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thanks Petri. it's almost the intrinsic value of the art/medium that holds that mystery. to me at least. it's really similar to photography in a way.

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thanks Petri. it's almost the intrinsic value of the art/medium that holds that mystery. to me at least. it's really similar to photography in a way.

No prob, thanks for asking :) Do you want to expand your view? Would love to hear more about your comparison to photography

So glad to see you here dude.

Clad that you send me the link man :D

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There have been other places on the forum where I've wanted to say "I love you guys," but I really, really mean it today.

awww schucks Dari! if it weren't for you and the fam, we wouldn't have this outlet or these amazing conversations. much love to you too!

No prob, thanks for asking :) Do you want to expand your view? Would love to hear more about your comparison to photography

sure! i always love talking about photography.

what i meant by what i said, is that photography is considered, by most, to be this objective process, meaning that whatever is placed in front of a camera is truly what is presented in the photograph it has taken. recording light is photography's intrinsic value to a degree. but there's something more that exist and distinguishes a good photograph from just an ok or mundane photograph. while this is subjective (and really, all photography is when you take into account the process by which we actually create a photograph) to a degree, it's also, somewhat, a mystery. what makes a good photographer? is it technical skills? sure. is it a good eye? again, sure. but there's something more that has to exist for an image to be intriguing, and i'm not convinced that this simply occurs because of training or skill. there is a similar mystery that exists.

last week i wrote a final paper on William Christenberry (he's the artist that shot the image of the Bar-B-Q Inn that i posted in the finer things thread, and which is just one of a series of images all of the same building) who came to photography through painting. although he had a fine arts background, at the same time he had no real knowledge of photography, and began shooting using a Kodak brownie camera he had received as a child from santa while growing up in rural Alabama. he was just creating images to be used as references for paintings, and he didn't consider them to really mean anything to anyone else other than himself until Walker Evans discovered him (he also ended up inspiring William Eggleston to take color photographs, if anyone else knows who that is, just a little tidbit of photo history nerdyness). granted, Christenberry was inspired by Evans, since Evans had photographed in Hale County, where Christenberry's grandparents had lived and who he had visited often as a child, Christenberry, however, previous to 1960, had never considered creating photographs, and certainly did not consider his own to be "art". he shot using consumer grade equipment and color film, a format that laughable in the fine art world until 1976. so Christenberry lacked the technical skills (really though, with a brownie, you just point, shoot, and roll) of other fine art photographers, and while he did know about composition and form, really had no experience with taking pictures, and yet, he created photographs that help to start the color photo revolution and changed the course of fine art photography for the last 50 years. how do you explain that? you could say "but he was an artists so of course he's going to make good work" but that's a copout excuse in my book. there was something in him, something about the work that came through those images, and it's more than just emotion. but it's hard to place your finger on what it exactly is, and even Christenberry himself (who i've seen speak before) can't quite name it.

anyways, what i'm getting at is this: you can have a tattoo artist that is technically skilled, and you can also have a tattoo artist with artistic vision who may be lacking technical skill, but that does not mean you will receive a good tattoo. in order for it to really work, to me at least (and it seems like you may feel the same way Petri), there's something more than just the creativity or the skills (and obviously, technical skills weigh more heavily within tattooing, because of tattooing's own intrinsic value of permanence). again, i think this is that mystery you're talking about. i hope this makes sense.

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YES! Great post

What I started to think when you wrote

what makes a good photographer? is it technical skills? sure. is it a good eye? again, sure. but there's something more that has to exist for an image to be intriguing, and i'm not convinced that this simply occurs because of training or skill. there is a similar mystery that exists.

is that he felt the world around it. What had MADE the images, still images that he took, he must have captured the process, the life it had lived, the present moment of that building. It wasnt just a building, because he saw what was AROUND IT.

Life

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Henri Cartier-Bresson called it the decisive moment.

but the decisive moment is a genre, specifically a sub-genre of documentary photography. i'm talking about photography, both documentary and post-documentary, modern and post modern.

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Really great Robin. I think the idea you're getting at extends beyond tattooing and photography though... I think what you're really getting at is the nature of the art of creation. I've been thinking about this a lot anyways and here's how I look at it...

There are people who have immense fantasy world's (CREATIVE VISION) in their head but cannot articulate/illustrate/convey/EXECUTE what they have seen in their head.

Similarly, there are people with a photographic memory of sorts- they can see/hear/taste something in the outside world (no CREATIVE VISION) and recreate/EXECUTE it beautifully.

And then there's a range of people in between (the greys) who are skilled in various amounts of both Creative Vision and Execution. For most art forms, the perfect melding of creative vision and execution is where we see greatness. There are forms however like still life painting where execution is revered. Similarly there are forms like stream of consciousness writing where creative vision is revered.

