may was a challenging month (and no, i don't blame mercury). i had my worst string of cancellations ever, which resulted in an unexpected two weeks off from work. i found myself questioning more than ever before whether tattooing is really a viable way for me to make a living. at the same time, though, i'm feeling more excited about tattooing than i have in a very long time. i was able to use my time outside the studio to develop a new generation of designs, and i was fortunate enough to have several opportunities to experiment with new materials and techniques. somewhat unexpectedly, i've begun to fall in love with color. i still need to work on my techniques, and to figure out exactly how i want to integrate it into my practice, but i can tell this is the start of something fruitful. i've been a painter much longer than i've been a tattoo artist, so in that sense working with color comes naturally. creating mixes, building color palettes, and learning about the qualities of different pigments are all things i've taken a lot of pride in. i think i got turned off of color in tattooing due to the ways in which i've seen color employed by others, which are usually either gaudy and cartoonish, or hyper-realistic. i also was (and still am) intimidated by the complexity of all the additional variables it introduces to the process. i'm definitely convinced now that the potential it brings is worth the challenge, though.
i was able to make my time off from tattooing into a fruitful period, and i cranked out a heap of new designs, which have supplanted most of the previous work in my portfolio. it's a huge relief to have a substantial body of work i feel very energized about, and to retire all the designs that have come to feel stale. perhaps a cliche metaphor, but this practice feels very much like a garden - ideas germinating and growing into motifs, cross-pollinating, mutating, propagating.