JordanMTB

I need some input about a back piece from the LST Family!

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*Mods: If this belongs in the Full Back Piece Thread - I apologize*

Hello all,

I'm a huge fan of this forum, and have been lurking for years. I think this is the best possible place to get an answer to my question.

I have been collecting seriously for a couple years now, and really want to get my back done. Chris Brand is my first choice - as I am a huge fan of Tattooland history and I consider his work flawless, and love his Suikoden.

My conflict is - I'm just a white boy from Orange County. Neither Japanese nor Chicano culture apply to my upbringing, so I'm not sure that I am fit to wear the image. I love the art and think it's a great example of flawless unique tattooing - but I don't want to attempt to represent something I have no business representing. I saw the Q&A at Perseverance with Chaz Bojorquez and he briefly talked about someone with one of his designs tattooed who shouldn't have got it...because what the image represented didn't belong to him.

Am I over thinking this? Or should I get a bio skull from Grime and call it a day? Haha, thank you in advance for your input!

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the recent tattoo trend of non latinos getting massive amounts of chicano style tattoos is….odd. Its different from japanese art, in that chicano art history has a strong street gang background. So when suburban white guys/gals get huge chicano murals that you would have only seen hardcore NF or EME guys wearing…..well, its just weird. my opinion only, so go get whatever tattoo you like! in the end, you're the one wearing it.

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the recent tattoo trend of non latinos getting massive amounts of chicano style tattoos is….odd. Its different from japanese art, in that chicano art history has a strong street gang background. So when suburban white guys/gals get huge chicano murals that you would have only seen hardcore NF or EME guys wearing…..well, its just weird. my opinion only, so go get whatever tattoo you like! in the end, you're the one wearing it.

I think certain tattoos fit certain people better, but just because people have been wearing Japanese, along with other asian styles and Maori inspired tattoos longer doesn't make it any less weird at times. White guys with no tattoos getting Japanese sleeves, always a little weird, but I don't blame them, cause it's cool stuff, way better than the first tattoo I got and I'm not japanese, or a biker, or a sailor, so what do I really have to say about it. I think it's more plausible for a white kid from california to associate his life experience with a culture that is really prevelant in his region and happening right now, versus a culture from thousands of miles away and many years ago.

People are going to get what's popular, the smart people will find the best imagery in popular styles, the rest will be stuck with crappy lettering tattoos.

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You need to be confident in the imagery you choose for something as powerful as a backpiece IMO. The tattoo will give strength because of that personal connection to the imagery or it may end up making you feel uncomfortable and awkward after the novelty wears off. I think it is great that you are having this dialogue - on this forum - but more importantly with yourself. You need to listen to yourself if you are feeling conflict about the idea, because that conflict could become greater when you are in the midst of the project.

To relate to my own experience. I am about to start my backpiece journey. We are doing something chinese themed, I've been training kung fu for a decade and have many experiences to compliment the image we are choosing to work with. I feel it represents my passion, loyalty and devotion - to both my kung fu discipleship and my commitment to tattoo. On the contrary I have a new student at my school. Super nice guy with a fresh looking dragon sleeve, some very nice work. He told me he is starting his backpiece of Guan Yu (sic). We were suspicious of him understanding Guan Yu's history or the weight of having a tattoo of the chinese diety "God of War" on his back after training kung fu for only 1 month. After all he called him a warrior-guy-with-a-guan-do-blade. But in the end it it is his journey and his tattoo he has chosen to wear. And the sketch he showed me looks great, going to be an awesome tattoo. So you can either "own it" and live, breathe the tattoo, aspire to the imagery or you can just have cool wallpaper art on your back. I think both trains of thought are ok, but *you* need to be ok with it. And the tattooer needs to agree to put it on you in the first place.

Sometimes a tattoo, is just a tattoo. But for something big and bold on your back, well I for one just don't want any old tattoo, I want something powerful with a personal connection.

I stumbled on some excellent info re: japanese style tattooing on Clark North's website. There is some excellent insight here on wearing a big powerful tattoo image that I think can be extrapolated beyond the japanese style and about tattooing in general.

THE JAPANESE STYLE TATTOO EXPLAINED - Clark North Tattoo & Art - Las Vegas

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I would ask Chris Brand. May not be the best advice, but he's the only person whose opinion will really matter when it comes to getting the tattoo.

I would go this route.

I think it's more plausible for a white kid from california to associate his life experience with a culture that is really prevelant in his region and happening right now, versus a culture from thousands of miles away and many years ago.

I agree with this too.