But what we're concerned about in the realm of tattooing is definitely the combination of creative vision and execution. Most of us want to see original, well thought art in a professionally done manner. Technique/execution can be learned with practice/work. Creative vision on the other hand is much less teachable and is therefore much more mystical/less tangible (I.E. what you're referencing with Christenberry, Robin.)

By the way, what I'm discussing is not limited to art forms either. It can be applied to any human pursuit that requires ingenuity and performance.

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Really great Robin. I think the idea you're getting at extends beyond tattooing and photography though... I think what you're really getting at is the nature of the art of creation. I've been thinking about this a lot anyways and here's how I look at it...

There are people who have immense fantasy world's (CREATIVE VISION) in their head but cannot articulate/illustrate/convey/EXECUTE what they have seen in their head.

Similarly, there are people with a photographic memory of sorts- they can see/hear/taste something in the outside world (no CREATIVE VISION) and recreate/EXECUTE it beautifully.

And then there's a range of people in between (the greys) who are skilled in various amounts of both Creative Vision and Execution. For most art forms, the perfect melding of creative vision and execution is where we see greatness. There are forms however like still life painting where execution is revered. Similarly there are forms like stream of consciousness writing where creative vision is revered.

But what we're concerned about in the realm of tattooing is definitely the combination of creative vision and execution. Most of us want to see original, well thought art in a professionally done manner. Technique/execution can be learned with practice/work. Creative vision on the other hand is much less teachable and is therefore much more mystical/less tangible (I.E. what you're referencing with Christenberry, Robin.)

By the way, what I'm discussing is not limited to art forms either. It can be applied to any human pursuit that requires ingenuity and performance.

totally agree Jake. i think photography is the most relatable way to explain it for me.

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I am not a tattoo artist but I am a collector. I have piece of flash and the rest is all custom work. I do know a little about the tattoo trade and as I see it, if the work is flash the copying of it is what the shop is intending to do with it along with all the other shops that purchased the same flash sheets. So that's indeed copying images right there but, that was the intention all along for that type of work.

When it comes to custom work and the artist, well is it not that all artists (well most of them anyway) start as an apprentice to learn the trade? Usually the apprentice is being taught by his/her master showing techniques and skill that they have learned way back when they were an apprentice. So during that time they may have drawn many images for practice but would the image not be in the masters image? The Master knowing what they like and how to draw something with out intention making the apprentice draw an image in the same manner that they would. In essence copying another artist. Until the apprentice can use their own flair what ever they do would be a copy of their teacher.

A great artist will change an image to make it their own before tattooing it, even though it may look similar to, or have aspects that are similar to the original image. Blatantly outright copying of some ones custom image and selling it as your own will upset the karma gods.

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as tattooers we cant help but retain the images we see and dig on. its up to each individual tattooer to not let their appreciation of a certain tattoo or painting permeate their way of approaching subject matter. if i see a cool piece i DON'T want to imitate that style as much as i just want to tackle that subject matter in my own way.

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If you do a tattoo that really raises the bar, why wouldn't other artists try to do the same thing as you? Some people aren't very artistic so that's how they keep up. Some will use with your work as a starting point and take it in their own direction. I could only hope to inspire someone like that one day!

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*sigh* I just got spanked for asking a dumb question a bit ago, so I hope this doesn't piss anyone off. I'm just looking for a reality check on this one.

When I got my first tattoo, I spent a lot of time and energy designing it myself. I was excited at the idea of having something uniquely 'me' on my person. Okay, so the design was fairly simple traditional American, and it would fit right in with the rest of the flash on the walls. But it was MY design, that I created for myself. I went to the shop to get an estimate and book my appointment. The guy complimented me on my work and said, "Hey do you mind if I keep this here?" Naive, doe-eyed child that I was I perkily said, "Sure!", figuring he meant he wanted to tweak it a bit. Came back in for my appointment the next week and the guy at the desk asked what I was having done. I said 'that one right there.' pointing to my drawing on the desk. "Oh hey yeah! Rob (or whatever his name was) just put that on someone this week. It turned out awesome!"

Your reaction to this? Was I overreacting to be angry that he put my custom-designed-for-me tattoo on someone else's ass before he put it on mine? Honestly I don't care if someone else got it after me...It's just the principle of the thing. If he had flat-out asked me if I minded if he reused my design in his shop, I would've been flattered. I would've just insisted that he put it on me first. I felt a little cheated. What do you think? Don't want to start a huge argument here, just a yay or nay.

