In 2012 I began working with Jeff Gogue at Off the Map Tattoo as a shop manager. At the time I had minimal exposure to the world of tattooing and over the months and years I had many experiences and came into contact with countless artists of whom had helped to shape my understanding of what tattoos and tattoo culture could be. One aspect that stood out and appealed to me in a profound way was large scale work covering vast areas of the body. The kind of imagery that could be seen from a distance with subject matter so large that there was no mistake as to what the viewer was seeing.
Shortly after I began working with Jeff he had started focusing primarily on large scale work and after seeing a few full back, full torso and even some full body projects begin, I knew that I wanted something of that scale and caliber covering my body. We discussed my idea of The Green Woman, a mythological protector of the woods who uses trickery and seduction to lure destroyers of the forest away from their havoc only to maim, murder, or devour them for their atrocious behavior. The Green Woman is of the forest and often cloaked in forest creatures, woodland trinkets, and the bounty of nature's beauty. The raven and fox skull which adorn her symbolize her trickster nature, her goat horn representing the dark and felonious side of her otherwise sweet and gorgeous outward appearance. I've always enjoyed this myth and felt a kinship with the qualities that represent these stories. We set the first appointment, which was no short wait, and I patiently abided my time in anticipation while familiarizing myself even more so with the whole process as I was fortunate enough to watch Jeff work on such pieces on a daily basis.
The day had finally arrived, simultaneously nervous yet confident, anxious but with a still and stoic calmness washing over me, I let go. I immediately gave in to the process and allowed it to take me where it needed me to go. I had no interest in controlling or influencing this experience, I simply wanted to experience it for it's own sake. I wanted to learn from it, to feel it, to know it and to give myself into it completely. This wasn't to be a journey that belonged to me, it was a journey that countless others had taken before me and of which many will take after, a journey I was simply a part of, something larger than just me and my tattoo. It's a concept I struggle to articulate, but of those who have partaken in this journey, many seem to have this sense of knowing and belonging to this larger experience that transcends us as individuals.
Over the course of almost 3 years working on this project I experienced many peaks, plains, and plateaus. At times I trudged through the burden of a treacherous mental and emotional landscape, hanging on by just a thread as the pain in some areas became excruciatingly difficult to manage. I tapped into previously untouched and unknown aspects to my own inner being as I felt the needles jab into my skin over and over, ad infinitum. I often left having what I would describe as a deeply spiritual experience, not always in a positive manner, but moving nonetheless. Many times I battled with my own self will, conquered inner demons, and learned a bit about mind over matter. I've left sessions feeling a sense of doom for no good reason, and I've left feeling more accomplished and renewed than I had previously known, as well as everything in between and outside of that spectrum. I have learned a great deal about patience, dedication, and prowess. I am both honored and humbled to have gone through this experience.
While I look forward to taking a little break from getting tattooed after having completed such a grand project, with great anticipation I am also eager to begin filling in the empty spaces of my body, to work towards a personal sense of wholeness in becoming tattooed. I owe the debt of my gratitude to Jeff for his dedication and determination, his talent and ambition in pursuing this project with me. It has been of the highest privilege to not only have gotten a tattoo of such scale and caliber from Jeff but to have also been a student, co-worker, and comrade over the years. With great honor and appreciation, thank you Jeff, thank you so very much.
After having spent a year tattooing alongside Johnny Smith and the crew at Sweetwater Collective in Jacksonville, OR I have decided to dedicate some of 2017 to traveling for both work and play. In doing so I will be parting ways with the crew and company and will be closing my books for the time being. I am booked mostly solid until I leave for the first stretch of my travels in May, but I will be back and will open up some time starting in mid-June of which I will post details once I have some dates and a location set.
It's been a great year working with this crew. I've gained a lot of insight regarding personal motivation, direction, and process. I've shared some fun and memorable times with some great people and made new friends. I've grown my clientele base while maintaining current relations and am as always so very thankful to each and every one of you for your support. It means the world to me! I've grown in many ways as an artist and individual, but this restless heart needs to ramble on.
I'm looking forward to grand new adventures and meeting new people during my travels. I'm also eager to set up some guest spots at some studios around the country to spend some time with fellow tattooer friends in new settings. To learn from others and gain some new inspiration. I'll be posting travel dates and locations as they are set, so keep an eye out for those.
If you have a tattoo in progress and do not already have some time set up with me before May, please get in touch with the shop ASAP at 541-702-2439 and we'll do our best to find an available spot for you. I'm looking forward to returning from my travels with a fresh outlook and some hefty doses of inspiration. And of course, I can't wait to get started on some new tattoos upon my return as well as continuing current projects. See you in June!
I'm honored to have donated two of my limited edition giclee prints to the environmental advocacy group KS Wild for their silent auction at this year's Siskiyou Film Festival. I've been a supporter of KS Wild by various means for some time now and it is a priviliege to contribute my art to a cause dear to my heart.
Both prints were part of larger gift bundles and the auction seemed to be well recieved. I'm sure these prints have found wonderful new homes and I want to thank those who contributed as well as those whose bids will support the much needed efforts of environmental justice groups during these turbulent times.
I'll be honest, I'm not a huge fan of Valentine's Day. I could bore you with my laundry list of complaints, but I'd rather just have fun with my disdain. So, with that said, I'm offering up these fun flash tattoo designs on Valentine's Day for $80 each. I will only have 6 spots available, so call the shop at 541-702-2439 ASAP to secure your spot!!! See ya then!
I have an affinity toward transitions, whether seasonal, bioregional, personal, political, historical, artistic, ad infinitum. There's just something that stirs inside of me when experiencing, learning or creating these passages in progress. When a static repetition becomes the status quo I can't help but yearn for a little refashioning and variation in the most serene and subtle ways to the most abrupt and violent. To bring fierce movement to a stagnant impasse.
Situationist ideas have been a valuable influence in my approach towards life and art and keeps me in nearly constant transition as I continually push perceived limitations and boundaries. I desire the fundamental reconstruction of everyday life. A life that strays from the passive media spectacle and the instrumental banality of advanced capitalist society. A life achieved through the construction (or destruction) of situations which merge art, everyday life, and revolutionary fervor with intent to revive the values of play over the mere routine of survival in a world gone mad. Every moment a potential encounter with life.
I try to approach tattooing and other creative endeavors with these qualities in mind. To continually reconstruct what I believe a tattoo to be and to challenge the self imposed limitations I've constructed within my own mind. To think about the worth of the tattoo beyond the spectacle of social media platforms and that short lived dopamine fix it accompanies and to instead consider longevity and integrity, a clients lifestyle and future life plans, as well as designing tattoos which match an individual's character and fits their specific body type well.
As Fall transitions into Winter, life in general seems to slow down a bit and I look forward to having some extra time to put into art and tattoo projects, both ongoing and new. To play with new ideas on paper with the intent to bring them to life on skin. To breakdown and unlearn all that has influenced my current ideas of what art and tattoos are to be and to reconstruct new approaches. All with the hope that this will trickle down into other aspects of my life facilitating in the creation of situations containing infinite possibilities.
It's no easy endeavor, unlearning and challenging perceptions and ideologies embedded into my thoughts and actions, but the difficulty of the task at hand is the exact reason to embark on such a journey. To disturb the comfortable and comfort the disturbed. A transition toward life and art as an ecstatic collaboration between creation and destruction. Every encounter a potential moment for revolution.
All Hallows' Eve is just around the corner and to celebrate I'll be doing Halloween themed flash tattoos all day on Monday, October 31st at Sweetwater Tattoo Collective. The rest of the shop will be offering flash designs on Friday, October 28th, but due to my books being full that day I'll be offering mine on Halloween day, so you'll have a couple of chances to get a sweet Halloween themed tattoo!! While there will be an assortment of tattoos offered with varying prices and sizes from all of the artists, I am offering roughly egg sized designs for $60 each!!! I have one flash sheet ready and some more designs on the way. Each tattoo will take no more than an hour to complete and I only have 6 spots available that day, so make sure you call the shop and book your spot ASAP before they're all gone!!! Check out some of the designs below and call the shop at 541-702-2439 to put down your deposit and secure your spot!! See ya then!
Just days away until the Portland Tattoo Expo on October 7th 8th and 9th at the Portland Expo Center! I'll be hanging out with the whole crew from Sweetwater Collective all weekend long. Stop by our booth to say hi, check out our collection of artist prints, apparel, free swag and maybe get a tattoo while you're there. If you would like to book an appointment with me for this event send me an email about your tattoo idea ASAP. Looking forward to hearing from you and I hope to see you there!
Tattooing speaks to me as an ever passionate endeavor worth the desire, determination and relentless persistence I put into into it to see every project and the general trajectory of my goals through to the end. At times I stay awake through the dead of the night as inspiration courses through my veins so that I may create a piece of work that I am satisfied with. Every tattoo is a call to action and I am honored to have clients who trust my artistic vision with art that is to be adorned permanently on their bodies. It matters not what the theme or subject matter is as I am always looking to be challenged, to grow, advance and to find inspiration.
