Beyond The Bamboo
DESIGNING FOR THE FUTURE
When Angie expressed that she wanted to add to her tiger tattoo, I was thankful that I'd already given it some thought. I had sketched out an idea of surrounding the tiger head with a flowing stream of clouds and clusters of stylized bamboo leaves. This idea seemed stale now. My gut was telling me I could do better. There was something better out there. I just needed time. So I put Angie's name on the list and squeezed drawing time in between other clients work but a better idea never bloomed. I just kept redesigning the fuckin bamboo. Eventually her turn came and I sat down and focused. Two days and a night passed before I hatched this new idea onto the tracing paper. My gut was telling me that I was onto something. I was giving it my all. Still, I had to wait and see if she agreed.
More often than not, the client comes back, saying they want more and because of this I'm learning to design tattoos that will satisfy those future urges as well as the visual whole. This will give the tattooing a better look; otherwise I'm stuck slapping on fist sized bangers while the client believes I have it all figured out, that is until they discover I don't and it's to late to turn back for both of us. I'm trying to make the best decisions in these moments and in the future when I look back, adding up these moments, I want to be able to say that I was conducting this orchestra and not playing Hotel California in some vacant corner.
Tattooing is like life. It's never complete. It continues on. The question becomes, how do I create for the scaling work of popularized tattooing today so that it won't look cluttered and unkempt like that of a graffitied alley wall in San Francisco tomorrow? My answer is, sketch and design for what the client is going to need more than what they initially want.