Custom Work: Part III

Posted by Alex the Odd at 14:10

Sunday, 14 October 2007

Hey, guess what? It turns out that having a blog post to write is the perfect antidote to procrastination - I've got so much work that isn't writing my blog done today it's unreal!

Anyway, belated but nevertheless...

Chapter III - The First Session

I had my first three hour session four days ago and I've only just re-developed the ability to lean against things. Oh yes folks, it fucking hurt. I really should have figured that having my entire back stabbed with teeny tiny needles would be ever so slightly debilitating, oh well willfull ignorance I guess.

So I arrive at the studio just a little bit early and Kamil is messing around with six pointed geometric designs and a photocopier trying to figure out the background for the top half of my back, it's not going to get outlined today so it's more of a question of concept at this point. The first twenty minutes or so of my appointment is spent re-sizing his sketch so that we can make the stencil and discussing how the final design is going to work.

And yes, my already fairly large back piece just got a whole lot bigger.

It turns out that at twice the size it was originally going to be the shape of my body is such that it actually works with the design to give it a completely new dimension of perspective. It actually looks like it was drawn directly onto my skin it fits me so well. Anyway, I have about fifteen minutes so sit in the reception and contemplate the fact that I'm going to spend my afternoon essentially naked in a room full of heavily tattooed men before Kamil is back downstairs to tell me that the stencil is ready and we can get started.

It isn't just a case of applying the stencil and starting the ink work though, within half an hour I'm completely covered in marker pen, a walking, talking concept sketch. And yes, before you ask I have photos:


As I was standing with my back to the door for the duration of this exercise every person coming up to the studio had full view of what was going on with my back. Far from being embarrassing this was actually pretty cool as the other artists would give their input into the design, commenting on the placement of a certain element or adding another concept into the background - occasionally grabbing a marker pen to demonstrate what it was that they meant. It was really interesting to hear their comments, kind of like being a work of art receiving critiques. It was all positive though, lots of remarks regarding the composition and how phenomenal it's going to look when finished (those may be my words).

Then followed an hour of outlining followed by an hour of shading. Kamil doesn't really do that much line work so the parts that will be in sharp focus were outlined strongly with more guidelines added in. Although you can't see from the photos I also have some outlines in yellow and a very pale red that will act as guides for the negative shading that's to come. The shading was horrifyingly painful and I was already shaking from the outline, we stopped when I was pretty much on the verge of not being able to take any more.

Kamil was a really reassuring artist, he warned me beforehand that he's normally quiet while actually tattooing so he can seem quite cold at times but it's purely due to concentration. He did chat to me a bit though, saying how he appreciated people who wanted big pieces because it gave him a chance to be an actual artist rather than just "giving someone a tattoo". Every now and then he would comment on how well I was doing and offered to take breaks when I started to get twitchy.

Here's what we managed to get done (apologies in advance for the crappy quality):


It doesn't look like much but my inability to move my back this week begs to differ.

Eventually it will extend down onto the backs of my legs a little way, blending out into the skin.

At the end of the session Kamil thanked me saying again how excited he was to be working on the design for me and told me to book two appointments in December. He's going back and forth to New York at the moment as he's now working with Paul Booth over at Last Rites, and wanted to be sure that he could fit me in for as many sessions as possible.

As it turns out I'll actually be going back a little sooner as I got a phonecall yesterday asking me to come in again at the end of the month. So, October 29th is my next session. Of course I'm very, very excited.

So come on then, you pestered for the photos - tell me what you think!


Anonymous said...

Great day! Now I know why you became ill after this session. Trauma to your body indeed. So far so good, gal.

She reminds me a little of the White Queen (not of Alice but of X-Men fame). Purty, purty even in plain B&W and shading. And yes, shading is a bitch.

You are one brave toaster.

girl with curious hair said...

Seeing as I am completely oblivious of the tattoo culture, all the talk about your upcoming tattoo and it being a little larger than you had anticipated...I had no idea what to expect. WOW! I'm impressed by the art--and your tolerance for so much pain. You and Boo need to start a backless dress movement.

Anonymous said...

i just have to de-lurk to say -- that is the most awesome thing i have ever seen! congrats alex and good luck with the rest of it. SAS

Alex the Odd said...

Manda: I know! The comic book geek inside me is dancing. I made the same comment to Kamil, saying she also reminded me of the White Witch in Narnia and he said they were actually his inspirations. Hurrah, great minds eh?

GWCH: Thankies :) A backless dress movement seems like a fine idea to me, I only have one completely backless top and it's more than a little broken.

Sas I have lurkers?!? Aces! Thankyou so much!

TK said...

Ah, you lucky pale folk. I can't do color, it just doesn't show up.

Very impressive, Alex. And wow... much bigger than I expected. I admire your stamina.

Anonymous said...

Holy shitballs that is huge. And fucking AWESOME. I can imagine that if your artist is working with Paul Booth, then he knows his shit. And it is very obvious from the sketches and work you have now.

Amazing work, amazing.

And I am SO down with the backless movement. SO DOWN. Maybe I'll start designing some clothes just for us.


litelysalted said...

Between this and Winnie Cooper, I fear Vermillion may never leave his bunk again.

Fantastic work, Alex. I am so envious, that I lack both the income and the imagination to get something that ass kickingly awesome. Ku-freaking-dos.

Alex the Odd said...

TK: Well, I guess being "glow in the dark levels of pale" does have it's advantages sometimes ;)

Boo: I likes the sound of personalised clothing for us tattooed gals - get on it missy!

Litely: I worked out that unless I started right this minute then the next time I'd be financially able to pull off something like this I'd be in my 30s... of course that may just be justification on my part... who can say?

Thanks again for the responses kids. You've made me smile. Next session is on the 29th so expect more photos around then.

Anonymous said...

I cant wait to see this done...

I have smaller pieces..not really into a back piece for myself..but moderate sized tattoos that take anywhere from 3-4 hours or so at this leg will start this winter..then next year my sleeve...

you are taking on a huge thing here miss...your life will never be the prepared for strangers trying to take your clothes off..and men asking "why did you do that to yourself"

ah..ignorance is bliss..NOT


good luck next week!

me said...

okay - please don't do anything crazy :) Of course I'll meet you... I thought you detested me based on some of things you wrote... It pretty much tore me up.

Drea said...

WOw girl you are brave! :-) I found your blog because I was looking for snowflake tattoo ideas... and your blog popped up. Beautiful art.

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