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I'm gonna stir the pot here, and I want to be clear that this is all in an effort to understand, not confront or argue. I promise.

smiling.politely posted a painting the other day and asked about pricing in his thread. The minute I saw it, I thought, "Uh oh.." But you learn a lot from year to year as you get older and while tossing up a panther head painting and asking about pricing in a forum full of curmudgeonly tattooers is not the best idea, I thought, "Shit.. I guess I won't mention my own sketchbook. Or messing around with watercolors."

So, aside from trying to cash in on generally accepted tattoo designs, it comes back to this question of ownership. As far back as I can remember, I drew and I drew on myself. When I got older I bought tattoo magazines and drew designs out of there, sometimes for friends, none of whom actually got tattooed. I was definitely not a great artist.

I have the utmost respect for those on here who are career tattooers. But I sit in my kitchen when I have the time, and draw. And yep, sometimes they're (poorly drawn) panthers and pharoahs horses and lady heads. Ms. Rad said something on ShannonShirley's blog: "i even draw flash in my sketchbook, but i wouldn't dare show anyone what i've created... tattooing is a whole different world, and i've come to the conclusion to not even try to understand it since i will always be an outsider"

So we're all obviously outsiders. I guess the question is why we're not allowed to draw traditional designs. I draw other things, too, but I feel that tattoos have been such a part of me for so long, it's hard not to want to try drawing a panther head a new way, or get my roses down. (Damn, roses are tough..)

And right now, I'm cringing just like I did when I read the post asking about pricing for the painting because I almost don't want to read the responses. I'm sure smiling.politely didn't mean to insult anyone. I hope I'm not insulting anyone. One of the great things about LST is us regular civilians get to learn. I still remember Alanna's post about going from watching tattoo tv shows to learning about Amund Dietzel and getting a Dietzel tattoo from Nick Colella (I think it was).

So.. if no one is trying to take money out your mouths, and someone shows an interest in the art side of it, why assume the worst? All tattooers were the same regular folks before, drawn to art, enamored with tattoos, drawn to it all for whatever reason. And I think there's something to be said for defending your craft so vehemently. Tell me to fuck off and die if you want, but this probably won't stop me from continuing to draw. Because unless someone straight up copies, nobody owns "panther head" or "pair of swallows." If they did, nobody would have been tattooing them for the last hundred years.

Hope I didn't offend anyone, just trying to understand.

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I'm gonna start this off by saying I am NOT a tattooer.

What I have learned from being around the tattoo community for a while now is that it's more about the quality of work than being a tattooer or as you call it an outsider. (I don't consider myself an outsider because I have just as many tattoos, know all the same people and have worked in shops)

If your art holds up to the test, it doesn't matter where you came from or who you are. I have had zero problem selling my hand embroidered flash and sewn items to tattooers and outsiders alike (after working on my craft for over 10 years)

If you love art do it. And if stay with what you love in the end it doesn't matter.

The one last thing I'd like to add is this: if you make money off the tattoo industry in any way you better damn well put some of that money back into it by getting tattoos, or buying other people's art.

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I did find it interesting that that kid got shot down so inappropriately harshly while Ursula's embroidery was so well received.

Both were non-tattooers offering tattoo imagery for sale.

That other kid ended up typing out his life story to appease people, which is a shame. I would have went with a 'hey, fuck off, sport'.

And Gouge- no one will think you're an outsider because folks seem to like you. It's all about who you know... didn't you know that? :D

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The one last thing I'd like to add is this: if you make money off the tattoo industry in any way you better damn well put some of that money back into it by getting tattoos, or buying other people's art.

I seriously could not agree more with this statement. Even if it means my paychecks are barely seen from putting the money straight back into tattoos and art, haha.

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I disagree with the notion of playing the game, any time you do that is to compromise and sell yourself short .If your good enough in any endeavour you will get noticed for your body of work regardless of anything else .Hell the most innovative ,daring and celebrated fashion designer of recent times-Alexander McQueen was a total maverick who turned up at his shows looking like a tramp and totally shunned the fashion world .

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I disagree with some of that.

It's very very very difficult to get noticed in any art scene based on your work alone. It's the people who network and get their shit out there who get noticed in the end. Playing the game doesn't always mean selling yourself short. You can be a good artist and also be a good networker. I have seen a lot of people who get praise they don't deserve but I've seen so many more people who are amazing artists that no one's even heard of.

For me it comes down to what you want to do with your career. If you want to be hung in galleries nation wide then game playing is almost the only way.

Guys like McQueen are very rare and even he played the game by showing up at shows and pushing his work. I feel like even sitting at home and painting alone and then posting it on a message board for sale is playing the game to an extent. You've gotta get your work in front of people to get it noticed.

Just to clear it up a bit : I don't respect someone just because of who they know and wouldn't get tattooed by someone or buy their painting just because they are known but a lot of people will.