With a full heart and unfettered intention, tattooing for myself is about fulfilling the need to create, wanting to be present in the moment and feeling more alive. I have been privileged to have met and worked with some truly ambitious and talented artists who push me more and more each and every day by simply doing what they do best. I have been fortunate enough to come into contact and form some great relationships with amazing and dedicated clients. To both artists and clients I owe the debt of my gratitude, a very sincere thank you for allowing me to live this dream. You inspire me to chase this with every last breath, to risk it all and take chances, to endure through the trials and tribulations and to come out stronger and more passionate than ever before. Thank you.
I'm stoked to announce that I'll be attending the Portland Tattoo Expo October 7-9 at the Portland Expo Center with the whole crew from Sweetwater Collective. We'll have a booth right at the entrance so you'll be sure to see us! Stop by to say hi, check out our collection of artist prints, apparel, free swag and get a tattoo while you're there. You also have a chance to win a free tattoo by going to the Sweetwater Collective Facebook Page and sharing our video promo announcing our presence at the expo. If you would like to book an appointment with me for this event send me an email about your tattoo idea ASAP. Looking forward to hearing from you and I hope to see you there!
Loss is often seen as a negative quality, but with a shift in perspective it becomes possible to learn to understand loss as a gift. A loss of inhibitions as a catalyst to greater heights of personal development can be one such gift. Maybe a breakdown and loss of ideologies, social constructs, and limiting thought patterns or behaviors can be understood and relished as a gift. As an artist I learn and grow daily and I've come to see my loss of artistic restraint and barriers to my imagination as gifts highly regarded and appreciated. Yet loss is also an uncomfortable and often despairing process to experience.
It's never a great feeling to come face to face with the loss of long held ideas, comfortable habits, that which you love, or static lifestyle choices. Often times confronting these losses can be intimidating, frightening, and a bit despondent. This applies to artistic development as well an any other facet of life. I aspire to ground my perspective on such loss as one largely based in optimism and positivity.
When I find myself embracing and accepting the reality of loss rather than fighting it, I often find that I become more free to forge new ways of thinking, behaving and doing. Whether it be with creative endeavors or life in general, I secretly look forward to everything falling apart and nothing going as planned, that way anything becomes possible. I consider it a practice of problem solving, adaptation, and use of imagination. It may seem chaotic at times, but it allows me to overcome obstacles and make progress.
Without such destabilization and agitation growth can sometimes become stagnant or slow paced at best. It's in those unstable moments that I can begin the process of working through and moving forward to a deeper understanding and ability to create, navigate, or approach something. For these reasons I consider such loss of comfort and security as a gift worth receiving.
I've come to learn that at times I must expect the unexpected, disturb my comforts, let this landscape of loss consume me and give way to complete reckless abandon. I've come to understand how these actions can positively influence who I may become and ultimately advance my progress as an artist and individual. Without an occasional break from the status quo one may never come to know other ways of doing things or obtain a wider spectrum of understanding.
So I embrace the chaos, the despondency, the landscape of loss and I keep my mind focused on the benefits of such an embrace. May it all be wrong, may it all fall to pieces, and when nothing makes sense it may all come back together again.
Through the rest of Summer I'll be offering a sweet deal. Book an appointment and you'll receive a $25 Gift Certificate towards your tattoo. And to sweeten the pot a little, if you book 4 or more hours you'll receive a $100 Gift Certificate!!! Don't pass this up, get in touch ASAP!!! See ya soon!
675 N 5th St.
Jacksonville, OR 97530
On Sunday, July 10th the crew from Sweetwater Collective will be volunteering at the Body Art Booth for the 50th Annual Children's Festival at the Britt Grounds in Jacksonville, OR. We will be there from 4:30pm - 8:30pm doing facepainting for the kiddos and handing out goodie bags. Come say hi and support our local community! See you there!!
There's been quite a few changes over the past few months at Sweetwater Collective and we've been stoked on all the progress taking place while getting the studio aesthetic dialed in, bringing on new artists (myself included) and updating our website. There are still plenty of projects in the works, but we're getting close. As of recent, our website has been updated and we're pleased thus far with the results. Head on over to www.sweetwatercollective.com to take a look and feel free to get in touch about your next tattoo. We're open Monday through Saturday, 10-6 and we'd love to chat with you about your tattoo ideas!! Talk to you soon!
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” - Aristotle
Every day I wake up early. On most days I watch the sun rise over the beautiful mountains in the not too far distance from my quaint and modest home nestled in this lovely little valley of the Siskiyou Mountains. I am so grateful for the positive people in my life, for all I've experienced and all I've worked for and achieved, and that alone is a great motivator to strive for more, always.
I try to live every day, every moment, with intention and purpose. It's not always easy. Some days I want to sleep in, some days I want to do nothing but go with the motions, being carried to some destination not of my choosing, and some days I just want to give up entirely and let the world take me where it will. Yet I rarely succumb to these desires because my desire to achieve my own goals and forge my own destiny always wins.
I bring these habits into tattooing. If I need to stay up late and get up early to prepare for a client than that's what I do. If I need to hustle more because my current hustle isn't achieving my desired results, than I do that too. I know what I want out of life, out of tattooing, and I intend to get it by any means necessary without compromise. I know what it will take to achieve my goals, and while it is a daunting task, I am eager on a daily basis to actively engage in this struggle, to dare to win. This isn't to say I never falter, because I do, but I pick myself back up a keep moving forward.
I believe this is what it will take to reach the kind of success that I have defined for myself, and I won't hesitate to push myself beyond my own perceived limitations and boundaries to get there. To strive for something more than what I currently have, constantly, and with an unmatched determination. Victory is in the attempt and I won't let the potential for failure deter me. I welcome it with open arms as every failure is a lesson learned and a chance to grow.
In a world where mediocrity reigns, I intend to try more, harder, and to strive for an above average pursuit. I intend to be realistic and demand the impossible. It's really the only way I know to be. I'm not very good at settling, always restless and discontent by nature. I want to climb the highest peaks, travel the longest distance, take my life and tattooing as far as it will go with all my heart, with all my will and with everything I have to offer. Nothing less than everything will do!
I'm stoked to announce that Sweetwater Collective will be hosting their 1 Year Anniversary Party this coming July 1st from 6-9pm. We'll have food available from Victory Dogs, adult beverages will be available, and we'll have DJ Travis J. Hinman on hand. We'll have tons of raffle items to giveaway including FREE tattoo time from our resident artists, Prints and Apparel from Johnny Smith Art, Products from Wild Rose Herbs Tattoo Aftercare, Apparel from Legionnaire, Coffee giveaways from Black Rock Coffee Bar, and a few surprises to top it all off.
I'll be including at least one of every print I have available for the raffle as well as some hats, shirts and bandanas and will also be giving away two hours of FREE tattoo time! So mark your calendars and save the date! This event will be one fun party!!! See you there!
Summertime and the livin' is... busy!!! Today is the first official day of Summer, also known as the Summer Solstice, and this season is shaping up to be a busy one. I have been working on some new paintings and new tattoo projects over the past couple of months and I can't wait to finish them up to share with you. Here's a sneak peek at a few works in progress.
As for other projects, over the next couple of months I will be updating my online store with some new prints, originals, and apparel, so keep an eye out for that. I will also be taking some much needed vacation time near the end of Summer, so if you are looking to get in my books sooner than later give the shop a call at 541-702-2439 and our front desk staff will set you up. Have a great Summer, keep those tattoos protected, and I look forward to seeing you soon!
In a world dominated by unhinged capitalism, characterized by cut throat competition, production and profits over people and the planet, unlimited and unsustainable growth patterns, rampant and unnecessary consumerism, it's no wonder so many people seem to share some sense of depravity within certain aspects of their lives. Largely reduced to wage slaves and consumers, we only seem to matter insofar as our consent and consumption habits can be manipulated and manufactured through a constant onslaught of advertising gimmicks and the appeal of scarcity by companies of which the only bottom line is profits.
At times the globalized crises we face seems so disempowering that all hope for a better future seems lost. Sometimes, to say it simply, it seems all too obvious that we're fucked, and in no small way. Yet, despite everything, life is so exhilarating and full of potential at this junction of history in the making, this liminal we seem to exist within. In an unstable world where nothing is guaranteed, possibility awaits us with open arms.
In the face of this triumph of tragedy I ask myself daily what I can do to change the world for the better. How I can inspire within the sphere of my influence, and how I might navigate the inner workings of a capitalist system while maintaining as much integrity as possible in conjunction with my ideals without succumbing to the ideology of lifestylism. I've come to understand that every small act has the potential for an expansive impact far beyond the reaches of its initial intention. One method I've found useful is working towards the creation and maintenance of a client centric practice within my tattooing career.
