with a larger than Life personality but smaller than money expectations.

She turned these horses around with grace and quickness. The first male would go on to become a champion. So much so he was nominated to chosen to run a Gold Cup Race in the south. The female turned around to become a high stakes runner. With a personality of cat. So mellow and loving to her, she would be able to go into the stall with her while she was laying still, and herself lay on the horse like a chase lounge. Read a book and at some points even nap, all with the horse in complete comfort. For the final male, he too would change for the better. He grew higher and higher in personality. Almost considered to be the biggest joker. He would lay down the fastest times of any other horse on the track. Then, in moments of complete irony, he would enter the race last, and taunt the other competitors to race him.

Her life in the stalls ran fair and just for a while. The days ended when her Champion male was mistakenly cared for and stalled wrong. Creating major damage in his legs. Deemed unable to race, he was transferred to a sanctuary to live out his life. He Champion female would be bumped up to the high stakes races. Increasing her odds, but in an unfortunate scenario, increasing her buy out. After winning a major race, she was purchased away from her, with no chance of buy back. Her little male with the huge personality was also released to the sanctuary. With no real motive to race, just run and have fun, he was to enjoy his life with a smile on his face.

Our Lady of the story would not let these negatives detour her. She found a job in an animal Veterinarian hospital. Working with world class veterinarians. Not to mention almost every type of animal you can imagine. From the domestic cats n dogs, to the not so domestic monkeys, goats, tigers and more. For years she served as a great employee and soaked up any and all the knowledge and experiences she could. unknowingly preparing her for her future endeavors.

She would find herself in a position to make a difference in a dogs life again. While on break at a job, she was told there was a dog in bad shape that needed help in a strong way. She arose to the occasion and found the location, and ended up purchasing the dog in need for twenty dollars. She came with a broken jaw, rib cage showing and legs that could barely stand. It took her almost three or four months of everyday love and care. But this pup regained all life, and became her best friend. Bringing our main character right back to square one of our story.

With a few broken relationships throughout her growing up, our lady found her life and love in animals. Dogs being her number one, and Horses her number two. One could venture to say she would be on a path most traveled. That is until the day she found a new challenge. A case she had never really been through before. Because this case would pose many new, unknown steps.

She has been through so much already. Dogs deemed so bad, they were not adoptable, not trainable, not fit for loving homes. She proved them wrong. Horses deemed useless, and not worth the time needed to turn them over. She proved them wrong. Exotic birds, so ill tempered and full of noise, they were also deemed not adoptable, not worth the time or efforts. She turned those decisions on their face. So what could this new adventure pose that would be so challenging?

A man. Not by character, but by societies rule. More like a child in an adult body. Stuck in an area that seemed to be detrimental to his well being, she would see and hear the graceful being inside behind all the rough, hardened, lost outer shell. They made themselves acquaintances. Keeping casual conversation and time to time connections. Coming out of a failed relationship, she approached with caution. For months they kept contact. More and more frequent contact would come about. Then a meeting. Then a decision. She too was wanting a change as was he. So they set out to enjoy life together. Take head on, whatever faced them. So that is what they did.

Together they set out to create a new family! One that would be from love. One that would include those who were and were not blood. One that could be so strong and motivated, change would become normal. Even find themselves in the subject of creation! A baby boy was to be joining their home. Then, replay happens. Our Female finds herself in a reflection of her past. Our male has created static. He has wandered. He has been selfish. He has lost his focus. In all that was happening, he has also shown something else. He has shown our female, she is in Love. She knows because it hurts. Like the hurt she felt in the early years division. Like the hurt she felt when she was subject to the arguments. The hurt that makes her hide inside.

But unlike many before her. She stands firm. She faces the demons of hers as well as his. She looks them in the face and speaks with sharpness. She tell him she is here to stay! She will not let them destroy what they have created. She shows the unconditional love she has learned over the years. That love that believes in truth. That love that believes in nobility. That love that believes in more than emotion. She is Love.

This stance shows our male a love he has never really experienced before. Someone that stands by him and says, he is better than these demons. He is better than his actions. He is better than the person he sees in the mirror. She demands better, He pursues it. For her, for their son, for himself.

This story is about My Lady! She is the most awesome person I know. I could not write enough about her. I wrote this story so some may see a back story to her life. How she has come to use Love to conquer her challenges. That some may come to know some of the trials she has gone through and the story that has come to build her into the greatness she is today!

I have been one of the hardest things she has ever had to deal with I believe. The whole way through, she has stood by me and Loved me. Even when I do not love myself. Now, it is time that I return it. It may be late, but it's better than never.

You are an amazing Woman. An amazing Mother. An amazing partner. I know that times get hard on you. I know that all the stuff around us seems to be aiming to destroy us. I know that things get overwhelming. I am here with you! I am here to carry this with you! No matter what. I have never wanted to become anything better than what I could put out as it was. I always stayed within my comfort zone. Your love for me has shown that I can venture out. I can take risks. I can even fall short at times, and you still Love me, because you are there with me, taking the risk with me. We have the greatest kid ever! I don't just say it cause he is ours, I say it because it is confirmed by many who meet him! Even our enemies have admitted he is awesome! You are doing such a good job at being a mom. You love him like you love me, and look what has come about from that. I have forcefully made myself face myself. I am changing my core, because you refused to let me accept the false identity that I created for myself. You show me that I am better than what I have been. You show us so much. All the while, you balance the major duties of a functioning Rescue, Trainer, and Educator. Who else does this without assistance.

It is time for you to Love yourself too. You have done countless deeds for many. Both animal and human. You have been through so much. Not even described here cause I know you would have my head if I told them stories! I have brought you through some major heartache. For all of this I am sorry, again and again. But I love you, and I am blessed to be with you. I cannot wait to see what God has planned for us next. You are my role model. I aim to Love you as you have me.

I want to carry your weights. I want to tackle your demons. I want to be your pillow to rest on. I want to build our characters. I want to build our faith. I want to change this world. I want us to be the Lights in the Darkness. I want us to let go together, serve together, Love together, Rise together, grow old together, and pass on together.

Your awesome!
You are My Lady!
I am your Fella!
I heart You!