larch needles newsletter 6/3
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.
5/3, protoplasmic flow
an extension of a "spirit flow" piece made in february, transitioning smoothly into what something more akin to what i've been calling "protoplasm." these two styles play very well together!
always love doing gap-filler placements like this! also always fun to combine multiple motifs.
5/22, (micro)cosmic dialogue
i've been having a blast drawing up these swirly, spiral-based "protoplasm" designed. they feel equal parts cosmic and microscopic. this evolved very directly from the bottle-shaped piece i did earlier, and as much as i love that one, i think this motif was definitely meant to flow freely without the confines of a closed shape!
5/24, (ghost) branch
the first of several experimental pieces done last month. the branch on one hand is in brown ink, and the branch on the other is in white. i'm very interested to see how the white heals, which will definitely inform how i was to incorporate white in my work going forward. i think i could be used to interesting effect.
seeing this piece as it is here, it's hard to imagine it without the color shift, which does great work in highlighting the structural change of the design. i'm really proud of that smooth gradient, while also maintaining the hollow lines!
5/28, bark synapse
this piece was done entirely with single-needle, but the right side is in greywash (diluted black ink). they look pretty much identical here, but i'm hoping that one side will become subtly, yet noticeably lighter as it heals.
5/30, canyon scape
this piece demonstrated to me how much the thoughtful application of color can add to a piece. some colored inks, like the brown used in this piece, are extremely responsive to hand speed and needle depth, and subtle changes can produce visible differences in pigmentation. while i was initially frustrated by this, i think this inconsistency in the lines. makes the piece feel much more organic and enmeshed with the body. this is truly one of my favorites, and has me very excited about the future!
june: i can still take a few more appointments this month! open dates are as follows: 6/18, 6/24, 6/25, 6/26, 6/29
july: next month's books are now open!
thank you so much for reading! if you’d like to book an appointment, you can begin by finding my booking form here. until next time!