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i just wanted to clear up why i said (gouge quoted me) the word "outsider". by outsider, i don't mean someone who has no knowledge of the industry, history, or artists involved in tattooing and is therefore not tattooed themselves. what i meant by the word "outsider" is that i am just a customer, not a tattooer (or tattooist, if you prefer). i'll never know what it's like to be a tattoo artist, and i'll never fully understand all the obstacles and problems currently faced by those who work in this industry. i can sympathize, and empathize, but i'm not living it. i'm not experiencing it first hand when it comes to producing tattoos.

also, the flash i draw is stuff i create, not stuff based on other people's designs (or at least not consciously or intentionally). i started a series based on Lucero lyrics, and i've also started working on a portrait series of people i admire (the first drawing being intentionally for Mike Park, though he doesn't know it yet and i won't get to finish it this week as i had hoped) which do have some elements related to tattooing (banners, script, etc.), but there's no way i'd post that stuff on here, and especially not after seeing the reaction Smiling.Politely received.

what makes me mad is that people are reacting without knowing all the facts about someone and their intentions. i know and understand that people feel that their jobs are threatened right now due to a surge in shitty tattoo artists. but putting down people who clearly have some talent and drive is not going to change this, and if anything, i think is backfiring. i know people who just said "fuck it" and have started tattooing out of their homes because of this attitude. a few blocks away, there is a house where several people are doing this nightly. is this what we want to happen? personally, i want to still be able to get tattooed when i'm 65 or 70 years old, and i want to have the same quality of work done as i do now. and that's not going to happen if we just discourage everyone without knowing their intention for wanting to tattoo.

also, as Ursula pointed out, there are many good artists who went to art school and now tattoo. Hell, Mario works with Josh Howard at CTC who went to SAIC and who i know produces stellar work. going to college isn't a bad thing, and just because you have a diploma doesn't make you automatically elitist. i find it hypocritical that it seen as ok to do the opposite based on an assumption of those of us who chose(and in some cases, were forced) to take a different route than those who did not go to college. my parents strongly encouraged me to do well in school, and any talk of anything else other than college (joining the military for example) was highly discouraged (and my father is a naval vet). i know a lot of people weren't raised that way, and that school doesn't come easy for everyone. but i don't think that anyone should have to apologize for the hand of cards that they are dealt in life, and it just so happens in this respect, i was lucky. i bare a reminder of this luck across my chest and heart that i see daily. this is how life is. sometimes we're lucky, and other times we're not.

and also, as Ursula said, there are some tattoo artists that i want to tell to just stick to tattooing and to not paint, because their painting, in my humble opinion, does nothing to speak for the quality of art that they produce on someone's body. now i can't remember who i was looking at, but it was an artists who work i thought was phenomenal (though not my style), and then i saw his paintings and i felt disappointed. but again, if he enjoys painting, then more power to him. his tattoos look great, and opinions on art are all subjective.

anyways, i've wrote enough i've gotta go study for math placement exams as i start down the new road i'm on in life. what i've said may be controversial or other's may disagree, but this is how i feel. i'm willing to discuss or debate all valid points of discussion, but will i not participate in any petty arguments. sorry for any typos, i don't have the attention span to proof read right now.

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plus about that dude and his painting vs me and my sewing - it's way easier for people bored online to jump all over some guy's painting then it is to talk shit to a chick with her real name and photo in her profile

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i started getting tattooed because i always felt like an outsider. i think no matter what your endeavors and choices someone makes in life there will always be someone who will disagree and find fault with one's decisions. i think if you are sincere with your efforts in life and you do the best you can to do right by others and showing respect then all you can do is move forward with what you feel to be right. if mistakes are made then those opportunities to learn and grow. the internet is sort of an altered reality, people can quickly voice their opinions see and learn things at a higher level of access which i think many people allow to form a little too much influence on their actual lives.

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I used to care when someone on the internet would rag on me about my art; now I spend more time creating art, less time caring about what people think. If you're going to do it though, do it right and ask someone who knows how like a real-life tattooer in person, preferably while you're getting tattooed. Buy vintage flash books, study and TRACE the images until the style becomes your own, do some research and find the image sources, credit the creators, and draw/paint all the time. Everybody borrows from each other in every field - this documentary is a great summary of that "Everything is a Remix" Most of all, don't apologize for doing something you love; anyone who tries to make you feel bad for that should check themselves and figure out why they feel the need to worry about what someone on the internet is doing. My .02

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I used to care when someone on the internet would rag on me about my art; now I spend more time creating art, less time caring about what people think. If you're going to do it though, do it right and ask someone who knows how like a real-life tattooer in person, preferably while you're getting tattooed. Buy vintage flash books, study and TRACE the images until the style becomes your own, do some research and find the image sources, credit the creators, and draw/paint all the time. Everybody borrows from each other in every field - this documentary is a great summary of that "Everything is a Remix" Most of all, don't apologize for doing something you love; anyone who tries to make you feel bad for that should check themselves and figure out why they feel the need to worry about what someone on the internet is doing. My .02

