Tassos Sgardelis

Is it important anymore how the tattoo is gonna look after few years?

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I am not a fan of any of the color outlines or realism stuff and I agree with everything that people say. If I have an eagle tattoo you should be able to tell what it is from ten feet away and it shouldn't matter if it's twenty years old. That is not to say it is going to look as good as the day I got it, but it still should be recognizable.

But another thing I see that I would almost equate with it is the dumbing down of traditional work. Elongated panther heads without any definition in the jawbone that look like they would probably lick you to death before they attacked you and blocky eagles with not enough feathers to take flight. Clearly it's a traditional tattoo and nobody is asking for a portrait of said animal but just because it's a traditional tattoo doesn't mean it shouldn't be a good drawing. I think I would rather pick an eagle out of the Rollo sketchbook than have a custom drawing put on me that wasn't up to snuff.

One argument would be that the old school way you paint the flash a little sloppy and clean up the design when you tattoo it, but I don't see that happening these days. This stuff is getting tattooed just as it's painted.

I worked with a guy for awhile, had been tattooing for a few years but never really learned how to do it the right way. I would look at him draw and some of the stuff was horrible. I would steer him towards using reference material, but he was set on drawing everything from his own head. It just seems like if you draw something with no frame of reference of what it supposed to look like it's bound to end up a little wonky.There are guys who can do it, but only after years and years of drawing certain things in the proper way. I have a file of stencils at the shop I saved of stuff I couldn't believe he put on people. I am not saying this is what's happening but if it is we are all doomed. Eventually enough people got on his case and he came around and his tattoos are looking better (not amazing by any means).

I am not trying to bust people's balls or call out names or dwell on the negative. There are plenty of people doing great traditional work and clearly this is not about them. Maybe I am just over thinking things, I mean it's just a tattoo. I remember the story where Terry Tweed sent someone home for the day, well actually sent him to the zoo, because he put a green eye in the eagle tattoo he did that day. Clearly this is a slight overreaction, but I think he made his point and that was at least 15 years ago.

There's a push for SUPER conceptual 'old timey' stuff so they can 'out oldschool' each other. Some of the stuff, by well respected tattooers, looks to me like a five year old drew it. I mean, whatever folks want to get is fine by me, but until people start calling it out.... it's only going to get worse.

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There's a push for SUPER conceptual 'old timey' stuff so they can 'out oldschool' each other. Some of the stuff, by well respected tattooers, looks to me like a five year old drew it. I mean, whatever folks want to get is fine by me, but until people start calling it out.... it's only going to get worse.

well put! i gotta throw in the fact that so many young tattooers are relying on wonky 'traditional" to get by and build a name for themselves. they think they know how to tattoo. i wanna see what they are gonna do when the market for that stuff changes.

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There's a push for SUPER conceptual 'old timey' stuff so they can 'out oldschool' each other. Some of the stuff, by well respected tattooers, looks to me like a five year old drew it. I mean, whatever folks want to get is fine by me, but until people start calling it out.... it's only going to get worse.

The only thing is even the kid who tattoos out of his kitchen has a bandwagon of people blowing smoke up their ass. You call someone out then it becomes this big soap opera of people who don't even have a clue about what is being debated. Addressing it in this manor I think at least brings it to light and like @G.Uristti said trends will change.

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from a customer point of view, Im not personally bothered about the artistic skill of the tattooist in terms of making it look real but rather the vibe of what they do and how easy it is to make out.

The real full on massive tattoos with loads of color that a few guys are doing such as nick baxter, I do like, but i like it in a photo more than when i see it in real life. I prefer small tattoos so you get dudes with arms that have no real composition to the whole limb with small tattoos everywhere. I find with this you get a sense of where the dudes head was at the time he had each tattoo done!

I want a tattoo to look like a tattoo but still want my artist to do more than just regurgitate some very traditional tattoo cliche, i want a traditional looking tattoo with that artists personality stamped on it!

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from a customer point of view, Im not personally bothered about the artistic skill of the tattooist in terms of making it look real but rather the vibe of what they do and how easy it is to make out.

The real full on massive tattoos with loads of color that a few guys are doing such as nick baxter, I do like, but i like it in a photo more than when i see it in real life. I prefer small tattoos so you get dudes with arms that have no real composition to the whole limb with small tattoos everywhere. I find with this you get a sense of where the dudes head was at the time he had each tattoo done!

I want a tattoo to look like a tattoo but still want my artist to do more than just regurgitate some very traditional tattoo cliche, i want a traditional looking tattoo with that artists personality stamped on it!

i like this guy

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A lot of good input here that I think the people on the receiving end could use. I for one think so much of the trend in realism or turning your nose up at convention and tradition comes from the "look what I can do" mindset when really, it should be, "look what I can offer you" a lot of new school/no school tattooers are so caught up in their own abilities that he guidelines learned through decades of experienced tradesmen before us are seen as an obstruction when they are really the path. A tattoo that only looks good now is about the tattoo artist, one that looks good 5, 15, 30 years later is about the client. I want my work to look good long after my client has forgotten my name.