My two cents, you don't have to be a sailor to get sailor tattoos. You don't have to be Japanese to get Japanese tattoos. Plus, living that close to GTC, it makes sense to want to get tattooed in that style there.

I'm also saving my back for last, because I am truly putting a lot of thought on what to get back there.

Good luck!

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Late to the game but here's .02

I feel as though you are coming from a place of respect, and that alone gives you a pass to wear it in my book. I love his work also and while I prefer the traditional japanese imagery, I understand the draw. The piece with the dude double wielding the smoking shot guns is amazing, as are the many others.

I see it less Chicano now as I do "California culture" it's your history now too in a way.

Whatever goes down show off your progress in the backpiece thread

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Thank you to everyone for your input - I think everyone had a really really valid viewpoint.

One thing I did forget to mention - The goal of my collection is to display the caliber of tattooing in Southern California - via my favorite artists - the majority of which happen to be past or present Tattooland artists or loosely affiliated with the shop or the Beatniks.

I have a little work from Jack Rudy, and when my torso is done, I hope to have work from Ben Grillo, Corey Miller, Espi, Lil Roy, Chuey, Robert Atkinson, and Tim Hendricks. I think that a Chris Brand backpiece would be a perfect compliment to the collection.

Based on the input....I think I'm leaning towards going for it

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Just curious, are you leaning towards one of the 108 Heroes of Los Angeles backpieces or Chris Brand's Japanese tattoos generally?

Yeah, I do want one of the 108 Heroes of Los Angeles. I've done a liiiiiiiiittle research on the 108 heroes and I'm trying to find one that speaks to me

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The goal of my collection is to display the caliber of tattooing in Southern California

You seem like a thoughtful guy with great taste, so please don't read this as me calling you out but rather being curious to unpack the above statement and understand it - what do you mean by this and how did you come to this "goal"? I have never thought of having a goal to the tattoos I get other than getting stuff I love, that speaks to me, and that feels right on my body. And it sounds like the Southern California black and grey stuff does that for you, which is awesome. So I am curious as to what you perceive the difference to be between getting tattoos you love and having a collection with a particular goal and theme in mind, like an art gallery?

PS Chris Brand's backpieces are incredible, so I can see why you'd want one! I think focusing on finding a story/image that feels right for you might solve the problem that you were worried about in your OP.

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You seem like a thoughtful guy with great taste, so please don't read this as me calling you out but rather being curious to unpack the above statement and understand it - what do you mean by this and how did you come to this "goal"? I have never thought of having a goal to the tattoos I get other than getting stuff I love, that speaks to me, and that feels right on my body. And it sounds like the Southern California black and grey stuff does that for you, which is awesome. So I am curious as to what you perceive the difference to be between getting tattoos you love and having a collection with a particular goal and theme in mind, like an art gallery?

Well, the SOLE purpose of my collection is not to showcase a certain style. The fact is, the southern california black and gray style really speaks to me, and I find it timeless and beautiful. I found that the majority of artists I really looked up to were guys from Tattooland, so really the list of artists came first - and the realization that the collection would be a great example of southern california tattooing came second.

I also really think California is the mecca of tattooing, and want to show off what we have to offer.

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One thing I have really come to appreciate, especially since being here, is that great tattoos know very few borders. Even more so with how freely art is exchanged on the Internet, and how often artists travel/relocate.

It's cool that you are showing an interest and pride in something. It kind of feels like you are entering into a one man regional contest though.

But hey, it sounds like you are out to get quality work, so whatever is clever.

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The goal of my collection is to display the caliber of tattooing in Southern California - via my favorite artists - the majority of which happen to be past or present Tattooland artists or loosely affiliated with the shop or the Beatniks.

That's kind of my goal with my collection too. I used to want to travel all over the world to collect tattoos. But nowadays, I know I'm lucky to be living in a part of the world where there are so many talented tattooers.

My goal is to have a collection that represents the Bay Area. I realized this half way through collecting, so there will be some non-Bay Area tattoos in there. I also realized that I want to go black and grey from this point on, too.

I hope you do get that Chris Brand backpiece though. Looking forward to it.

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So you can either "own it" and live, breathe the tattoo, aspire to the imagery or you can just have cool wallpaper art on your back. I think both trains of thought are ok, but *you* need to be ok with it. And the tattooer needs to agree to put it on you in the first place.

Great description.

It feels like my back has been waiting years to get this piece done, and it's finally getting its way.

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I love western traditional foremost but have been thinking of getting a B&G piece and if I do it will be a chicano style tattoo, a gangster girl and flaming skull or something. Why, because I respect the history and it looks so dam cool. BTW I'm English as far back as my known family tree goes.

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