I love tattooing, and I don't say that lightly. This love is genuine and heartfelt. I ache and yearn for it when I am away and feel a rekindled fire when I'm back at it. Tattooing fulfills many desires I've retained throughout my life and I cherish and adore it beyond what mere words are capable of communicating. I am also very aware that none of it is possible without the support of my clients. My clients allow me to pursue this dream, and without them I have nothing. I owe each and every client the debt of my gratitude for helping me to make this dream a reality. Thank you so very much.
Fortunately with tattooing I am blessed with the ability to enter into relationships with many people from all walks of life. As a social being I absolutely love this aspect of my work. This, coupled with my perspective of the world, presents many opportunities to offer and gain insight towards revolving my work around the people I am working in collaboration with to create a piece of art adorned on their skin. My intention is to elevate us both above the stale producer/consumer roles and to instead find common ground, mutuality, and connection where there is one to be made.
I pay attention to a clients story behind their tattoo idea, not just the idea itself. I try to pick up on subtleties and ask the right questions so that I have a better understanding of the meaning behind their tattoo. I then attempt to create a piece of art that doesn't just show off my abilities, or style, or signature moves, or whatever else puts the focus on myself, but rather exemplifies to the utmost extent possible the story my client is trying to tell the world. It's their tattoo after all, and while I am both flattered and honored when a client gives me complete creative control and just simply wants my art, it is heartwarming to be able to offer a piece of art the represents the client and their story first and foremost.
This also extends to the atmosphere in which the work is done. I want my clients to feel comfortable in the environment in which they are getting tattooed. Their experience is what matters above all else, and while I can't please everyone all of the time, I do my best to make concessions where possible. From the moment they enter the shop I want them to feel welcomed, to sense that they are in a safe place and to feel good about being there. From checking in with the front desk staff, to interacting with the other artists, to hanging out in my booth for a few hours, I want them to cherish the experience and to want to come back.
I welcome suggestions and look for hints as to how one might feel more relaxed and comfortable. I try to balance the needs of my clients with the reality that I also need to feel content in my work environment. I do what I can to create a space that is accommodating, from the privacy and color scheme of my booth, to its decor, to the gentle and patient approach I take during the tattoo process. It might be as simple as using a softer paper towel during the procedure, or playing less jarring music. Maybe it's warming my green soap wash while tattooing more sensitive areas of the body, or touching the area I am about to tattoo with my stretching hand first, then easing the needles back into the skin rather than just going at it full force without warning. Sometimes it's a game of twenty questions to get to know someone, or maybe it's silence if they prefer. At times I play the role of a therapist and other times I seek a little guidance myself. It might look like checking in occasionally to see if they need a break for anything, or maybe offering to buy lunch or take them out to dinner on those full day sessions. Whatever it takes, within my abilities, to show my clients that they are not just an avenue to generate income.
Tattooing is more than just branding, catchy marketing quips, fancy technical abilities, fame and fortune. It's more than the latest trending design fads and who's who on the TV networks. It doesn't matter how many awards you've won, who you know on the inside, the places you've travelled to or the industry big shots you've met. It's largely about respect. Respect for the history of tattooing which has paved the way towards the current manifestation of it all, respect for yourself so that you can be your best with every procedure, respect for your co-workers, fellow tattooers and the industry at large, and most of all a respect for your clientele who make it all possible. Without that respect, all we have is a hollowed and degraded ghost of a facade posing as success. Unfulfilling, unappreciated, and without merit. I won't allow myself to succumb to such depravity. My tattooing and my clients are worth so much more than this and I intend to make every effort towards a client centric practice. Care to join me?
Inspiration is defined as the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative. I find inspiration daily. It's around every corner I turn, just beyond the heights of skyscrapers and the obnoxious roar of the freeway. It's sometimes as simple as a blooming flower, a song from a rad band, watching the sun rise or the gentle caress of a lover. It finds its way into every crack and every crevice, it is sometimes distant, often times right in front of you.
Inspiration is a constant in my life. Even in the face of unbearable situations or proximity to toxic personalities there is inspiration, albeit often in the form of feeling compelled to give a firm “Fuck You” and be done with it. I can find inspiration in love just as well as hate, in enlightened discourse as well as self destructive tendencies, in philosophical discussions having no grounding in reality as well as objective facts which give enough footing to allow one to progress in life. I am often inspired by my clients and their strength to endure a painful tattoo, or their life story. I find myself inspired by the very notion of existence. If you're not inspired, you aren't paying attention.
I believe passion is integral to finding inspiration. If you aren't passionate about your life, your work, your relationships, you'll likely feel the constant burden of a humdrum routine existence lacking in adventure, risk, and danger. Complacency is suicide. Life serves those who dwell at the edge of possibility. This is your life. You are in control. You are stronger than everything you've been taught to fear, and you have the courage for your passions and your pains. Become passionate, embody inspiration, and you will find exactly what you've been longing for. The secret is to begin.
I'm now accepting consultations and appointments at Sweetwater Collective in Jacksonville, OR. While I won't be officially starting until April 6th, now is the time to book your next tattoo appointment or consultation to discuss your tattoo idea. Go ahead and call the shop at 541-702-2439 or email email@example.com to set a date. I look forward to seeing you soon, thanks for the support!
After 4 years of working with some amazing folks at Off the Map Tattoo I am simultaneously joyous yet sorrowful to announce that as of March 28th I will no longer be tattooing at the Northwest location. This decision does not come easy as I have loved working in that environment for many years. A lot of blood, sweat and tears have been given over my time there but due to circumstances beyond my capacity of influence and ability to positively effect, my heart, mind and spirit are all telling me it's time to move on. I will forever cherish the great times I've had with the residing artists as well as the huge roster of guest artists I've connected with. I will be parting with a level of professionalism and world class aspirations embedded in my character and I am truly grateful and honored to have been given the opportunity to begin my tattoo career with such an amazing company.
I will be finishing up my appointments for March and beginning April 6th I will officially start tattooing at Sweetwater Collective in historic Jacksonville, OR. If you currently have an in progress tattoo and want to schedule with me before leaving Off the Map give the shop a call to book your spot. Otherwise, I am currently booking for April at my new location. You can get in touch with Sweetwater Collective by calling 541-702-2439 or you can email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
While I will sorely miss working alongside an amazing crew of dedicated and inspirational artists, I'm looking forward to expanding my perspective of tattoo culture and anticipate great new adventures on the horizon. I want to send a sincere thank you to each and every client who has trusted and supported me on this journey thus far, I truly appreciate your loyalty and cooperation and look forward to continuing to work with you.
To stay in contact you can visit my site, connect on Facebook and Instagram, or shoot me an email. Thanks to everyone for your patience and support through this transition. I look forward to the future and hope you will be there to share this grand new adventure with me.
Of those whom find conversation to be helpful while being tattooed there's a repetition of questions asked while spending quality time with these clients during a tattoo procedure. I enjoy engaging on this level as it allows me to better formulate and articulate the message I am ultimately trying to convey with my body of work. Like tattooing itself, these articulations are continually evolving based on the constant intake of new information, but there are also consistent themes that are often touched on in every conversation. I'd like to begin using this platform to occasionally address some of these often asked questions as best as I can. I'm hoping to offer something more to my clients after the conversations have ended as well as give a glimpse into my thoughts, desires, experiences, etc., to new and potential clients. This is Part 2 of this series. Part 1 can be found here.
“How did you get into tattooing?”
I started out at Off the Map Tattoo – NW in February of 2012, but not as a tattooer, I was hired on as the manager when the shop first opened its doors after partnering with Jeff Gogue. My job as I understood it, aside from the daily management of artist and shop tasks, was to be aware that I was generally the first person a client saw and spoke with when they came through our doors and the last person on the way out. That in a not so small way I helped shape their experience and that every client and potential client deserved to be treated as world class. It certainly took some time to build a solid repertoire of tattoo knowledge and to learn how to cater to the many unique needs of both artists and clients. I failed many times and with every failure I learned how to more adequately and appropriately offer my services in a better manner. I learned that sentiment and intention mean nothing if deeds don't bring about qualitative results. I learned about humility, humbleness, perseverance, struggle, determination, patience, and a whole lot about art and tattoo techniques and applications.
After watching Jeff oil paint one day while asking him a bunch of questions about his process I instantly wanted to try it out. I bought some paint and canvas board that night and started painting a snail. It took me a little bit to figure out how to push paint around and achieve the results I wanted, but I eventually finished that snail and was satisfied with the results. I signed it, titled it “Prospect” and moved onto the next painting.
I fell in love that night. I didn't want to stop painting. I craved more knowledge and would read what I could, talk to other artists about their techniques, and watched plenty of Bob Ross. I painted as often as I could and began putting my art out into the world. First on Instagram and Facebook, then later I began selling art through my online store and occasionally at art shows. I submitted some paintings to Out of Step Books for upcoming publications and was truly honored and humbled when they were selected and I was asked to be interviewed for "Antennae of Inspiration". All of this eventually lead to my peaked interest at the possibility of learning to tattoo. There were just a couple of things I perceived as very real obstacles; I already managed a tattoo shop and there was no way that was going to transition into an apprenticeship, and Oregon doesn't allow traditional apprenticeships anyway, instead a license is obtained by going through a tattoo school. I put that idea on the back burner, but it still simmered.