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I'm not a tattooer, nor do I think I'd be a really good one if I was, but the truth behind "bold will hold" has always stuck with me. When I got my first tattoo, I remember walking around the shop at that time and seeing all this crazy colored pencil Jime Litwalk or Tony Ciavarro shit hanging up (I'm not ragging on the guys). But the wonky new-school colors and exaggerated features never struck me as appealing. Whenever I see someone wearing a tattoo like that now, it makes sense. Nothing holds up about it. The style, the colors, nada, just doesn't hold up. Whether you are getting a Japanese-style full sleeve or pork-chopping your arm out, there is a tradition with tried and true methods. Even Will Lollie stopped doing it. This hot shiny shit will be laughed at later as a fad, and those black lines with heavy shading will still be in practice.

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I was taught and always strive to do tattoos that are going to look good 20 years down the road. Doesn't mean you have to outline everything but you do need to give the tattoo a solid foundation.

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A lot of good input here that I think the people on the receiving end could use. I for one think so much of the trend in realism or turning your nose up at convention and tradition comes from the "look what I can do" mindset when really, it should be, "look what I can offer you" a lot of new school/no school tattooers are so caught up in their own abilities that he guidelines learned through decades of experienced tradesmen before us are seen as an obstruction when they are really the path. A tattoo that only looks good now is about the tattoo artist, one that looks good 5, 15, 30 years later is about the client. I want my work to look good long after my client has forgotten my name.

Agreed with this. Tattooing is purely aesthetic, right? It shouldn't turn into a technical showdown. A tattoo is only as good as it looks.

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I also thought about this as I have some very intricate work.

It probably wont stand the test of time, it will probably look like a blob in a few years but I live for today. What will be will be in the future :)

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Maybe 20 years back, everything was going the way of the single needle outline... and fast forward 20 years... most of that shit is washed out. I don't go with real minute detail in what I get as I like to tan and be outside (do wear a sunblock) all summer. I do have some recent work lined in color, but these are dark colors to start with. This is why the old school stark detail style is so appealing to me.

CG

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I suppose from a non tattooers perspective I would appreciate complete honesty from my selected tattooer, if I were set on a design that the artist knew would not pass the test of time or would not make a good tattoo I would expect the artist to at least point it out and try to steer me in a better direction.

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I am not a fan of any of the color outlines or realism stuff and I agree with everything that people say. If I have an eagle tattoo you should be able to tell what it is from ten feet away and it shouldn't matter if it's twenty years old. That is not to say it is going to look as good as the day I got it, but it still should be recognizable.

But another thing I see that I would almost equate with it is the dumbing down of traditional work. Elongated panther heads without any definition in the jawbone that look like they would probably lick you to death before they attacked you and blocky eagles with not enough feathers to take flight. Clearly it's a traditional tattoo and nobody is asking for a portrait of said animal but just because it's a traditional tattoo doesn't mean it shouldn't be a good drawing. I think I would rather pick an eagle out of the Rollo sketchbook than have a custom drawing put on me that wasn't up to snuff.

One argument would be that the old school way you paint the flash a little sloppy and clean up the design when you tattoo it, but I don't see that happening these days. This stuff is getting tattooed just as it's painted.

I worked with a guy for awhile, had been tattooing for a few years but never really learned how to do it the right way. I would look at him draw and some of the stuff was horrible. I would steer him towards using reference material, but he was set on drawing everything from his own head. It just seems like if you draw something with no frame of reference of what it supposed to look like it's bound to end up a little wonky.There are guys who can do it, but only after years and years of drawing certain things in the proper way. I have a file of stencils at the shop I saved of stuff I couldn't believe he put on people. I am not saying this is what's happening but if it is we are all doomed. Eventually enough people got on his case and he came around and his tattoos are looking better (not amazing by any means).

I am not trying to bust people's balls or call out names or dwell on the negative. There are plenty of people doing great traditional work and clearly this is not about them. Maybe I am just over thinking things, I mean it's just a tattoo. I remember the story where Terry Tweed sent someone home for the day, well actually sent him to the zoo, because he put a green eye in the eagle tattoo he did that day. Clearly this is a slight overreaction, but I think he made his point and that was at least 15 years ago.

definitely agree with this. i don't know if this is the case, but I feel like sometimes that is done to mimic some of the really all time flash that was drawn up in the late 1800s by folks that really weren’t the most artistically-abled individuals. Maybe I’m wrong, but that’s what I’ve thought. Either way, I agree that I find it lame.

i'll also add that i really don't like traditional Americana tattoos with no shading and just straight up all colored in with black and some other colors, instead of using shading. I find them to not be very appealing. There are several younger tattooers that I can think of that come to mind.

on to the OP's original post-Honestly, I don’t understand the appeal of “arty” or hyper real looking tattoos. If you want a piece of art, fucking buy yourself a piece, frame it, and hang it on your wall. my walls are covered with art prints. However, I’d never get anything that was meant as a piece of art tattooed on me, at least not something exactly the same. It’s been said enough on this board, and in this thread, but tattoos that look like tattoos are made that way and for a very specific reason. Blah. Blah, blah I’m probably rehashing shit that’s already been said already.