Kev, i'm not sure who your response is to, but i'm going to reply to it as if it was directed to me (and hopefully that doesn't come off as too narcissistic). As far as my "flash" goes, it's just little drawings i make that remind me of actual flash, and that i picture having together on a sheet with an overall theme (so for the Lucero lyrics, they will be grouped by album). i don't intend on anyone ever getting these designs tattooed, so i'm not too worried about them being functional. i'm not planning on selling them either, though i might gift some of them, so they're really just for my own enjoyment (or friends, family, bands, whoever i think might like receiving one). even if i do sell them, i won't sell them as "sheets of flash" but rather individual pieces (hopefully woodblock or screen prints), so each one would be a separate with an edition. i'm really just playing around with ideas right now and having fun. and the money i'd earn would go right back into getting tattooed, since it would just be extra income.

and as for criticism over the internet, i just don't want to even have to bother with it. i don't like that someone was criticized as a person based on assumptions about who they are, rather having the work critiqued. i always take anything said on the internet with a grain of salt, but i also don't want to have to deal with it. i think it's a pretty natural reaction to want to defend yourself, but it's also something that i just don't have time or the energy to do these days, especially over name calling. i'd rather just keep drawing and getting critiques from friends i know in real life, and leave the internet drama behind.

and on that note, sorry too for all of the parenthesis. they're my best friend when it comes to writing.

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Not directed at you, Ms. Rad-more in regards to that guy from the initial post. But the advice could apply to anyone who's attempting that style. Basics are basics, whether it's art, baking cakes, motorcycle building, carpentry, whatever. Traditional tattoo imagery = strong basic lines, form, and shading. I can draw/paint super realistic images all day, but when I get away from the basics, the work suffers.

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Most of all, don't apologize for doing something you love; anyone who tries to make you feel bad for that should check themselves and figure out why they feel the need to worry about what someone on the internet is doing. My .02

After I wrote that, I realized that I'm guilty of worrying about what someone is doing on the internet and perhaps what they love doing is going around being negative toward people. Reflexive post is reflexive.

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you can draw or paint whatever you want. what offended me in the other post was that some non-tattooer recent college grad had painted a horrible flash style painting and wanted to SELL it to make some extra money. you went to college, get a fucking regular job and leave our thing alone. i'm sick of seeing this over and over. the worst is fucking mitch o'connel and his parasite flash sets and books of untattooable kitsch. that motherfucker isn't even tattooed. just fucking leave us alone!

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if you make money off the tattoo industry in any way you better damn well put some of that money back into it by getting tattoos, or buying other people's art.

Why?

On the whole, tattooists make their money from people who have no connection to the world of tattooing, except that they have tattoos.

Do they not put enough money into the industry?

I have been spending money on tattoos and tattoo related purchases for a while now, because I tend to spend my money on what I please.

I respectfully suggest that other people do the same...

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Why?

On the whole, tattooists make their money from people who have no connection to the world of tattooing, except that they have tattoos.

Do they not put enough money into the industry?

I have been spending money on tattoos and tattoo related purchases for a while now, because I tend to spend my money on what I please.

I respectfully suggest that other people do the same...

It all goes back to that 'tattooers with no tattoos' thread.... if you make a living off of tattoos you should give back to what has sustained you...

and it's less about putting the money back in as it is about putting yourself back into the thing that has given you your life.. supporting your peers who have supported you.. and if no one has ever helped you in your tattoo or art career you're probably either a fucking total asshole or you're really really bad at what you do.... this all goes back to the tattooers with no tattoos thread...

for example the mitch o'connel thing mario mentioned... why should he get to make money off an industry that he's contributed nothing to? i've met the guy and asked him, and no he doesn't even have one tattoo.. in fact he was more interested in getting in the pants of my friend and i then talking about art or tattoos.. he's made a ton of cash off the tattoo flash he put out and for the most part as mario said the designs aren't even tattooable..

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I can totally get on board with everything Ursula's saying, especially as someone who also makes their money from tattooing without being a tattooer myself. I think it's a respect thing, more than anything. I know a lot of tattoo artists who have helped me along the way, and I plan to get work from every one of them as soon as I either have money or decent transport. They've helped me put food in my mouth, why not help them in a small way, too? I'm not pretending it's selfless- I'm well aware I'll still be gaining great tattoos in the process, haha.

But, the point is, I don't understand why you wouldn't want to add to the industry that's given you so much. How much can you really care about it if you're not interested in getting tattooed, and buying paintings, books and even donating to the charity box at conventions (you're just a bell end if you don't do that last one!), among other things? I'll admit I go overboard at times (the room I'm in is full of prints and flash, it's kind of a joke, haha), but I can't really imagine doing what I do without having such a keen interest. Otherwise I'd just be some mug who writes words, the same way Mitch O'Connell is just some mug who draws lines (artist my bum hole).

I have a Mitch O'Connell book, by the way. It's fucking terrible!

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