2016 Guest Spots
I'll be planning dates and destinations for next years guest spots real soon. My last 2 ventures out were successful and fun thanks to all of you that showed interest. Mass Ink Custom Tattooing (my home) will of course be on that list. Visions has always left their doors open to me too. This coming year I would like to try adding another shop to my itinerary. If any of you have any suggestions I'd be glad to hear them, as long as they're somewhere between NM and MA. I have a couple of shops in mind that I'll be contacting soon.
Doing guest spots out of town is a great way for artists to get out of their comfort zones and get inspired. Working alongside other artists always gets my creative juices flowing and sends me home with a head full of creativity. You also get to see how other shops operate which helps our industry improve all around. This past year I changed up quite a few things in my set up because of things I learned from artists that I admire. Those of you that have been tattooed by me recently may have noticed that I'm now using rotary type machines almost exclusively. This is because of the results I have seen in person coming from this type of equipment. I have always said that if I find something or someway to improve my work and your tattoo experience that I would adopt it into my repertoire.
My art on paper and canvas is positively affected by these trips as well. My time spent at Visions, primarily upstairs in the Electric Lounge, was mostly dedicated to painting and creating new art alongside of Mike Cannistraro, aka Canman. For more than a decade he has been an inspiration to me and my artwork. Although we have different styles I have learned volumes about composition, color use, making time to paint, and countless tips and tricks to making better art. Just being there for a few days is like having your own private seminar on how to be a kick ass artist! And sometimes theres steak tips on the grill by the fire pit!
Mass Ink Custom Tattooing is where I started my life as a tattooer. I'm not a very emotional or sentimental person, but I am spiritual. Going back each year to tattoo there is like a personal pilgramage back to the roots of what has made my life a happy one for a dozen years. When I'm there it's like a deep tissue massage for my soul. I instantly remember why I got into this business and how important it is that I uphold a standard that will reflect well on my mentor Stephen D'asti. I believe that being brought into this industry is like being raised by a family. They teach you respect, etiquette, and responsibility before releasing you into the world. Sometimes I can see a current parallel to our society as it is presently. Some families are not teaching their children manners, accountability, or humilty. The result is waves of self entitled brats that demand instead of earn or ask. Thankfully I was taught to appreciate what I was given and to respect where I came from. This is why I will always come home to visit my tattoo family.
The other shops that I have in mind to add to my itinerary are ones that I have always wanted to visit, regardless if I do any tattooing. The one thing that will make it different is that I won't have any existing clients in their areas. I see this as a true test and a challenge of my abilities. It'll force me to be a better promoter for myself and to not rely just on my current client base. I'm eager to see new places and meet new people. It's all part of getting my focus back on my career and taking it to bigger and better places.