So, another year over... Some people think that time is actually speeding up (the quickening?), and I'd be inclined to agree most weeks. I'm sure it's not just the effects of age...
Maybe some kind of singularity..?! Anyways! I hope this quick update finds you healthy and prosperous!
I was being incredibly productive not so long ago, and had high hopes for 2021...but what another tough year it turned out to be. Despite completing some of my biggest and best projects to date... housing issues, lockdowns & lost clients, injuries & illnesses made this year a frustrating one for me. Still...we shall persevere
I drew this image quite early on in my tattoo career, around 10 years ago or so (back when I was more inclined towards macabre art). It is heavily inspired/taken from Albrecht Durer's Praying Hands, which became an iconic image in my industry ofcourse. Not many people know the story behind the original though...
Off the top of my head, Albrecht's brother was also a skilled artist. The family could only afford to send one son to art college however, and so the boys had to decide amongst themselves who would go there, and who would go to the mines - to help pay for it. Albrecht 'won', and after years becoming a successful artist, he eventually went back home and drew his brother's hands as if to say thank you. The brother's hands were now badly broken though from the hard labour, and he was unable to draw properly.
My version added decomposing flesh, to increase the urgency of this prayer. I named the piece 'Pray Harder'.
Perhaps I am simplifying the story. Anyways...a decade later this image became a bit synchronistic for me, as in the Summer I broke my left (drawing) hand badly. After all this time struggling with lockdowns and a completely changed way of life, it was the last thing I needed. Weeks after the injury I was still unable to straighten my hand or hold a pencil, nevermind draw or tattoo to my potential. I struggled with direction and keeping my mood up at first, and it was a difficult time for sure. It was unkown as to whether I would ever even be able to draw again like I did....and I remembered the Durers!
Fortunately I am quite stubborn, and tough...... As long as I can find the motivation/energy, then I always seem to be able to do what I need to. This was part of the problem too though...With so much craziness and change (and manipulation) going on in society at present, some of you know that I was already not sure of my direction or motivation sometimes. While many of us are still understandably focusing on a 'normal' life, and paying bills etc....it seems increasingly obvious to me that we need to implement other, more sustainable directions....and align with the life that we want (not just 'go through the motions'). Revert back to the brothers again there? duty, fulfilling potential...and also our short window of time, to make our mark. The injury helped give me perspective.
I mostly steered clear of social media and kept my mind focused by getting good at playing chess amongst other things. Thanks to my tutor who with over 40 years experience has been teaching me well, and now losing graciously sometimes. I eventually slept with my hands in the praying position above! and often drank fresh green juices from things we foraged in nature.
The logic and focus needed to play chess well, has been a good yang to art's yin. There is a lot of creativity in the game as well though, mixed with that need to be methodical (like tattooing). But now it's definitely time to make some free expressions again (without squares and sequences) Almost as soon as my hand became functional, I had a bout of covid...I was in a bad way. And not long after I recovered from that, I came down with the next variant! Both at times when I was travelling around the country, working hard and not sleeping enough. Again.. somewhat unavoidable sometimes, in this money-driven world? Although I haven't done as much work as I'd have liked this year, I am really proud of the projects Ive been chosen for, and completed. Please see the new Recent Work section on my website for a more in-depth look at my current projects than instagram or the previous setup allows for. Going forward, well I am really looking forward to some of the projects I am starting again early in January...and I have some nice digital artwork in progress, with lots more ideas ready to go. I'll just be striving to stay healthy, pushing myself to be creative, getting more nature again, and keep making a nice castle for whatever tribulations may come (of which it seems, the next year will bring). In terms of the art though, I have all the tools and skills up my sleeve now really...and a lifetime of experience to draw on. I've been waiting a long time on and off, for things to be alligned in a way in which I will finally make the paintings I was supposed to. Waiting is never good for too long ;) In the meantime, tattooing to a high standard takes a lot of time, focus and preparation (and recent years seeming to take a lot of resting from).
I started guesting at 2 new studios this year - the beautiful Shall Adore in Shoreditch, which I saw years ago and always thought would be great to work at....and onesevenseven, a stylish new studio in the artistic end of Bristol. I look forward to welcoming new and existing clients to these nice environments!
Since covid restrictions and a changing market, it makes much more sense to travel around and work in various locations.
This coming year... aside from the great tattoo projects and more digital paintings... I'd like to practice graffiti and large-scale work more, and immerse myself in the UK scene. I am in a good spot for it near Bristol, and travelling to London. I'd like to implement the style more in my tattoos, as mashups with realism...and also make my mark with some large-scale murals. I will be looking to network more - to share resources, knowledge and opportunities. It is something I never did enough, and a good focus for me to take my work to the next level, in this quickly changing world.
I've also started music production again after a long break...lookout for links! The material I make can provide really useful for art videos and the like; which is another outlet I planned to use a lot more.
I have been updating the website...please find the notes and changes below!
I hope we can all find more peace, and worthwhile connections this next year
(and work out what the hell is going on with the govern-mente)
Until next time
Website Update! version 1.2
.new 'Projects' (Recent Work) section added (see homepage)
.Forum added .further font and UI changes
.member system improved
.Photography added (work in progress)
coming in 1.3 .tattoo design section
.more digital and wall art
.interactive Cypher, with prizes
.better UI, collapsable elements
.'finished' photography section
.youtube channel content, tutorials
.patreon and kickstarter rewards