As time went on the Southern Oregon Art Academy began showing interest in opening their own tattoo school. With the advice of Jeff they would require 2 years of art training through their program followed by 1 year of tattoo training and licensing. It had the potential to offer a legitimate program given the general view of tattoo schools by the larger tattoo community and still work within Oregon's requirements yet going far above and beyond what most programs offered. I saw an opportunity that was too good to pass up and I didn't hesitate to jump on board. I slowly transitioned from full time manager to full time student and was committed to reaching my goal. I was greatly appreciative of the support offered from my co-workers and management team at Off the Map and to this day cannot be thankful enough. Unfortunately, the art academy was not going to be able to offer their program as they had imagined it and the plan was eventually scrapped. Given that the nearest tattoo school was more than 2 hours away and I had absolutely no intention of moving seeing as how my partner and I had recently purchased our first home, I once again put that idea on the back burner. Though this time it boiled.
I took a few months to reassess my aspirations. I temporarily transitioned back into full time management at the shop and thought long and hard about what I really wanted and which direction I needed to go in. Being back at the shop full time in constant proximity to such dedicated and creative personalities just amplified my desire to tattoo. There was a pull that I felt I had no control over. I knew I needed to learn this craft, and I knew I was willing to do whatever it took, by any means necessary.
In the Summer of 2014 I enrolled at Garden of Ink in Cottage Grove, OR. It was a two and a half hour drive one way through one of the worst mountainous stretches of the I-5 on all of the West Coast. I initially made the drive a couple times a week but once I began tattooing I usually drove there and back 4 days a week while still managing Off the Map Tattoo part time on the weekends. This left little time for anything else, including sleep, but I managed to make it all work and evaded any serious burn out or car accidents.
My first tattoo on real skin was simple. A traditional rose, some leaves, and a little bit of background. I remember sweating profusely, trembling uncontrollably, and being a bit anxious on the verge of nausea. I laid the needle to skin and pulled my first line. It was exhilarating. I worked slow and meticulously thinking about everything I had learned about tattooing up to that point. What would have taken a seasoned tattooer maybe an hour to complete took me about 3 hours, but it was one of the most memorable experiences of my life.
I was hooked. I tattooed as often as I could until the state licensing requirements were fulfilled. Upon receiving my official license in November of 2014 I was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to transition from management to artist at Off the Map Tattoo. The transition was complete by February of 2015 and I was in full swing as a full time professional tattooer. It's been quite an extraordinary journey since and I appreciate the advice from artists, the trust of clients, and the support from my co-workers. I look forward with great anticipation to learning, growing and evolving as a tattooer and am ever so curious as to what the future may hold.
To tattoo will undeniably mean something uniquely different from one person to the next. I've heard a wide spectrum of thoughts and while some ideas I agree with, others I would personally approach with hesitation and caution if at all. Regardless, I understand that every idea has potential for legitimacy in the right context.
My own perceptions are certainly not fixed. I've experienced tattooing from a number of different angles thus far and I find it undesirable to allow a singular perspective to take hold and funnel all future exposure into a limited dominating narrative. From the cheap, low lit, short of sanitary, less skilled, D.I.Y. underground to the world class, high end, upper echelon of tattooing, I've had some memorable experiences being tattooed. Some positive, some negative on both ends of the spectrum. I like to think that there is something to learn from every facet of tattooing throughout all of its history to its many current forms of existence in modern times.
One thing I've learned is that tattooing can be what you want it to be. Aside from inherent limitations, tattooing can be used as a tool to achieve a myriad of objectives. For myself tattooing fits into a larger trajectory of my life. It does not define my life, and my life is not consumed by tattooing, it is simply a means to an end. One of my life's objectives is to live free, an ongoing process in which I am in constant resistance to any influence which would hinder or deny my autonomy without my consent. A process of renewal and rehabilitation from the onslaught of daily oppression which I access through creative endeavors.
Tattooing offers me the freedom to live a creative life, to let my imagination run wild, to play but to call it work, to travel, and to connect intimately with real people on a daily basis. It allows me to acquire my fairly simple and moderate lifestyle needs while simultaneously benefitting those less fortunate. It enables the flexibility and opportunity to engage with and support projects which intend to mitigate the global destruction that industrial capitalism leaves in its wake. It gives me the ability to offer monetary and material support to those on the front lines of the environmental and social justice movements which I hold close to my heart. Tattooing keeps me intrigued and motivated, challenged and engaged, a stark contrast to the monotony and boredom that I often experience in the drudgery of a domesticated life. It's also just simply fun and if I can't have fun doing something I likely won't enjoy doing it.
So while tattooing may not be the end all, be all of my existence, it is definitely a key component in leading the life I want to live and I am extremely thankful, humbled, and honored to be able to participate in such a craft. I owe the debt of my gratitude to all who make this possible, to every client who has supported me, to every artist who has offered priceless words of wisdom, and to those who have inspired me by forging the life they want to lead with reckless abandon. Thank you, I can only hope to offer such inspiration one day.
Of those whom find conversation to be helpful while being tattooed there's a repetition of questions asked while spending quality time with these clients during a tattoo procedure. I enjoy engaging on this level as it allows me to better formulate and articulate the message I am ultimately trying to convey with my body of work. Like tattooing itself, these articulations are continually evolving based on the constant intake of new information, but there are also consistent themes that are often touched on in every conversation. I'd like to begin using this platform to occasionally address some of these often asked questions as best as I can. I'm hoping to offer something more to my clients after the conversations have ended as well as give a glimpse into my thoughts, desires, experiences, etc., to new and potential clients.
“What kind of tattoos do you like to do?”
While I just simply like tattooing and will do just about any tattoo, I certainly have preferences. Some tattoo ideas speak to me on a personal level, they are the type of tattoos I would wear, the ones I would see in public and admire, the ones I can't wait to draw and am excited to tattoo. Nature themed tattoos are among my favorite. This includes, but is certainly not limited to; Plants, animals, fungi, landscapes, skulls, etc. I especially love plants, particularly flowers. I feel these sorts of elements lend themselves extremely well to the organic nature of the body. Their ability to be manipulated and designed to fit the form and flow of ones body is very appealing to me.
My preferences are not just limited to subject matter or themes though, I also have preferences as to the overall design, including composition, palette, style, and placement. In developing my abilities to look at the body as a whole I prefer to design and compose tattoos with this in mind. The tattoos which I feel best allow this course of creative freedom are the ones where an idea is proposed in which little more than subject matter or a loose concept is presented.
Composition and placement are both important as our bodies have an organic flow to them and I prefer to design tattoos to work with and compliment this flow. I find that often times borders, lettering, obvious start and stop points, and any sort of contained idea disallows or interrupts organic flow and I prefer to avoid these when possible. A design which allows future designs to tie into it organically and with ease is most preferred. If an idea goes so far as to dictate how the individual components of a tattoo are to be placed together, the creative process becomes stifled and the potential for the tattoo to compliment ones body is often decreased. A tattoo can look forced and appear as a sticker floating on a random space of one's skin, or it can look like a custom fit design appearing to flow seamlessly throughout the natural curves and contours of one's unique figure. The latter is always my preference.
Palette choices are also important to a tattoo's overall design both for aesthetic appeal and longevity. Tattoos degrade as they age, colors fade (some more than others), lines blur, touch ups have accumulative limitations and a tattoo not designed well to begin with will age far worse than a well designed tattoo using informed palette choices. A tattoo will age, but it can age with grace. For this purpose I prefer to incorporate either black outlines, the use of black in backgrounds and black for my darkest value in shading as a fully saturated black allows lighter value colors to appear brighter over the long haul. I also prefer to use my knowledge of color theory to play with value, contrast, and complimentary palette choices in a design.
Last, but not least, is style, form, and appearance. While my own style is continuously evolving and maturing there are certain qualities I prefer a design to exhibit. Most commonly these are readability, a realistic approach to shape, shadow and light, movement, and an illustrative attribute. Readability comes in the form of size, placement and contrast, but I'd like to focus on size. Generally, less equals more, bigger equals better. The less subject matter in a space will allow each component to be bigger which will be more readable. Adding too much into a tattoo will likely decrease the size, detail and readability of each part decreasing the aesthetic appeal of the whole to the viewer. Tattoos already have limitations, why further limit a tattoo by hindering its potential for readability?
While these are the tattoos I prefer and generally try to guide clients towards, I simultaneously hesitate to limit myself and will certainly take on projects that don't necessarily parallel these preferences. What makes a tattoo appeal to me may not be what makes a tattoo appeal to you. These parameters are my current perspective on creating an appealing tattoo, ultimately though, your body belongs to you and your own self determined choices and subjective aesthetic appeal belongs to you. If, however, what you've read speaks to you and we share an aesthetic affinity, please do get in touch as I would love to collaborate with you on your next tattoo idea.
