On the bulletin board… Wild Cat Flash!

April 26th, 2010 in Flash,Japanese,Tattoo

A traditional Japanese and American style piece of flash line work. Features a “Wild Cat” Tiger.

“Swan” Painting

February 16th, 2010 in Japanese,Paintings

A very traditional styled acrylic painting of a Swan and flowers, finished with gold leaf.

“Pride”

September 10th, 2009 in Paintings

New painting called “Pride”, has been a while since I last painting but this is a good start to getting back in the game

Failure Print

August 6th, 2009 in Japanese

I decided to get my hand on trying my own Ukiyo-e style prints, instead of using woodblocks I decided to screen print them. Here is a failure print, this is the 2x trying to expose, I already know what I messed up on (The negative was DRAWN, not printed – that is the main issue). But this is really to just check out what I’ve been working on.

Sketch of Kuniyoshi print, for test print

Screen, you can see some areas got over exposed (Missing right eye), not because I over exposed them, but because the ink in those areas were too transparent

Failed Print

Smokey Design

July 21st, 2009 in Flash

New flash design of “Smokey”. He sports a mustache and goatee with booze, smoking pipe, and a lovely rose for that traditional feel. With early woodcut inspired shading lines that give this piece a very vintage look.

Review of Hori Smoku Sailor Jerry: The Life and Times of Norman Keith Collins

June 25th, 2009 in Tattoo

I had the pleasure of attending a screening of Hori Smoku Sailor Jerry “My work speaks for itself” at Tribeca Cinema (An amazing venue itself), a documentary of Norman “Sailor Jerry” Collins’ life and pioneer in traditional American tattooing.

The film is mainly about Sailor Jerry’s life, how he was influenced, the few people who influenced him, and those he influenced (Don Ed Hardy was one of his proteges, and Hardy was also in the film). This opens a wide spectrum of people, mainly tattoo artists who speak about their memories and times with Sailor Jerry. He was crude, cocky, and bold – and his attitude was reflected in his work. He regarded tattoos as the ultimate rebellion against “the Squares”.

“Aloha Monkey” Design by Sailor Jerry

The film speaks of his time in the Navy where he traveled abroad and his interest in traditional Japanese tattooing. From this he incorporates the traditional Japanese elements into American styles, and revolutionizing tattooing. The best way to describe Sailor Jerry is that he’s like Forest Gump, he goes through huge historical movements and is involved in them, including both World Wars. This is where his importance comes in, not just as a pioneering in traditional tattooing but in history. Sailor jerry would tattoo all the sailors coming in during World War II, the movie points out the fact that these sailors had 48 hours to get a prostitute, drink, get tattooed then shipped off to die somewhere in the Pacific (“Stewed, Screwed and Tattooed.” – Sailor Jerry).

Not much is written about Sailor Jerry’s life, he corresponded mainly through letters, he was against speaking in public about tattooing, and doing interviews. So how this movie plays out his life is through old tattooing buddies, those he mentored, and friends – As you can guess, most early tattooist had very “colorful” and sharp attitudes and senses of humor which made the meat of the film, and made it the most enjoyable. Just imagine crazy old time tattoo artists retelling stories of an even crazier buddy, and you’ll get the sense of amusement I got from this film. Norman Keith Collins was an elusive person, and this film contains a lot of significant details of both him and tattooing.

Despite Sailor Jerry’s rough sailor attitude and old school rough tattoo artists, this film was edited beautifully. The DVD comes out this fall (2009). Visit the movie’s official site: http://www.horismokumovie.com/

Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OHjebTottiw

Traditional American Pin-up

June 17th, 2009 in Flash,Paintings

new painting done in water color, my first of many to come. I plan to start doing paintings and offering them up for free over my blog as flash designs. Here is the first of many, the banner was left blank for that purpose.

Origins of Japanese Tattoo artists

April 24th, 2009 in Japanese,Tattoo

I’ve written much about tattoos and popular motifs in Traditional Japanese tattooing, although I’ve never discussed the people responsible for these works of art. The beginning of Japanese tattooists developed from the practice of punitive tattooing, where bands (around the arms or legs) or characters were tattooed as punishment.

Punitive tattoos

This was called Irezumi or “The insertion of ink”, this term has negative connotations because of it’s use as punishment and on criminals. Although these Irezumi tattooist were inserting ink into the skin, they were not tattoo artists.

Irezumi

To understand how the first tattoo artists came to be we must understand how Ukiyo-e (Pictures of the Floating world, woodblock prints, see my post on “Rules of the Japanese tattoo” for more insight) prints were done. There were many craftsmen involved in the process of creating Ukiyo-e woodblock prints, but the main ones that were involved were the artist who did the drawing and woodblock carver who took the artist’s design and carved it into the woodblock. The artist would get much of the royalties from the prints sold, combined with the people of the Edo period looking for individuals to tattoo popular woodblock designs (see: Water Margin’s Popularity in Japanese tattooing) they turned to craftsmen already familiar with the designs and with manual skills. This allowed an opening for these woodblock carvers to become the Edo period’s first tattoo artists.

Traditional Japanese tattooing tools

Opposed to the word “Irezumi” to describe decoritive tattooing the Carvers called tattoos “Horimono” meaning “carved object”, and the prefix “Hori” which is adopted by Traditional Tattoo artists into their names means “To carve”.

“Raijin” The God of thunder and lightning

March 4th, 2009 in Japanese,Paintings

Raijin is a demon who is found in Japan’s religion of Shintoism. When Buddhism arrived in Japan, Raijin and Fuji (The God of Wind) was adopted as well as many other Shinto icons into Buddhism. Raijin bangs on a massive drum to form thunder.

“Solace” Buddha painting

March 4th, 2009 in Japanese,Paintings

This is a painting of a Buddha (Thai Buddha influenced) surrounded by three Lotus flowers, to represent the Buddha’s purity. I intended the buddha to be a statue more so than a person.

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