Most artists work the entire careers, researching, sketching, developing, to develop one masterpiece.
I feel like I was blessed to have started my career with mine.

I have spent much of mine thus far trying to get back to this point.
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To explain: A tattoo is not a piece of “artist’s art,” where the artists gets to create at whim,  it is a piece of client-centered art. Like design or couture, it must be taylor-made, meeting the (often exacting) specifications of  the wearer, and executed with faithful precision.

A tattoo can never be done without the participation of a willing client; So a great tattoo, more so than with any other kind of art, symbolizes a fortuitous meeting between two minds, and requires synergy between the artist and the client, a synchronization of inspirations, influences, and techniques.

So while I have had the opportunity created many many many beautiful works of art… of which I am greatly proud (often overjoyed, much to people’s happy-dance amusement… lol)
Rarely have I gotten the opportunity  to achieve that perfect balance
of the right influences, the right amount of flexibility, but just enough firmness of constraints, and openness to develop such an amazing and expansive piece.

Miss Phoenix (who will remain here un-named) was interested in a simple coverup of three zodiac pieces, which can be seen in the original linework.

She wanted something that incorporate her Phillipina national heritage, in orignal way, and was elegant, powerful, and feminine at the same time.

If you saw our original sketches, you’d never believe we were going to head in the direction we wound up going. We struggled with a few different directions, challenged because of the symplicity and lightness of the inteded design, and the heaviness of the designs to cover up. and I almost lost the commission, until suddenly,
randomly, flipping through one of my reference books, out of the blue she said “maybe a phoenix!”

I took that opportunity and RAN with it.

Suddenly so many restraints were lifted… we were able to travel more with the design cover more area, I was able to do an awesome fitting, working amazingly with her figure, and covering up the existing tattoo. In the end were able to work in the rays of the phillipino sun, and the sampaguita, or indian jasmine, national flower of the phillipines.

We did some rough sketching, a fitting, and i went off and took a couple of days refining the design.
I will never, ever, ever ever forget the look on her face when she saw the final design.
To this day, one of my favorite tattoos ever.

The entire experience, from the meeting, to the consultation, to the near miss and success and reaction to the final design, all the way to the nurturing involved in bringing it to fruition: 9 long months of sessions ever 2-3 weeks to bring it to completion.

My life has been blessed with an odd streak of beginners luck…
(I think it is the universe recognizing my timidness to try new things and reassuring me by saying “i’ve given you talent. if you do it you’ll do okay! now JUST DO IT! lol”)

Though I wouldnt have called it beginners luck  at the time: it took all of the talent, concentration, study, and best barely-afforded reference books that i had at my disposal at that time to make that piece!
I have to extoll the amount of faith involved… at the time, my print portfolio probably had less than 3 dozen pictures in it. We started this project based on pure faith.

I tell Miss Phoenix, all the time, with no flattery or coercion intended: I owe you my career.

With out a doubt, this was the beginning of my life as we know it.

Mad love and eternal appreciation to the wearer 🙂