We're in the giving spirit over here at Off the Map Tattoo and from December 14th to the 24th we'll happily give you an extra $50 Gift Certificate towards your next tattoo upon booking your appointment. That's right, all you have to do is set up a consultation, and when you put down your $100 Deposit for your tattoo appointment we'll add an additional $50 Gift Certificate for FREE! So give us a call at 541.244.1141 to set up a consultation, let's chat and get some tattoo appointments booked!
Our annual tattoo benefit day is coming up on Sunday, November 15th and this year we're donating 100% of the proceeds to charitable organizations that are dedicated to bringing joy to children in need. We'll have tons of toy themed flash designs to choose from for only $50. First come, first serve, so get there early! Check out this recent post for more details and a peek at some of the designs. For more up to date posts join our Facebook event. Hope to see you there!
I'm heading to Portland soon for the World Wide Tattoo Conference. This will be my first time attending the conference and I'm looking forward to it with great anticipation. With all the amazing seminars being offered it seems a little overwhelming, but being immersed in it all for 3 days will likely allow me to focus on the educational aspect with little distraction. To all else who will be in attendance, I'll see you there!
“No matter what they tell you, ideas can change the world.” - Robin Williams
I find myself asking these questions often: Is the world a better place because I exist? Is the land I inhabit healthier and more resilient because I live there? Are my friends and comrades more vigorous and powerful because I have entered into a relationship with them?
The same can be asked within the context of tattooing; Is tattoo culture a better place because I exist within it? Is the shop I work at more resilient and functional because I work there? Are my coworkers and clients more vigorous and powerful because I have entered into a relationship with them?
I honestly don't know and won't pretend to have absolute answers to these questions. In reality “sometimes” is probably the most honest response. I do however hold many ideas that guide and motivate my decisions and methodologies while attempting to navigate these questions in practice. Though most often the best of questions only lead to more questioning.
Ideas are simply points of departure, explorations of experimentation, vulnerable to failure with no guarantees. They are, by definition, groundless suppositions, intentions and impressions. I am not in the least bit interested in dogmatic fundamentalism or the dominance of monolithic and absolutist ideologies. Do you have ideas, or do ideas have you?
So when the above questions move from existential to pragmatic that's when the best ideas begin to foment. How can I make the world/tattoo culture a better place by existing within it? How can I help the land I inhabit/the shop I work at become healthier, more functional and more resilient? How can I encourage and influence my coworkers, clients, friends and comrades to become more vigorous and powerful?
Again, I honestly don't know and won't pretend to have absolute answers to these questions. I am only armed with ideas and there's nothing more dangerous than an idea whose time has come.
Celebration and superstition, bonfires and spirits, trickery and treats abound, Halloween is a time of celebrating both life and death, harvest and sacrifice. To join the festivities I will be offering Halloween Flash Tattoos on Saturday, October 31st from 10-6. Each tattoo will cost $80 and will take about an hour to complete. Spots are limited, but you can reserve yours by stopping in or calling the shop at 541-244-1141 to put down a $40 non-refundable deposit. Each client will walk away with a goody bag full of tricks, treats, and a $25 Gift Certificate towards your next tattoo. Below is a sample of the flash available so far with more to come soon!
"Lone Wolf" Limited Edition Giclee Prints are now available through my online store. These prints are 12" x 12" at $25 each with only 20 available in this edition. Order yours today, and while you're browsing check out some of my other items! Thanks for your support, it is truly appreciated.
I'm excited to announce that Nic LeBrun Art & Tattoo Logo T-Shirts, Bandanas and Hats are now available for purchase at my online store. Head on over to check everything out and stay tuned for more new products coming soon!
Hey folks, let's book some consultations! I want to tattoo you, and I'm sure if you get tattooed you would love to save some money, so for this week only, August 3rd through August 8th, if you call or stop by the shop to set up a consultation with me I will give you a $25 Gift Certificate upon booking the tattoo appointment. It's that easy, so I'll see ya soon! 541.244.1141
Thinking ahead is a constant theme in tattooing. Whether it comes in the form of composing a piece so as to complement the body and lend itself well to the addition of future tattoos, or understanding how to design a piece so the longevity of the tattoo is not compromised, or even simply planning your tattoo session around other life events to allow for proper aftercare and healing time, thinking ahead persists.
With that said and with Summer in full swing, it's time to start thinking about your next tattoo idea. If you're like me you savor your long Summer days and pack as much into every moment as possible. Between river and lake trips, camping, hiking, traveling, gardening, and all the other fun under the sun to be had it's hard to fit that next tattoo session in without compromising the work done.
Fortunately I'm booked out for the rest of Summer, but Fall is lurking just around the corner. It would be wise to set up a consultation and get that next tattoo appointment booked sooner rather than later seeing as how I'm now booking into early/mid September. This is the perfect time to start something new after all your Summer fun has come to an end, so shoot me an email or give the shop a call at 541.244.1141 to set up a consultation. You can also stop in any day of the week from 10-6 and our managers will gladly assist you.
I'm looking forward to hearing from you! Have fun out there and stay safe!
The month of May was a busy one. It started off with a modest yet triumphant May Day celebration on the home front followed by a week long stay in Easthmapton, MA while I tattooed at our New England location. Upon arriving home it was right back to the grind finishing up and starting tattoo projects.
I'll soon be uploading some new pics of the tattoos I've been working on which you can check out here. Stay tuned for more in the near future, and as Summer approaches remember to take extra caution with your tattoos while hanging out in the sun!
I'm excited to announce that I'll be at our New England location for a week of tattooing and fun filled times. I can't wait to finally see our Eastcoast shop and explore the town of Easthampton while meeting new clients and hanging out with staff. Go ahead and call the shop to inquire about booking at 413.527.6574. See ya soon!
I've arrived back home after taking a week to attend the Paradise Artist Retreat in New Mexico. The event was fun filled, educational, and inspiring to say the least. I had a great time getting back into figure drawing which I had not done since art school and while I didn't actually finish any paintings, I had some good experiences letting go of those I started.
The week kicked off with some figure drawing and learning how to see, eventually making way to the opening party with familiar faces and good times abound. The following day started out with Jeff Gogue's "Part Time Pirates" which seemed to set the mood for the rest of the week. Musings of letting go, creating what you love, and striving to be you took hold and influenced my decisions for the week. Kara and Tony Moore's seminars were very helpful and inspiring for artists of any medium. Every painting workshop was amazing and I especially enjoyed Nick Baxter's "Sharp Focus Realism in Oil" as I strive to render my own paintings with such detail.
The week closed with the premier of Chet Zar's "I Like To Paint Monsters" and I can honestly say I was truly moved by his message and personal story. It was a great way to end a great retreat. I was also fortunate enough to stay in New Mexico an extra day to do some exploring with my partner in crime. We visited various Pueblo Ruins, went on some hikes, and experienced as much as we could in the time we had left.
Special thanks to the staff, teachers and attendees for making this event what it was and thanks to everyone who purchased a print from me, your support is very appreciated! See ya around!
The more I tattoo the more I love tattooing. I've been pretty busy lately drawing up some fun tattoos and can't wait to get some more work in on them. Below are just a couple of the projects I started this month with plenty more in the works. For a look at some completed tattoos check out my portfolio and get in touch to set up your next appointment if you like what you see!
In just about a month I'll be heading to the beautiful Southwest to attend the Paradise Artist Retreat in Santa Ana Pueblo, New Mexico. It's been quite some time since I've visited this region and I'm looking forward to spending a few days among fellow artists inspiring and learning together.
I'll also be taking the time to explore the wilderness areas surrounding the event, and might even just have to settle into an old favorite book of mine regarding the Southwest, The Monkey Wrench Gang, as the evenings come to a close.
I'm looking forward to being surrounded by such outstanding artists and can't wait to learn and grow from every seminar being offered. It's been some time since I've oil painted as well, so I can't wait to get back to it while there. All in all, it's going to be a great time!
Our Friday the 13th Art & Tattoo Show at Off the Map Tattoo NW was a HUGE SUCCESS!!! Everyone who attended left with a Gift Certificate in hand for their next tattoo and we had quite a few winners of our raffle prizes which included prints, shirts, original art, large sum Gift Certificates, a couple free tattoos and much more.
Special thanks to Unicycle Brand and Oregon Pour Authority for their generous donations, Josh and Bird for their amazing management skills and help with bringing this all together, our resident artist crew who have offered there support along the way, and everyone who came out to make this event as spectacular as it was.
I'm looking forward to the year ahead and can't wait to see what tattoo ideas head my way! Stop in the shop soon to book that next appointment! See ya'll soon!!!