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Areilla, i think that artist crossed a line. at least from a customer's stand point. it was your work, and that's pretty disrespectful for anyone to rip if off without your permission, regardless of what style it was. personally, i wouldn't go back.

then again, i always let the artist design the tattoo for me. some artists may view having someone bringing in their own work as a slap in the face. after all, they are artists too, and perfectly capable of designing something that is unique and just for you (i've never seen one of my tattoos on someone else, other than the piece that inspired me starting this thread). that's half the fun for me, is seeking out someone based on their talents, and giving them a handful of ideas or something that's been stewing around in my brain, and then seeing what their imagination comes up with. but this is just my humble opinion and i'm in no way trying to argue with you. just provide you a different perspective.

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oh and one last think Areilla, the world of tattooing is full of opinionated people. what happened in the other thread is not nearly the worst i've seen. just shake it off, learn from it, and keep exploring on here. i think most of us on here are trying harder to keep our cool rather than be hot headed and reactionary. it's a challenge for all of us, informed and the uneducated, myself included. there's a lot we all have to learn about tattooing, but if you stick around here, i think you'll start to see a different side to tattooing than what you've probably already experienced.

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Areilla, i think that artist crossed a line. at least from a customer's stand point. it was your work, and that's pretty disrespectful for anyone to rip if off without your permission, regardless of what style it was. personally, i wouldn't go back.

Not an option anyway. They went out of business. surprise, surprise.

then again, i always let the artist design the tattoo for me. some artists may view having someone bringing in their own work as a slap in the face. after all, they are artists too, and perfectly capable of designing something that is unique and just for you...

If they did, I'd have to just go elsewhere. I don't think I'd mind seeking out someone to do a custom piece of their design if I had seen their portfolio and they had a distinctive style that I just had to have. But this was a first tattoo and I'm a bit of a control freak. :)

Thanks for your answer. Good to know I wasn't the only one who thought it was unprofessional.

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oh and one last think Areilla, the world of tattooing is full of opinionated people. what happened in the other thread is not nearly the worst i've seen. just shake it off, learn from it, and keep exploring on here. i think most of us on here are trying harder to keep our cool rather than be hot headed and reactionary. it's a challenge for all of us, informed and the uneducated, myself included. there's a lot we all have to learn about tattooing, but if you stick around here, i think you'll start to see a different side to tattooing than what you've probably already experienced.

Water off a duck's back, although it did make me pout for a bit. I'm working hard to keep my mouth shut, too. I'm not used to putting my foot in my mouth like that, and I don't care for the taste of boot leather. It's immediately apparent that, other than that last fiasco, there's a goodly number of intelligent, skilled, learned people here. I expect you'll see me around for a bit yet, although maybe not as outspoken.

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It is definitely an area with people who have very specific, sometimes rather narrow, ideas. Someone will come onto the forum looking for help and you may consider them naive or wilfully ignorant. To not belittle or patronise them is the humanist thing to do, as hard as that may be. To offer constructive advice that isn't explicitly offensive is quite hard, although straight-talking is more useful overall.

People are often completely different in person than they are on a forum - it seems to be a form of communication in which people are less self-censored or self-edited, and tend to also be places for people to blow off steam and vent towards individuals about bigger issues. Like I am in this very message.

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People are often completely different in person than they are on a forum - it seems to be a form of communication in which people are less self-censored or self-edited, and tend to also be places for people to blow off steam and vent towards individuals about bigger issues. Like I am in this very message.

I had considered this. :) I'm certainly not as forward in my face to face life either. The psychology of social interaction on the WWW would be an interesting area of study, no?

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What my mentor has told me is something similar as scott had said about using jerry roses until he could make his own. My mentor has told me to just copy and copy all day and night. (copying as drawing the actual image not using it for a tattoo). So for instance he tells me to draw and redraw this ship until you can almost make an exact replica of it. By that time the image is so instilled and fresh in your mind that by the time you need to draw a ship you dont have to look for much reference. You've just kind of implanted the foundation for a ship and from there you can put your own spin and style on it to make it original as possible. For me it's worked. It gives you the opportunity to keep every drawing new and fresh. So everytime you do it, make it better then the last time. Maintaining progression so to speak.

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...draw and redraw this ship until you can almost make an exact replica of it. By that time the image is so instilled and fresh in your mind that by the time you need to draw a ship you dont have to look for much reference. You've just kind of implanted the foundation for a ship and from there you can put your own spin and style on it to make it original as possible. For me it's worked. It gives you the opportunity to keep every drawing new and fresh. So everytime you do it, make it better then the last time. Maintaining progression so to speak.

^ THIS.

Refreshing an old thread with a link to a related video series:

Everything is a Remix

Not specific to tattoos, but about the inheritance of all art and invention. May be interesting if you're interested :) - each part is about 15+ minutes, so a little over an hour if you watch all four back to back.

Coming from an architecture and design background, you can't avoid copying - it's part of the training. In order to learn a style, it's essential to copy other's work over and over until you can get it right. Until you've absorbed the style so completely that you can create your own unique work in that style.

That said, selling those copies as your own work is a big no-no.

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