Ok, Here's a great piece... Juan doing a Bob Marley tribute piece. You will find Bob in it, of course, his Les Paul Junior with a single cut away, a Lion statue... Bob's house... excellent piece. Even Juan is all smiles about it! The guy getting the tattoo was flying to the Carribean during hurricane Katrina! F*ck that!!! Turbulence on a normal flight is one thing, but going from one island to another in a propeller plane during a hurricane sounds about as fun as sliding down a razor blade on your b*lls and landing in a pool of alcohol... anyway, he said it was that trip that turned him on to reggae music.
That was a great day, the conversations at the shop are the best. You can really learn a lot. Because of the open floor plan, everyone has a chance to join in the conversations. There are so many knowledgeable people that come into the shop that you can learn everything from facts to how to do repairs on cars, where to find parts, access services like machining, computer services, hair cuts, where to get fancy shoes... you name it.
The week before, I was in Mexico at tattoo convention. Here's a picture of the plane entering Mexican air space.
This is the first day, in the first 20 minutes of the convention. The place got real full. Conventions in Mexico are the best. It's not a huge money maker but the experience is the greatest. You can't put a price on it, especially in a city as huge as Mexico City!!!
There is some real talent there. Not just in Mexico City but the whole country! Look at this tattoo. The guy who did it, uses our machines. The smoothness of the shading and solidness of the color says it all.
Mexico is known for it's black and grey artists. These 2 pieces (above and below) were done by Kique Sanx from Chilpancingo in the state of Guerrero.
I always use black and grey as a reference as to the artist's ability. The techniques needed to do these realistic images is not only a question of eye / hand coordination, but a question of understanding the techniques needed to make your machine, needles and diluted ink achieve this. Light even shades are the hardest to do. Especially if the areas are huge!
Skin type plays a big role in this as well. There are some types of skin that are very receptive to the faintest shades of diluted greys, others are not so lucky. As you can see from these tattoos, there are rarely outlines, the edges are implied with different grey shades and hard edges. You can see this in the noses, shapes of the eye sockets, eye lids and so on. None of the facial features ever gets outlines, surprising to some of you, not even the eyes!! If you ever look in the mirror, there is a shelf that the eyelashes grow out of. That is defined by shades, not lines...
It takes a real "eye" to spot this. There are tons of artists who attempt portrait work and fail miserably because they tattoo what they "think" it looks like and NOT what they see...