With great pleasure and enthusiasm I’m delighted to announce an upcoming Art and Tattoo Show curated by myself and Haley Gogue at Off the Map Tattoo – Northwest on Friday the 13th of February, 2015 at 7pm.
Haley and I are the newest additions to the resident artist team at Off the Map Tattoo – NW and we are both very eager to showcase our talents and ambitions for the journey ahead. At this event our achievements in fine art will be on display along with tattoo specific designs in hopes of motivating participants who desire these works or their own ideas as tattoos to consult with us and book some appointments.
Every person through the door will receive a Gift Certificate towards their next tattoo and a raffle ticket for a chance to win one of many prizes. Haley and I will have an assortment of prints, posters, original artwork, apparel, FREE swag and other goodies available. Light food and drink will be provided, there will be a Best Tattoo Idea Contest with one lucky winner receiving a $250 OTM Gift Certificate and there will be a raffle near the end of the night with hundreds of dollars in giveaway prizes.
Make sure to save the date as this event is not to be missed! We look forward to seeing everyone for good times and great art!
“Where do you want to go, my heart?” “Anywhere – anywhere, out of this world!” – CrimethInc.
With 2015 right around the corner I’ve been feverishly working out potential tattoo designs to offer in the upcoming year. Some of these designs follow classic tattoo themes while others will attempt to offer a unique aesthetic.
I’m planning a whole series of these designs which I will post upon completion. They will also be on display at Off the Map Tattoo – Northwest for an upcoming art show with myself and Haley Gogue on Friday the 13th of February, 2015 (more info soon).
If these designs peak your interest or have sparked an idea for a custom piece you’d like to get tattooed, feel free to email me at email@example.com and I will get back to you as soon as I can. I would love to work with you create something beautiful for your skin. Looking forward to hearing form you!
“For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.” – Aristotle
My first week at Off the Map Tattoo – NW as an artist went wonderful. Some small but meaningful tattoos here and there were a great way to ease into my new position at the shop and I am reminded that all great stories start with humble beginnings. While I view every tattoo as an opportunity to either learn new skills or fine tune developing ones, I constantly ponder the possibility of creating intriguing compositions on unique bodies and crave a scale of work that matches the scale of my hunger.
Unceasingly impressed and provoked by the caliber of work being put out by co-workers and guest artists I can’t help but to yearn for more, constantly. Nothing less than everything will do. My drive alone may not get me there but I’m an unflinching proponent of deeds over words with an unwavering intention to thrive.
As I take on varying tattoo projects I’m definitely becoming more attuned to my strengths and the styles/themes I share the most affinity with. I highly enjoy illustrative work containing elements of realism and a strong foundation of black. I am also particularly drawn to nature themed pieces; Plants, animals, folkloric entities and the like.
Of course, I love tattooing for it’s own sake, but if these elements fit your next tattoo idea let’s get together and consult about it. I would absolutely love to sit down with you and discuss your next project and help bring it to life. Call the shop at 541-244-1141 or stop in any day of the week to schedule something. I look forward to hearing from you and can’t wait to get some great tattoos started!
“Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties.” Erich Fromm
It is with great honor and privilege to announce that I am now accepting consultations and appointments at Off the Map Tattoo in Grants Pass, OR. Consultations are FREE and I would love to sit down with you to chat about all your tattoo ideas and help bring them to life. My going rate is $100 per hour or priced per piece. Check out the official announcement, and to set something up please call the shop directly at 541-244-1141 or stop in at 214 NW 6th St., Grants Pass, OR 97526. I look forward to collaborating with clients to help create unique and inspired designs intended to complement and accentuate the natural ebb and flow of the body. Check out my portfolio, and get in touch soon!
“The essence of all beautiful art, all great art, is gratitude.” – Friedrich Nietzsche
It’s official. I’ve completed the state of Oregon requirements to become a licensed tattoo artist. It’s been an interesting journey thus far and I look forward to broader horizons. It is with great honor and appreciation to announce that I’ll be tattooing out of Off the Map Tattoo – Northwest in Grants Pass, OR. I look forward to continuing to work with such an amazing crew of dedicated artists and support staff. The opportunity to learn and grow as an artist in such an inspiring environment is truly a privilege not to be taken lightly. A sincere and honest THANK YOU goes out to all who have supported me on this path, for all the wisdom offered and experience shared. The list is much too lengthy, but I’m sure you all know who you are. Without you none of this would have been possible. I owe the debt of my gratitude. Again, THANK YOU!
“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” – Lao Tzu
Beyond excitement there is a residing emotion, I believe it’s called ecstatic. I guess you could, insofar as it is possible to accurately relay subjective experience through mere symbolic sentiment, describe my current state as such.
Over the past few weeks I’ve been attending a state certified tattoo licensing program. Oregon has some of the strictest regulations in the country when it comes to tattooing. In order to become a licensed tattooer one must have either a license from another state equivalent to Oregon licensing requirements, or at minimum 3 years proof of legitimate training and employment as a tattoo artist in another state, or, as in my case, one must attend an Oregon Licensed Career School for Tattooing. On top of that there are required state exams and fees. Welcome to Oregon!
The program I’m attending is nothing like what you may have watched on TLC’s nightmare of a reality show Tattoo School where students went through a 2 week crash course in tattooing and were then sent out into the world armed with bad habits and poor training. This is not a 2 week class you can take online, print out a generic certificate and show off to all your friends for cool points, and it’s not some get rich quick scheme on behalf of faux instructors. This program is thorough, it’s challenging, and it’s strictly regulated by the state. Though it’s not quite a traditional apprenticeship the curriculum covers all the necessary practices a safe, knowledgeable and professional tattoo artist should follow, and in many subjects goes well beyond state requirements. I’ll also be so fortunate as to enjoy the zen of scrubbing my fair share of dirty tubes. Oh joy!
As such, it’s been a very busy, disciplined and rewarding past few weeks. Every moment is occupied by the craft of tattooing. Life is in constant flux between learning, studying, testing, or drawing, and if I’m not doing either of those I’m at Off the Map Tattoo working the front desk alongside some of the most inspiring, dedicated and influential artists and co-workers I’ve ever met. But the hard work and determination doesn’t stop there and the next step of this journey has been long awaited.
The final stage of the licensing program requires a minimum quantity of completed tattoo procedures and practical hours under the guidance and supervision of a licensed professional. To meet these requirements I am currently booking appointments for student tattoos August through October at Garden of Ink in Cottage Grove, Oregon. If you are interested in supporting me on this journey and would like to set up an appointment for an entry level tattoo please contact me via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for the support!
“I dwell in possibility…” – Emily Dickinson
It’s all a strange journey. At times plans lend themselves to ruin, paths diverge, roots undo. It’s in these moments we manifest our capacity for action. A daring course of flight can not succumb to static absolutes or fixed objectives. Change is the inevitable. Chaos is to be embraced.
After all, we can rise from the wreckage, pledge ourselves to uncertainty, make each new step nothing short of the greatest act of bravery. It is with this ethos that I move forward into the next grand adventure. In short time I will have begun the process of becoming a licensed tattoo artist in the state of Oregon. I look forward to this endeavor with great anticipation.
Every step closer allows the realness of it all to sink in. The wait diminishes at a quickening pace and an unfettered eagerness overwhelms. A horizon approaches, beyond it infinite more. That’s where I’m headed. I’ll meet you there.
“Artists to my mind are the real architects of change, and not the political legislators who implement change after the fact.” – William S. Burroughs
As a ceaseless pupil and participant in the creation of varying forms of art (predominately Art, Tattoo and Music) I am constantly attempting to explore and expand perceived boundaries, seek out seemingly impossible objectives, and most importantly confront and agitate reality as I understand it. This is no easy task and I’ve come to understand that this is a means with no end, an infinite process on an experimental continuum. Yet with every step forward this momentum brings me closer to realizing the potential for art to embody a tension which keeps hope alive.
For myself art is a very personal experience. I don’t just create it, I live it. In art, as in life, I seek no shallow and vain attempts to impress or captivate a complacent audience. Nor to participate in the stale parameters and ideologies set by a high end fine art world which at times can seem rather pretentious, elitist and bourgeois. I have little desire to allow my creativity to become victim to hyper commodification and ultimately exploited by an empty consumerism. From my perspective art should not be neutral, it should be a weapon, it should be dangerous, it should be a threat. It should breathe new life into old ideas, dismantle the tyranny of tradition and stoke the flames of discontent. It should serve to subvert an oppressive social system, to undermine and liberate us from the banal mediocrity of daily life, and to transform reality as we acknowledge it.
Motivated by self determined interests my objective is to utilize creativity as a way to culminate change; personally, politically, spiritually. To peer into the depths of cultural depravity, structural violence, and social injustice and to facilitate the creation of radical new methods of engagement with the status quo. To invoke the spirit of rebellion and set the stage for revolution. To be realistic, to create the impossible.
Art as provocation. Art as a declaration of war.
Let the battle commence.