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on to the OP's original post-Honestly, I don’t understand the appeal of “arty” or hyper real looking tattoos. If you want a piece of art, fucking buy yourself a piece, frame it, and hang it on your wall. my walls are covered with art prints. However, I’d never get anything that was meant as a piece of art tattooed on me, at least not something exactly the same. It’s been said enough on this board, and in this thread, but tattoos that look like tattoos are made that way and for a very specific reason. Blah. Blah, blah I’m probably rehashing shit that’s already been said already.

The one that gets me is commisioning some "artist" (non tattooer) hundreds of dollars to design you a tattoo based upon the fact that their art has some of the same subject matter as tattoos. First of all you spent $500 that you didn't have to just so you can take the design to a tattooer and have them redraw so it works as a tattoo. You probably could have gotten a nice canvas print to hang on your wall for about same price as commission and you could let the tattooer design the tattoo.

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Any time someone approaches me to design a tattoo for them (which is not often), I offer them their idea as a painting and the outline on tracing paper. I then charge them what I would for a regular piece of art (5x7-$50, 8x10-$75, 11x14-$120). I also inform them that a decent tattooer is going to redraw what I just sold them, so be ready for that because it's part of the tattoo process. I need to find one of these people throwing around $500.

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Any time someone approaches me to design a tattoo for them (which is not often), I offer them their idea as a painting and the outline on tracing paper. I then charge them what I would for a regular piece of art (5x7-$50, 8x10-$75, 11x14-$120). I also inform them that a decent tattooer is going to redraw what I just sold them, so be ready for that because it's part of the tattoo process. I need to find one of these people throwing around $500.

From what I have seen of your work though, you approach things in a lot of the same ways as a tattooer, at least while you are doing tattoo related or inspired art. The biggest example that comes to mind is all the day of the dead art out there, a lot of it is cool but not all of it makes good tattoos but people really dig it.

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As a rule, I try to educate each customer as far as the longevity of a tattoo and how the skin differs from a sheet of paper. I try to explain that there are certain things that have to be kept in mind when drawing or picking a design for a tattoo because the skin and the ink will change over time, so I strive to make tattoos that not only look good now but still look good down the line. A lot of people dismiss the 'bold will hold' or traditional style designs because they say that times have changed and it's just a cop out for tattooers that lack artistic ability. But in reality that expression transcends tattoo genres and should be the basis of any tattoo regardless of subject matter.

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As a rule, I try to educate each customer as far as the longevity of a tattoo and how the skin differs from a sheet of paper. I try to explain that there are certain things that have to be kept in mind when drawing or picking a design for a tattoo because the skin and the ink will change over time, so I strive to make tattoos that not only look good now but still look good down the line. A lot of people dismiss the 'bold will hold' or traditional style designs because they say that times have changed and it's just a cop out for tattooers that lack artistic ability. But in reality that expression transcends tattoo genres and should be the basis of any tattoo regardless of subject matter.

In my non-artist opinion I would say it seems that awesome bold tattoos look harder to make perfect than a realistic piece since with a flow-y realistic design flaws can be hidden in the details, while a simple bold design has no places to hide such flaws. Plus old traditional tattoos age like wine! I'm looking forward to my tattoos getting settled in.

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it is truly amazing to me to hear "artists" say that it's ok for them if their tattoos will not hold for more then a few years.

are you out of your mind people!!??? did people forget what a tattoo is all about??

yes, you can of course revive your tattoos many years down the road if you want them to look more vibrant, but any tattoo artist out there that does not try his best that every tattoo they do will last forever! and age properly, really should pick up a different medium to work with.

what makes some artists pioneers in this industry is the ability to push the envelope and art, while stile paying attention to the basics of the medium and still keep in mind at any time how the tattoo will age and change with time, in order to assure the client that the changes will e minimal and the art sill still be a good looking tattoo in 20-30 years after it's done.

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I agree Tassos. I have tattoos as old as 40. They will fade. I cant stress enough, the importance of the major factor that causes most of this problem. Its the Sun. Sure its nice to get a little tan in the summer. But I have had my share of sunburns, and they dont help preserve a tattoo one bit. But I have found that an old faded tattoo can get new life with a good blast over.

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it is truly amazing to me to hear "artists" say that it's ok for them if their tattoos will not hold for more then a few years.

Its like buying a sports car, it will need very expensive maintenance but you will really enjoy it between service intervals.

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In 15 to 20 years, I would like to be getting referrals from people I tattoo today. Its easy to avoid trends and poorly crafted tattoos when youre busy doing what you and your peers deem good. Im not in that position yet so I am faced with making decisions on craft verses art all the time. I try to plant seeds of education while I talk of how their tattoo idea isnt the best case scenario. In the end, they make the decision, and I get the final say on awful ideas. Sometimes we, as tattooers, can have all the right equipment and theory, but the customer determines if they will get a quality tattoo or not.

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