smoz

From lurker to poster

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I have signed up here after lurking and browsing for a few months. I am based in South London, I work in the railway industry and I am a season ticket holder at Crystal Palace football (soccer) club.

I have been mainly using this place for getting ideas for my next tattoo, which will be my first large scale one. I have a series of six three hour sessions booked up with Mo Coppoletta from The Family Business, the first is at the beginning of December, the last will be in early April. My plan is for a three quarter length sleeve of an autumnal koi design.

These are my notes so far:

  • Two Koi, swimming upwards. One predominantly black with flashes of gold, the colour of the other one undecided, in a colour that will compliment the rest of the design. Suggest gold or yellow but will this work with colour of maple leaves?

  • Maple Leaves, changing colour, not too many, blowing in the wind

  • Silhouette of a bare tree or branch

  • Chrysanthemum

  • Rocks in the water

  • Rocks/water/wind bars grey work or black?

I haven't finalised my ideas yet, these are intended as a guide line as much as anything, I was planning to give Mo pretty much a free hand on this one, to trust in his experience and instinct.

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I was wondering about that, may drop the idea about the tree/branch. I have an appointment with Mo to discuss the design this Friday (we have talked briefly about it before) and the first appointment is the following Thursday.

Cheers for your advice, and thanks for the welcome.

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I was wondering about that, may drop the idea about the tree/branch. I have an appointment with Mo to discuss the design this Friday (we have talked briefly about it before) and the first appointment is the following Thursday.

Cheers for your advice, and thanks for the welcome.

He would certainly know better than I would. I'm interested to hear what you both decide. Don't forget to post pics!

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I was wondering about that, may drop the idea about the tree/branch. I have an appointment with Mo to discuss the design this Friday (we have talked briefly about it before) and the first appointment is the following Thursday.

Cheers for your advice, and thanks for the welcome.

Speaking not as a tattooer it seems like you have too many ideas for the sleeve, but I would bring them up in the consult anyway, not so much to say that you want everything in it, but to let him know different directions you're willing to go and then letting him design a great tattoo from that. You're going to a great artist and I'm sure you're going to get something fantastic. Please keep us updated, and welcome.

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I don't see a lot of wind bar/rocks/koi in Japanese work. I think that dynamic with the rocks and mayber finger waves could really set your sleeve apart.

I think you generally see rocks in traditional Japanese paired with an Oni, a Fudo, or another figure that has legs or sits on the ground. I have seen some rocks in Japanese work but would consider that stuff neo-traditional.

@smoz Are you trying to keep your work strictly traditional Japanese or is there room for wiggle in what you want?

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I think you generally see rocks in traditional Japanese paired with an Oni, a Fudo, or another figure that has legs or sits on the ground. I have seen some rocks in Japanese work but would consider that stuff neo-traditional.

@smoz Are you trying to keep your work strictly traditional Japanese or is there room for wiggle in what you want?

I am not trying to keep my design strictly traditional but would prefer to avoid anything too contradictory (hence maple leaves and chrysanthemums which I understand are both associated with the autumn/fall), room for wriggle room certainly.

When I mention rocks I am thinking of them being in the water, to help give the water some dynamic movement as opposed to rocks on the land.

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I think you generally see rocks in traditional Japanese paired with an Oni, a Fudo, or another figure that has legs or sits on the ground. I have seen some rocks in Japanese work but would consider that stuff neo-traditional.

Rocks and water are very, very traditional. Maybe you're looking past the rocks because they have a very stylized look?

I haven't finalised my ideas yet, these are intended as a guide line as much as anything, I was planning to give Mo pretty much a free hand on this one, to trust in his experience and instinct.

Giving Mo free reign is the best possible idea. His Japanese work is gorgeous, and you'll do well to "trust in his experience and instinct." Great move!

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Rocks and water are very, very traditional. Maybe you're looking past the rocks because they have a very stylized look?

Obviously my knowledge of traditional is a bit flawed. I just don't see enough with rocks that has the other qualities of traditional. Could you refer me to some very traditional work that includes rocks?

Also, are there rules for including rock in traditional?

It is possible that I am not seeing the traditional pieces I look at clearly. My minds eye see traditional as wind bars, finger waves, and not many more background elements other than the obvious(maple leaves & flowers).

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Obviously my knowledge of traditional is a bit flawed. I just don't see enough with rocks that has the other qualities of traditional. Could you refer me to some very traditional work that includes rocks?

Also, are there rules for including rock in traditional?

It is possible that I am not seeing the traditional pieces I look at clearly. My minds eye see traditional as wind bars, finger waves, and not many more background elements other than the obvious(maple leaves & flowers).

Just looking at Mo Coppoletta's tattoos on The Family Business website there's a Kintaro tattoo with rocks in it.

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...

Giving Mo free reign is the best possible idea. His Japanese work is gorgeous, and you'll do well to "trust in his experience and instinct." Great move!

I have seen some of his finished work and work in progress, Mrs Smoz was tattooed by Steve Vinall at TFB last year so we got to see some of his work then.

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@Brock Varty Once you see them you'll think " Oh yeah " but they can be hard to spot -

Look for the shapes with three little dots on them. The Horitoshi family tends to put three teardrop-shaped dots on their rocks, although, from what I know (and again, I'm not an artist), there are no hard and fast rules to that. Generally, you'll see a heavier, calligraphied outline on traditional Japanese rocks, but of course, each artist may have his or her own interpretation of them.

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I guess we have the same taste because I just finished a HALF sleeve by Kim Saigh of Memoir Tattoo in L.A. Black koi with gold fins, two chrysanthemums, falling maple leaves, finger waves, water bars, and a large rock -- so I say you can fit all of it, maybe minus the tree branch. Will post pics soon (when it's fully healed).

Don't know that it's strictly traditional Japanese -- not tebori or anything -- as it's filtered through Kim's style, which I like and is the reason I chose her. Japanese and American/Euro style are so intertwined anyway -- going all the way back to Sailor Jerry if not before -- it's hard to say what's traditional and what's not. (Not that I'm an expert.) Shige's stuff, for example, is really amazing and different than a lot of the older tattoos I've seen.

Sounds like you're in good hands, though. Mo's portfolio looks killer.

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@Brock Varty Once you see them you'll think " Oh yeah " but they can be hard to spot -

I think in this case I simply overlook the rocks. I appreciate the heads up. I do really like the dynamic the rocks bring into the wind bars and finger waves. Thanks again guys.

- - - Updated - - -

Shige's stuff, for example, is really amazing and different than a lot of the older tattoos I've seen.

Shige has his own style basically. Him and Calle from King Carlos Tattoo are really unique in their interpretation of Japanese.

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