The amazing folks at Out of Step Books who brought us “Eight Arms of Inspiration: The Octopus Art Project” along with many other great publications have done it again! Their newest release “Antennae of Inspiration: The Insect Art Project” is nothing short of being absolutely fantastic, and I don’t say that lightly. This 480 page gem features an extensive and creative collection of entomology themed art submitted by artists from around the world. I am very honored to have been able to contribute to this wonderful and inspiring project.
I submitted three oil paintings to this project and was also fortunate enough to receive an interview regarding my piece titled “Catharsis” which is among one of my favorite paintings to date. Being included in a publication with many of the artists I have looked up to and been inspired by for years is beyond exciting. I can only hope to be able to offer but a fraction of that inspiration back to the art community which I have gained so much from.
With beautiful cover art and a huge assortment of creations from so many great artists you are sure to be pleased with every turn of the page. I personally can’t stop flipping through this book, constantly fascinated by one brilliant piece after another, inspiring me to put the book down and create, as well as pushing me to up my game. Another great thing about this project is that a percentage of all sales are being donated to classrooms in need through an outstanding charity called Donors Choose. An amazing book published by amazing people for a great cause, it doesn’t get much better than that!
I want to give a huge THANK YOU to Jinxi Caddel and all involved at Out of Step Books for their outstanding professionalism, continued mental attitudes of unwavering positivity and for being such an inspirational component to the art community. Your efforts are certainly not overlooked and it has been an honor to work with you. I very much look forward to contributing to future projects and urge other artists to check out what they have coming up and to consider taking part. Thanks again Out of Step Books, the opportunity is greatly appreciated.
“All we have, it seems to me, is the beauty of art and nature and life, and the love which that beauty inspires.” – Edward Abbey
It is of my opinion and lived experience that art and life are inseparable. So when the opportunity arose to utilize my art for the benefit of Wildlife Images, a local non-profit which offers refuge and rehabilitation to our wild animal neighbors, I couldn’t resist taking part. Being invested in causes which utilize a full spectrum of tactics for the overall objective of earth and animal justice has always resonated deep within my heart. Having over a decade of experience being involved with various individuals and organizations who partake in these necessary pursuits, I know just how fulfilling these activities can be.
On October 4th Off the Map Tattoo – Northwest held the opening event of a month long “Endangered Species” art show displaying various mediums from about 20 different artists from all over the world. We saw everything from literal depictions of endangered plants and animals to further reaching ideas such as paintings of coil tattoo machines, classical cars and mythical creatures who may or may not actually exist.
I submitted two oil paintings for the show. The first being a piece I created in the Summer of 2012 titled, coincidentally, “Endangered Species”. This piece depicts a young boy of the Yanomami, an indigenous people of the Amazon forest, looking off into the distance with a dripping dark background to symbolize the endangerment and bloodshed these people are suffering at the hands of would be profiteers. Indigenous communities and life ways are under constant threat from foreign colonizers looking to turn a profit by decimating the very eco-systems these people need to exist, often by the point of the gun and the backing force of corporate and/or government agencies. With this brutal reality in mind it only seemed fitting to showcase this piece in hopes that it might move others to consider, albeit from a privileged place of distant comfort, the very real consequences our modern industrial lifestyles have on a global scale. This piece is still available for purchase with a portion of the proceeds being donated to Wildlife Images.
The second piece I submitted was created in early Spring of 2013 and depicts a deceased Honey Bee. Its title is “Precipice” and while Honey Bees are not technically considered endangered by EPA standards it shouldn’t be news to anyone that populations have been declining at a dangerously rapid pace. Theories as to the causes range from the use of pesticides, to colony parasites, to looming climate change and beyond. We may not yet know the exact reasons but one thing is for certain, if bees become extinct a massive die off of many plant and animal species will subsequently occur. Some experts even believe near term human extinction may result from such a catastrophe. I was fortunate enough to sell this piece to a collector who was aware of the impending crisis of this situation and I am honored to have been able to donate a portion of the proceeds to Wildlife Images.
The second phase of this benefit will take place on November 10th at both Off the Map Tattoo locations along with other participating shops across the nation. $50 animal themed tattoos chosen from pre-designed custom flash sheets will be offered on a first come, first serve basis. During this event high quality prints of the pieces displayed during the “Endangered Species” art show will also be available for purchase. The artists and print makers are kindly donating 100% of their time and proceeds to each shops respective charitable organization. More information about this portion of the benefit can be found here.
It is a huge honor to be able to offer my art for the benefit of causes that are dear to me. I want to thank everyone involved in the making of this event for all their diligent efforts and caring hearts. This has inspired me to continue creating pieces which highlight issues I am passionate about and to keep on fighting the good fight.
“Passion rebuilds the world for the youth. It makes all things alive and significant.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Aeipathy is described as a continuing passion bordering an unyielding disease. I often feel that my creative process fits this description well. Creating and learning art on a daily basis is a very challenging and frustrating experience, yet it ultimately remains rewarding beyond the capacity of words to describe. Honing in my skill set at Southern Oregon Art Academy might be described the same. I have been attending the academy since August of 2012 starting off part time and as of late going on a full time basis. This charcoal piece was created at the academy during the Summer of 2013 using a traditional method known as Sight Size.
During the process an intuitive impulse urged me to stray from rendering the subject matter exactly how I saw it. Instead I roughened up the background while still maintaining a sense of light and shadow and I chose to render the skull as soft as possible with a realistic quality to it. In doing so I was able to create multiple levels of contrast; A background characterized by a dark and hard abstract roughness with a foreground that is bright, soft and contains the necessary elements of realism all the while upholding the illusion of space.
This is one of my favorite studies accomplished at the academy thus far and it is an honor to offer it to the world. The piece is 16” x 20” and was created using Willow Charcoal on 95gsm Archival Paper. It comes framed is now available for purchase here. Thanks for reading and for the continual support! It is truly appreciated.
“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.” – Ernest Hemingway
In the high tops of the Colorado Rockies rests a quaint little ski town called Keystone. For the second year in a row the townspeople were embarked upon by what has come to be known as the Paradise Tattoo Gathering organized by none other than the fine folks at Off the Map Tattoo and TattooNOW. Leaving the comforts of my rural home just outside of Grants Pass, Oregon to board a flight to lovely Colorado I anticipated the adventure with great excitement. Which familiar faces would I see? Who would I meet? How would I handle the altitude change? On and on my mind raced with excitement during the flight to Denver, fortunately it was a rather quick one and I was back on the ground within 3 hours.
Upon my arrival with Northwest co-worker and fellow traveler Jason Damage, we made our way through the labyrinth that is the Denver International Airport and immediately met up with a few of our New England team members. Up the mountain we drove together through utter darkness, rain pouring heavy without pause. There were echoed rumors of floods and havoc below. I could feel the pressure increasing, air becoming thin, every breath heavier and heavier as we made the ascent towards Loveland Pass at 11,990 feet. We made our way over the peak and began descending towards the resort, instant headache with a slight bit of nausea settled in and I couldn’t wait to arrive at our destination so that I might cozy up in a bed and sleep off the altitude sickness. Welcome to Colorado!
The following days were nothing short of a hectic yet thrilling blur. Aside from the aches and pains, lack of sleep, and the overwhelming amount of information I am still trying to digest, I also recall experiencing some of the most inspiring moments that I have had all year. It is truly amazing to be surrounded by so many great artists whom I look up to and respect, to be able to converse with them, share and gain knowledge, and to kindle new connections and friendships that will hopefully last a lifetime. For this opportunity I am so very grateful and honored.
As the final day of the event slowed to a halt artists, collectors, volunteers and the curious began saying their farewells and vacating the premises. Slowly but surely every booth emptied and what was just hours before a room filled with unrelenting inspiration all that was left were the ruins of abandonment and what memories we could hold on to.
Before sunrise the following day Jason and I caught our shuttle back to Denver. We passed many areas that had been completely destroyed by the floods with vast clearings of toppled trees, broken and washed away road edges, and rock slides closing entire lanes for miles. These sights coupled with the cherished memories of the past weekend reminded me of the fragility of life and the necessity to live inspired at all costs. Equipped with these thoughts and feelings in mind and heart I was ready to head back to Oregon.
With only a vague recollection of the subsequent events, one thing is for certain….. It’s always good to be home.
“To fill the hour, that is happiness.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Not a moment lost, not to boredom, delay or stagnancy, nor to apathy or the desire of escape to anywhere but here. This life is to be lived and lived it is as Summer time has demanded nothing less than calculated diligence and despite burning at both ends I couldn’t be more ecstatic! With a few varying art projects in the works, the ever demanding tasks of daily life and of course planning and scheming for future adventures, I’m steadfast in my intent to live without dead time. Between my continuing education at Southern Oregon Art Academy, playing weekend warrior at Off the Map Tattoo – Northwest as well as picking up some extra hours with my partner’s natural skin care and aromatherapy company Wild Rose Herbs, I’ve become ever more convinced that sleep is for the dead.
I’m attending my second year at SOAA continuing my fine art education in preparation for a career in tattooing and I find myself completely absorbed by this endeavor. Overall I enjoy the atmosphere along with the well informed lessons of my instructors despite the fact that at times I find myself struggling to learn particular methods that are often completely foreign to me and not always the most desirable or exciting task at hand. My time at Off the Map Tattoo over the past year and half has been a grand adventure and as of late I have scaled back my hours to focus more on my art. I can’t even begin to convey how truly grateful I am to this amazing company for the opportunities I’ve been presented with and the unexpected support I’ve received along the way.
Projects currently in the works include a few oil paintings, some of which can be seen on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook as progress is made and others that I am not unveiling until they’re complete. I have been doing a lot of sketching and focusing on more illustrative line drawings as practice for potential tattoo designs and will be putting together some custom flash sheets over the Winter. Future plans include some much needed updating and product additions to my online store, an early Fall trip to Keystone, Colorado for the upcoming Paradise Tattoo Gathering and of course I always have a few surprises just waiting for there time to emerge!
All in all, summertime living has been busy and I look forward to the slowing pace of a forthcoming Fall and Winter! Keep a look out for future updates via social networking sites and the occasional blog post. Thanks for taking the time to read this, and thank you for the continuing support. It means the world to me!
“It is by doing the things that need to be learned in order to be done that we learn them.”
As an artist it is of utmost importance for me to be highly involved in each step of my creative endeavors and to not have to rely on, insofar as possible, mass consumer culture and the homogenized specialization of crafting. This is not to belittle those who engage in singular forms of specialized manual labor, it is not my intent to negate the hard work, discipline and effort it takes to master a single trade. Instead, this D.I.Y. ethos revolves around encouraging the empowerment of individuals and by extension communities. It is to champion the belief that the average individual with little or no prior experience is fully capable of seeking out such knowledge and expertise on their own to achieve their objectives.
This D.I.Y. ethic is relevant to my artistic endeavors in regards to activities like building my own cradled panels or stretching my own canvas over a hand crafted frame, designing my own logo or screen printing my own t-shirts. Of course, the raw materials I use are generally mass produced, and in all honesty not always in the most environmentally or worker friendly manner, nor always from the most ethical companies, but I do what I can given the context and circumstances of my existence and I am constantly seeking out better alternatives. In doing so I am able to pursue these projects with more self-determined interests in mind, approaching them my preferred way without having to make concessions to corporate or commercial standards and demands. These activities satisfy my own personal longings to be as involved as possible with as many aspects of my projects as possible, to maintain creative control and to offer a unique creation of hand made quality.
Then again, being that my time is so precious I won’t necessarily utilize these acquired skills every time I engage in a project. Ultimately it is the acquisition and victory of the final results that I am after and spending the amount of time needed on these prior tasks steals time from that part of the creative process which I enjoy the most. I want to be influenced by the spirit of D.I.Y. and to inspire others to do the same, but I’m not interested in a fixed ethic or adhering to an ideology which seeks some form of abstract purity. For the sake of my own complexity this approach must remain extremely mutable and only utilized when desired or necessary.
From everyday living to massive projects this D.I.Y. ethic has a strong foundation in my life. I’ve managed to learn basic skills like repairing my own bicycles and vehicles, growing my own food and raising livestock, repairing damaged clothing and cooking/baking from scratch, just to name a few. I’ve also taken on very ambitious projects like building a subterranean log and stone dwelling with my partner using materials that were all harvested from the bio-region I inhabited. This task alone involved learning masonry, woodworking, sustainable forest management, tree felling, general construction, and a great deal of patience and perseverance.
Whether it be the many hobbies I partake in like occasionally composing and recording music, mountain biking, botany, practicing earth skills such as starting fires with sticks, weaving baskets, or tanning hides, it is my strongest desire to not just possess the material, but to be involved in its creation. This reigns true for the most mundane and daily of tasks to the most extravagant and ambitious of projects.
It is humbling to know that upon the completion of a work of art I am not only offering my vision as it has been expelled onto its canvas, but am also offering the metaphorical and often literal blood, sweat and tears which went into building the very foundation for those visions. There exists an integrity within the D.I.Y. ethos that cannot be matched by mass produced homogenized consumer goods. Just as those D.I.Y. pioneers who came before me, it is with this spirit that I strive to create, influence and inspire.
Just in from the printers, “Catharsis” limited edition giclee prints! Available in print only as the original now belongs to a private collection. The painting was conceived from a quick doodle with no intention beyond that. Weeks later with an urge to paint and a need to purge undesired emotions, I redrew the image large scale on a handmade D.I.Y. cradled panel. I took a minimalist approach with this piece trying to convey as much information as I could with as little pigment as possible using a limited palette of Alizarin Crimson, Transparent Orange, Prussian Blue, and White.
These Giclee Prints are a 25 edition run printed with Epson UltraChrome (k3) pigment-based ink on 150gsm Sunset eSatin Photo Paper. These prints are archival-grade, acid-free, and rated to last for generations to come when properly displayed under glass out of direct sunlight. Each print is hand numbered, signed, and embossed by myself. The total paper size is 19″x 23″ with the actual image size measuring 16″x 20″, they cost $40 each plus shipping & handling and come with a Certificate of Authenticity and sticker.
I am honored to release these prints into the world and I hope they are enjoyed for generations. Thank you for the continual support!
“Prospect” is now available in my shop as an original oil painting as well as a limited edition giclee print! This piece is an admonition that every journey of self determination may be a slow and difficult process but staying the course will bring to fruition the prospects ahead. This painting is available for $280 framed plus shipping & handling and includes a Certificate of Authenticity as well as stickers.
The Giclee Prints are a 50 edition run printed with Epson UltraChrome (k3) pigment-based ink on 150gsm Sunset eSatin Photo Paper. These prints are archival-grade, acid-free, and rated to last for generations to come when properly displayed under glass out of direct sunlight. Each print is hand numbered, signed, and embossed by myself. The total paper size is 13″x 16″ with the actual image size measuring 10″x 13″, they cost $25 each plus shipping+handling and come with a Certificate of Authenticity and sticker.
I am beyond thrilled to have made these available. Thank you for the continuing support which has made this possible.
With delight I now have the original oil painting and limited edition Giclee Prints for the piece titled “Hard Days Work” available in my shop! Created amidst a fiercely tumultuous, yet triumphantly brief period in my life, this piece represents those times when footing looses ground, movement becomes foreign and volition is subdued. It speaks to me as a reminder to stay the course, to stay strong, and that even in darkness there is light. This painting is available for $280 framed plus shipping+handling and includes a Certificate of Authenticity as well as stickers.
The Giclee Prints are a 50 edition run printed with Epson UltraChrome (k3) pigment-based ink on 150gsm Sunset eSatin Photo Paper. These prints are archival-grade, acid-free, and rated to last for generations to come when properly displayed under glass out of direct sunlight. Each print is hand numbered, signed, and embossed by myself. The total paper size is 13″x 16″ with the actual image size measuring 10″x 13″, they cost $25 each plus shipping+handling and come with a Certificate of Authenticity and sticker.
I am once again thrilled to be able to offer a portion of my work to the world. I appreciate all the support thus far and look forward to upcoming releases of prints and originals in the very near future!
I am very excited to announce the release of my limited edition giclee prints for the original oil painting “Vulpes” which I created at Jeff Gogue’s 2012 Oil Painting Workshop hosted by Off the Map Tattoo – Northwest in Grants Pass, Oregon.
This is a 50 edition run printed with Epson UltraChrome (k3) pigment-based ink on 150gsm Sunset eSatin Photo Paper. These prints are archival-grade, acid-free, and rated to last for generations to come when properly displayed under glass out of direct sunlight. Each print is hand numbered, signed, and embossed by myself. The total paper size is 14″x 14″ with the image size being 11″x 11″, they cost $25 each plus shipping & handling and come with a Certificate of Authenticity and sticker. Prints can be purchased here.
It was an honor to participate in this workshop and to learn techniques previously foreign to me. In the end I took away from the experience a sense of struggle overcome by success and could not have been more pleased with the results of my efforts. It is a pleasure to now be able to offer these prints to the world and I hope they are enjoyed by many.
I appreciate the support, and keep a look out for more prints and originals in the near future!
Hello there, welcome to my field of influence within the digital atmosphere. This project is only in it’s infantile stage and you can expect it to expand and evolve as I progress forward. With plenty of ideas and motives, it is only time which slows me down. I intend to document current works of art, print releases, gallery shows, progress made at Southern Oregon Art Academy, the eventuality of tattooing and any other thoughts or events which seem worthy of notice in not just art and tattoo but personal philosphy as well. I hope you enjoy what I have to offer and find yourself invigorated upon each visit as I meander through this journey of artistic endeavors, but don't stay too long..... Real life exists elsewhere! Thanks for the support!